By and large, the White Sox made it through Cactus League play and their two exhibition games against the Arizona Diamondbacks in good health, so they can check off the first goal of the season.
The Sox unveiled their 2019 Opening Day roster this evening, and of the players who were likely to be listed at the start of spring training, Jon Jay is the only one who couldn’t make it to Opening Day. He’ll start the season on the injured list with what the White Sox are calling a right hip strain.
Even then, Jay’s injury is beneficial for the time being, as the Sox needed somebody to shelve in order to call up Eloy Jimenez before the otherwise-mandated post-option 10-day waiting period. We’ll only find out whether Jay and the Sox are truly set back a couple of weekends from now.
Dane Dunning’s Tommy John surgery aside — and that was more of a 2018 injury — the White Sox come out of the spring in much better shape than last year. If they needed any further reminder of their good fortune, the opposition offered it on Monday. Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza Jr. destroyed his knee in the first of the two exhibition games when he slipped on home plate scoring a run.
This video provides the slightest hint about how much pain Souza suffered:
So yeah, if Jay’s cranky hip is the biggest health issue the White Sox’ major-league club carries into the season, they can consider themselves quite fortunate.
The White Sox had unofficially announced their bullpen over the weekend, but now they’ve filled out the rest. The one surprise is Ryan Cordell, who made the cut by process of elimination. Nicky Delmonico was optioned and can’t be called up to the Sox for 10 days unless another injury arises, which leaves Cordell as the only other active position player on the 40-man roster.
Looking at the changes to the Opening Day squads year over year…
|Carlos Rodon||James Shields|
|Reynaldo Lopez||Reynaldo Lopez|
|Lucas Giolito||Lucas Giolito|
|Ivan Nova||Miguel Gonzalez|
|Manny Banuelos||Hector Santiago|
|Caleb Frare||Aaron Bummer|
|Jace Fry||Luis Avilan|
|Ryan Burr||Gregory Infante|
|Dylan Covey||Danny Farquhar|
|Nate Jones||Nate Jones|
|Kelvin Herrera||Juan Minaya|
|Alex Colome||Joakim Soria|
Only three pitchers from the last Opening Day made it to this one, and mostly for good reasons. A healthy Carlos Rodon makes a big difference on the complexion of the rotation, assuming he’s also the effective version of Rodon, and not the guy who got whaled on by lefties in September. Ervin Santana figures to fill in the blank spot next to Fulmer when the first fifth starter turn comes around on April 10.
The bullpen is also a lot deeper than it used to be. I’m not convinced this particular mix of relievers will last the month, but Ricks Hahn and Renteria should be able to find a working combination by mid-May.
|Welington Castillo||Welington Castillo|
|Jose Abreu||Jose Abreu|
|Yoan Moncada||Yoan Moncada|
|Yolmer Sanchez||Yolmer Sanchez|
|Tim Anderson||Tim Anderson|
|Eloy Jimenez||Nicky Delmonico|
|Adam Engel||Adam Engel|
|Daniel Palka||Avisail Garcia|
|Yonder Alonso||Matt Davidson|
|James McCann||Omar Narvaez|
|Leury Garcia||Leury Garcia|
|Jose Rondon||Tyler Saladino|
The presumptive White Sox starting nine looks awfully familiar, and we’ve seen plenty of McCann over the years. Only Jimenez and Alonso offer true year-over-year mysteries.
Cordell has about a fortnight to make me regret leaving him off my top 40 most essential White Sox list, because the Sox will likely cut the Cord when they need Santana to start.
As for Jay, I imagine he’ll need a rehab stint to make up for missing the last 11 days of spring training, giving the Sox a little more time to weigh cutting their bullpen down to seven, demoting Palka or attempting to outright Rondon later in April. Unless all relievers are running on fumes at that point, I’d start there.
Side by side it looks like a marginally better roster this season. CLEARLY WE WON THE WINTER!
Welcome Back Guyer
Good lord, it’s year three of a rebuild and the Opening Day Roster in Year 3 is about 2 wins better than the Opening Day Roster in Year 2. You know what…
And the pitching staff being worse really might be the most impressive part.
It is almost a wash, but I count on a breakout year for Moncada and Eloy being quite good. That’ll give us 5 more wins than last year.
