Podcast: Rock Bottom

Guest: Dan Szymborski, ESPN

The Rundown:

  • Josh shares his thoughts about the frustration surrounding the worst start ever.
  • Guest Dan Szymborski shares the latest ZiPS projections which include odds of the White Sox having the first pick of the 2019 MLB Draft. Also, why Lucas Giolito should be sent to AAA, no need to worry about Yoan Moncada, and which teams does ZiPS like the most.
  • Plus this week’s #POSox questions:

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RXBar has three new flavors: Mango Pineapple, Peanut Butter and Berries, and Chocolate Hazelnut. Get 25% off your order by visiting rxbar.com/sox and use promo code SOX at checkout.

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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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As Cirensica

Josh – One of your finest podcast…ever. I thank you greatly.

Patrick Nolan

Good stuff Josh — was nice to get a non-Sox fan perspective on Giolito from Dan.


Thank you for putting to words my rant about the current White Sox season.

I haven’t been too down about the way things have gone thus far, but I’m getting quite tired of sanctimonious fans telling people who haven’t seen a winning season in six years to “be patient”.


Just to add to this – even the winning season 6 years ago didn’t exactly get fans terribly excited, as it featured a) a significant September collapse, and b) some fluky seasons from aging veterans (Konerko, A.J., Rios, even Youkilis to an extent) that were unlikely to recur.


I’m going to have to disagree. The 2012 season is what got me back into the Sox after a few years of burnout from playing High School ball and poor Sox teams.

It was the last hurrah for AJ and Paulee combined with the breakouts of some exciting young starters named Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.

That September collapse was especially brutal having just moved to Tiger territory for school, but it got me watching games again and reading a blog written by some dude named Jim.


Fair enough. I may be looking at it with the hindsight of the kick in the balls that was the 2013 season.

Greg Nix

I generally am a “be patient” kind of person, but the last couple weeks have pushed me over the edge. This is the worst baseball team I’ve ever consistently watched, and no amount of patience can make it even a little bit enjoyable.

lil jimmy

There will be no better time than this upcoming off season to add talent and put a real team on the field next year. A Quality starter, two solid bullpen arms. One of those very good third basemen. Either by trades or signings, this rolling over and playing dead has to stop.


I hope they wait until 2020.

Patrick Nolan

The question is — how will we lure people to play here when it stinks of catastrophically bad baseball?

lil jimmy

same as usual, money.


Ah yes, that thing that the White Sox are so keen on spending.

lil jimmy

Next years payroll stands more than 100 million below previous payrolls. So they have spent it and have the ability to spend it.


Benny the Bull

Patrick Nolan

This is an extremely underrated comment.


If it’s unenjoyable to watch the games, how happy does it make you to think about Rick Hahn still getting a paycheck?

Greg Nix

I don’t think it’s Hahn’s fault they’ve been unwatchable. I generally agreed with his offseason moves. Injuries have been the biggest factor, steps back from Giolito and Fulmer second, bad luck third.

BP has them underperforming their third-order record by three games, which feels about right when you think of the games Soria and Jones have blown. Combined with Moncada missing a couple weeks, plus Avi and MiGo missing the better part of a month (and underperforming before that), and it’s easy to see how this could be a run-of-the-mill bad team instead of historically awful.

All that said, they’ve still been historically awful. The blame Hahn gets from me is not calling up Kopech/Jimenez and demoting Giolito/Fulmer/Engel yet.

Trooper Galactus

I’ve defended Hahn quite a bit the last year or two, but he is absolutely responsible for the team being unwatchable. He signed the likes of Laroche and Keppinger, traded for the likes of Shields, made unnecessary moves like letting Flowers walk and replacing him with Dioner, and gutted what little depth existed until we were left with J.B. Shuck as our primary centerfielder. The guy has consistently managed to field enough negative WAR players to negate his top players completely, and that’s been a big part of the complete lack of fan enjoyment.


I’m not going to write “be patient” since that seems to be a trigger for a lot of people, but I gotta say this is exactly what I expected to sit through this year, and my frustration would have risen if Rick Hahn went and signed a bunch of middling free agents to bring this up to a 75-win team.

I will be annoyed, though, if Kopech and Jimenez are left in the minors too long after Super-2 status is averted.

Right Size Wrong Shape

That’s what I was trying to say the other day, (but I just came across as “Be Patient” guy). I had resigned myself before the season to the fact that they were going to be horrible considering they would be trotting out a team that was bad last year, without the benefit of just about every decent player that spent time on the team last year to prop up the win total.


I’ve always thought rebuilding teams should offer a war-bond season ticket package. 5+ year commitment, locked in at a lowish price. They can still make money off you while they suck, but in exchange you get a dope deal on tix for a couple of years when the team starts the upswing.

Trooper Galactus

I’ve never understood why the White Sox haven’t done more to push season tickets with aggressive pricing on non-premium seating. They aren’t drawing jack squat anyhow, so cheaply sold season tix might at least put a few more butts in the seats on a regular basis. Heck, if they were selling season passes for a nosebleed seat at $5 a game, I’d shell out the $405 plus tax for that and hope they might let me into the lower bowl for low attendance days. Tack on parking and concessions, and they’d still be raking in plenty of dough from my wallet.


They sold a pass to all the April and May games for like $2.75 per ticket. I didn’t buy it because of all of the day games, but it was an option that was available right out of the gate this year. They did something similar for August/September last year, so maybe they’ll do it again this year.


So, what would happen if a restaurant owner let go half his staff and his two best chefs? And he cut wages for those left in an effort to save up for a new grand opening in 2022.

Now his commercial on TV is, “Our food is REALLY bad, the lines are long but don’t give up on us because it’s eventually gonna get better. It’s going to take a few years, not sure how long but keep coming so we save enough money to re-hire when the time is right. And thanks all for hanging in there with us”. ‘AND YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THE GRAND OPENING!

I cannot envision anyone defending that situation regardless of the business so I believe that this owner and management team are truly blessed to have anyone left that cares enough to be angry.


Comparing sports to the real-world is tough, sports leagues have a monopoly, and significant non-monetary factors come into play. A closer analogy might be if your local power company had really unreliable service/lots of black outs etc. They launch a huge plan to rebuild the infrastructure, but to pay for it they cut tons of staff and service is worse for a few years. Yeah, you might bitch about it for a couple years, but once you have the new service it will feel great. And in the mean time, what are you going to do, stop using power?

Trooper Galactus

That sounds like a good time to move to Amish territory.

lil jimmy

I have an image of you in your fast cars, stuck behind a horse and buggy.


I guess it is perspective. I have to have electricity. I don’t have to watch a game. It looks to me like a local has 2 choices if they love baseball. I have 30 as I live in the middle of nowhere. As said earlier, they should be grateful to have the faithful. If you relate baseball viewing to having electricity, you are a true fan for sure.


“I don’t have to watch a game.”

Does not compute.

Patrick Nolan

The analogy never works because sports are zero-sum, and by default, some organizations will be bad. There’s also considerably more luck involved.


yes — that’s why none of these analogies work for me. But even though I am all in on the rebuild and don’t care if they lose a year, I think it’s fair to ask why rebuilding is necessary. That some organizations are bad doesn’t mean that it’s inevitable. Rebuilding is a strategic move (and often a very good one) but becoming bad is not strategic. What went wrong?