Photo credentials to The Associated Press
The White Sox are stuffed in the middle of a very competitive AL Central division, but they are normally left out of the conversation when baseball analysts argue over which team is the best team in the AL Central. With the efforts of White Sox GM Rick Hahn this winter, the team’s manager Robin Ventura is confident that the 2015 Chicago White Sox are not a team to take a lightly. He even goes on to say in
that he “expects [the White Sox] to make the playoffs.”
November 25: Signed 1B Adam LaRoche to a two year contract
In 2014 Adam LaRoche batted .259 with 26 HR’s and 92 RBI’s. (Photo credentials to DC Pro Sports Report)
On November 25, 2014
reported that Adam LaRoches signed a two year $25M deal with the Chicago White Sox.
At the age of 35, it’s impressive to see the amount of power LaRoche still has. Coming over from a National League team in the Washington Nationals where he patrolled first base and hit 26 homeruns, it can be expected that LaRoche and teammate Jose Abreu will split time at first base this season and alternate at designated hitter.
LaRoche, a 2012 Golden Glove winner, Silver Slugger and MVP candidate (finished 6th in 2012) according to
, gives the White Sox some power to the lineup led by Jose Abreu and his powerful swing that belted out 36 homeruns last year.
Overall, I think this was an excellent move on paper. The White Sox needed some protection for Jose Abreu in the lineup, and the team needed insurance in case Abreu catastrophically went down in his sophomore year in MLB. It’s also always great to add a golden glove first baseman to your roster.
Adam LaRoche should be a great fit in Chicago. In fact, he’s off to a great start as the team already regards him as a “new team leader” according to the
December 9: White Sox acquire starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija from the Oakland Athletics
Jeff Samardzija will be the number two starter for the 2015 Chicago White Sox. (Photo credentials to USA Today)
On December 9, 2015
reported the Chicago White Sox acquired 2014 NL All-Star Jeff Samardzija along with pitching prospect Michael Ynoa from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for shortstop Marcus Semien, catcher Josh Phegley, and prospects first baseman Rangel Ravelo and pitcher Chris Bassitt.
This move gave the White Sox a solid number two man in their starting rotation as without question Chris Sale is the White Sox ace. However, Samardzija had some great numbers in 2014 with the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics. In 2014, Samardzija posted a 2.99 ERA, and 202 K’s in 219.2 IP. He’s a strikeout pitcher and workhorse to say the least.
The White Sox should enjoy this addition to their pitching staff as this acquisition may have been their single most important move of the offseason. With the Royals losing James Shields to the San Diego Padres, and the Tigers losing Max Scherzer to the Washinton Nationals, the White Sox improved their staff while two of the top contending teams in the AL Central lost some big arms.
December 10: Signed closer David Robertson to a 4 year deal
David Robertson will no longer be closing the game for the Yankees, but instead for the White Sox in 2015. (Photo credentials to NY Post)
On December 9, the
reported that Mariano Rivera’s successor David Robertson signed with the Chicago White Sox for a 4 year $46M contract.
Robertson was third in the AL in saves last year with 39 and posted a 3.08 ERA and 96 K’s in 64.1 IP according to
Robertson will give the White Sox an excellent closer, something every contending team needs. However, the trend over the past four years that the Yankees may have noticed was his numbers were starting to fall off slightly more and more each year. His FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching, explained by
) has slightly increased since his super 2011 season where he posted a FIP of 1.84. Over the past three seasons, Robertson posted a FIP of 2.49 in 2012, 2.61 in 2013 and then 2.69 in 2014. This simply shows that Robertson’s “nastyness” is slowly fading. That could be why the Yankees let him walk this winter.
Nonetheless, Robertson is still one of the best closers in the game and should be regarded as nothing, but an improvement to the pitching staff for the White Sox.
December 14: Sign OF Melky Cabrera to a 3 year deal
OF Melky Cabrera will be expected to be a table setter for his new team in 2015. (Photo credentials go to the Toronto Sun)
On December 14, 2015
reported that OF Melky Cabrera signed with the Chicago White Sox to a 3 year $42M contract.
Overall, Melky Cabrera is a very good ballplayer. In 2014 he batted .301 with a .351 OBP, 16 HR’s and 73 RBI’s with the Toronto Blue Jays according to
Cabrera should be batting second behind OF Adam Eaton giving the White Sox a legitimate top of the order with Eaton, Cabrera, Abreu and LaRoche each following each other in sequence. This looks good on paper according to their stats, but again, is this enough? The top of the lineup is gonna be important for the White Sox, and as a table setter, Cabrera needs to get on base and score if the White Sox are going to have any chance of making the playoffs in 2015.
Other transactions from the offseason can be found on
While it can be argued the White Sox improved their roster, making the playoffs is a lot easier said than done, especially when you’re in the AL Central. The White Sox will have to get past the contending Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals along with the re-building Minnesota Twins in the AL Central.
Besides the fact that the Royals are the defending AL Champions and the AL Central Division winning Detroit Tigers won 90 games last year, the Indians, Royals and Tigers each had over 85 wins last year, while the White Sox had only 73 wins. This means that not only do the White Sox need to improve tremendously in 2015, but they need at least two of the other three contending teams to tank in 2015 if they want a chance to make it to the playoffs. Is this unlikely to happen? Yes of course, but this is baseball and we’ve seen some wild things happen before, like 2005 White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik hitting a walk-off homerun in Game 2 of the World Series after hitting 0 homeruns in 568 plate appearances during the regular season.
Relive the magic below.
The Windy City had a busy winter in the baseball world as the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox both improved their rosters to dare I say, make a playoff push in 2015. But the question to ask heading into 2015 for the White Sox is: was GM Rich Hahn’s efforts enough this winter? Will the White Sox be a contender in 2015?
The White Sox organization has the confidence that they can win 2015, but what will the Baseball Gods have to say?