|2008 Chicago White Sox||| Print ||
Written by Adam Adkins (Contact & Archive) on February 16, 2008
2008 Chicago White Sox Preview
Getting Their First Pair of Pale Hose:
Out From The South Side:
The 2007 Chicago White Sox had problems, serious, serious problems. First off, the offense that carried the 2005 World Champion squad and the 2006 90 win team fell apart. In '06, the Pale Hose knocked in 868 runs and had a Team OPS+ of 103. In 2007...well...try 693 crossing the dish and a OPS+ score that's more than 15 points lower. It's obvious they declined; but why?
My first exhibit is Jermaine Dye. In '06, Dye had easily the best year of his career, amassing a .312 EqA and a nice 7.7 WARP1. In 2007, Dye fell to .262 (50 points!) and 4.2. Big, big drops.
How about Paul Konerko? He too had a good year in 2006 (.299 and 6.7), and (you guessed it!) he regressed in 2007 (.275 and 3.8).
I could dig further, but you get the jist of it. The heavy hitters of the 2006 team simply didn't produce for the Sox in 2007. Frankly, it's as simple as that.
The hitting is one part of the problem; run prevention can't be forgotten. The 2006 South Siders allowed a respectable (yet not great) 794 runs. In 2007 (is this a pattern?) they allowed over 100 runs more.
That kind of decline is really, really hard to overcome.
Strengths & Weaknesses
There's a lot more weak than strength, folks. The White Sox have a rather porous lineup to go with a rotation (aside from Mark Buerhle and Javier Vazquez) that is better suited to be a rovolving door than a run stopping unit. I guess the bullpen is a strength, but other than Bobby Jenks, would you bet on any of them?
It's entirely possible that Konerko doesn't decline any more and goes back to 2005-era levels. It's entirely possible that Jermaine Dye has a 2006 type year. Who says Jose Contreras can't be great again?
Well, natural decline phases, career history and basic intelligence, if you want to get technical, but let's just assume those things happen. Could the Sox then be an 85 win team? Possibly. However, do you think Boston, New York, Cleveland, Anaheim or Detroit will win anything less than 90? I don't. 85 wins could happen, and it probably would be no better than 3 or 4 games back. So what's it worth? Not a whole lot.
Quite frankly, I've got no clue. Thome, Dye, Konerko, Pierzynski, Josh Fields and Swisher are all in there in some fashion, but the order is probably random. I'd go Thome-Swisher-Konerko-Fields-Pierzynski-Dye as my 3-4-5-6-7-8, but the other slots are big fat question marks.
That's not so pretty. In fact, after Buehrle and Vazquez, it's as delightful as a cow slaughter.
And a bunch of no-names that probably will be as effective as any of Ozzie Guillen's "pep talks".
Seriously, which is safer: the Sox win 80 games, or Guillen gets canned by mid-season? I'm not at all sure...