Regular Season Record: 90-72
Third in the AL Central: 6.0 games back
Home Park: U.S. Cellular Field
David Aardsma (RHP) - Trade with Cubs
Carlos Vasquez (LHP) - Trade with Cubs
Luis Terrero (OF) - Free Agency
Gavin Floyd (RHP) - Trade with Phillies
Gio Gonzalez (LHP) - Trade with Phillies
Andrew Sisco (LHP) - Trade with Royals
Toby Hall (C) - Free Agency
John Danks (LHP) - Trade with Rangers
Nick Masset (RHP) - Trade with Rangers
Jacob Rasner (RHP) - Trade with Rangers
John Lujan (RHP) - Trade with Rangers
Looking for Greener Pastures Elsewhere:
Dustin Hermanson (RHP) - Free Agency
Neal Cotts (LHP) - Traded to Cubs
Freddy Garcia (RHP) - Traded to Phillies
Eduardo Sierra (RHP) - Free Agent
Ross Gload (1B) - Traded to Royals
Brandon McCarthy (RHP) - Traded to Rangers
David Paisano (OF) - Traded to Rangers
Chris Stewart (C) - Traded to Rangers
The Skinny: From the front office to the fan base, the Chicago White Sox organization was not happy with last year's performance by a long shot. Now think about that statement for a minute but take into consideration that they won 90 games. They know they should have done better; a lot better. Some of the problems can be attributed to just bad luck or periodic bad play or a combination of the two. For the most part though, the team just failed to perform to their potential and that must change. This team is loaded with talent and should have gone deep into the playoffs last season as opposed to their third place finish. Indeed, they should and are expected to do just that this season. All the cards are in order for a successful season; the chemistry, coaching staff, and talent are all as good as you can get. There is depth at every position as well as talented prospects on the minor league teams. And most importantly, the front office will spend the money that is needed to sign a free agent if needed down the strectch.
Strengths: As with last year, the same can be said about the 2007 edition of the Chicago White Sox in that their primary strength looks to be pitching. Evidence to how strong this staff is was displayed when the team traded starter Freddy Garcia and potential starter Brandon McCarthy during the off-season. It has to be noted though, that in trading those two hurlers, the Sox received five pitchers in return. Of the 11 total players the team signed or traded for during the off season, nine were pitchers; of those nine, four would be considered top level prospects. It isn't that GM Kenny Williams is obsessed with pitching, but he isn't going to be caught with his pants down and not have enough of it, that's for sure.
Aside from the pitching, the Sox will again score a heck of a lot of runs. Their batting order will pretty much be the same as last year's team that led the majors in HRs and slugging with 236 and .464 respectively, was tied for second in RBI, and tied for third in BA with .280. The power supply of Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, Jim Thome, and Joe Crede all hit over 30 HR. Additionally, A.J. Pierzynski, Juan Uribe, and Tadahito Iguchi also bring in above average power. The bottom line is that seven of the nine hitters in the batting order can go yard against any team. That is a tremendous comfort zone for a pitching staff that needs to rebound from last year's disappointing performance.
Weaknesses: There is nothing on this team that is a glaring weakness. Sure they have the little holes that a lot of teams have, but for the most part, the White Sox are set to go for a playoff run. Last season the pitching staff did not perform as well as they can or should have, but that was just a bad season in my opinion. The only thing that may become a serious hole for the Sox is that they are a fairly older team. Injuries are more likely for players like Contreras, Thome, Dye, Pierzynski and a few other key players.
Also, the Sox did not replace Scott Podsednik in Left Field as just about everyone expected them to so he will have to have a much better season at the top of the order. Likewise, if CF Brady Anderson doesn't pick up his game, he could be replaced as early as Spring Training. Ozzie Guillen may be considered one of the more popular coaches when it comes to a player's point of view, but he will have a very short leash this season when it comes to patience.
LF Scott Podsednik
CF Brady Anderson
2B Tadahito Iguchi
1B Paul Konerko
DH Jim Thome
RF Jermaine Dye
3B Joe Crede
C A.J. Pierzynski
SS Juan Uribe/Alex Cintron
Keys to Success: Imagine if your team's pitching rotation, the starting five, averaged 14 Wins, over 200 Innings Pitched, and 130 Strikeouts last season; good stuff right? For the 2006 White Sox, it was a lot worse than expected. As with any other team, you can score all the runs you want, but if you give up more than you plate, you lose. Now, not only does the pitching staff have to overcome last year's disappointment, they can add to that the additional pressure they now have one their respective backs.
Prediction: The American League Central is probably the toughest division in the majors these days and the White Sox found that out the hard way over the course of last season. It's easy to say but if their starting rotation pitches the way they did in 2005, the Sox will win a lot more than 90 games and most likely take the AL Central. I see them winning their division and at least making it to the ALCS; beyond that though, well check back at the All Star break and I might go further out on that limb!