67 – 95 record sounds about right.
pitching staff is worse? I’d certainly take nobody over Carson Fulmer at this point. And a healthy Rodon is a big difference.
Have we reached peak dour yet?
Last year at this point we thought Giolito could be good and have a break out year. There was some hope with Fulmer, albeit, not a ton. This year there is no hope other than Lopez, and we have to be prepared that Rodon is not the same post shoulder-injury, and thus, won’t reach the levels we all hoped (and saw) a few years ago. IMO, the pitching staff has pretty clearly taken a step back if we’re comparing what we were thinking/hoping on Opening Day of 2018 compared to 2019.
could be worse . . . check out the roster of this team in their FOURTH year of rebuild
This was year three of their rebuild; they started trading players (finally) during the 2011 season. Let’s hope that Lopez makes a Keuchel like jump, and Moncada or Anderson does like 75% of what Altuve did in year three of the Astros rebuild.
Note to self: do not destroy knee.
Delighted that the Opening Day roster includes Tatis and Machado.
I legitimately wonder if the left side of San Diego’s infield will put up more WAR than Chicago’s entire opening day lineup this season.
San Diego continues to make the White Sox front office look like the most money-hungry group of people in baseball.
Where’s Luis Robert, someone who has performed at every level under age. Where as if you combine Engel and Palka stats, you would have one bad player in two bodies.
Cordell won the fifth starter job. Who’da thunk it.
He has the workhorse prototypical size.
No team worked harder to uselessly spend 40 mil on guys who dont matter moving forward in an effort to ramp up that win total to 70 games, what an off season!
Hope springs eternal and every Opening Day, my hopes are that as many players as possible will perform at or even above the back of their baseball card numbers and the W Sox will be relevant late into the season. Long-shot chance of that and I suppose a successful season would be if they could get near 80 win plateau. I hate rebuilds, but W Sox are in one and I’m not impressed with how it’s gone so far, but here we are.
I’m ready for some of these prospects to overwhelm me. I’m tired of having a roster made up of too many AAAA players and too many veteran castoffs.
Hope springs eternal and I will root for this team and each player as I do every year. But if they’re floundering around June, I want to see the truck back up and bring up more of the next wave (Cease, Robert, Collins, et al), flip the vets (Santana, Castillo, Jay, N Jones, et al), replace Ricky R with O. Vizquel, and possibly shake up the front office.
Hope springs eternal and I’m excited to see how this goes, but…
Agree with everything you said, denbum. With the addition of Eloy, a full year (hopefully) of Rodon, and improvement from Lopez, Giolito, Timmy and Moncada, along with good health for Abreu, I see a 12-win improvement. It’s just a shame that the front office had an F- offseason, because this division is there for the taking.
Rodon instead of Shields
Santana instead of Fulmer
Nova instead of Miggy.
Eloy instead of Nicky.
These are better things.
I agree. This OD roster looks improved except for McCann over Narvaez. Some are probably pushes.
You’re comparing the budget to the actual. Compare budget to budget… other than Eloy instead of Nicky (who people were pretty optimistic about on Opening Day 2018!), there isn’t a major upgrade anywhere here. Sure Rodon is slightly better than Shields (though Rodon was worse last year) and Santana is slightly better than Fulmer… but Fulmer failing is bad for the rebuild. Having to bring in two journeymen at the end of the line in year three of the rebuild is less than ideal.
When was the last time there was a roster turnover of 15/25 guys year-to-year?
I couldn’t find complete 25 man data but a cursory glance at 2017’s OD roster shows a turnover of 13/25 guys from 17-18. Hopefully some more guys stick this year into next and this is the last time for a while that more than half the roster is not with the team the following year.
Also fun fact, the White Sox have only started the same 8 position players in the opening day lineup for consecutive years once in their history. Those years? 1918-1919.
The weather is not looking friendly in KC. Not only is it going to be tough to get the game in tomorrow, Friday looks worse. They may be able to get it in later in the day on Thursday. Fingers crossed
I understand that the 8-man bullpen is pretty common, and there’s probably lots of data to support it–advantage of having lefties facing lefties, etc.
But I wonder if those advantages truly balance with the 3-man bench? Is that number 8 guy really more important than the ability to pinch hit in certain situations or bring in a defensive specialist?
I don’t love the 8-man bullpen myself but they need to find 3 relievers that keep the walk rate down before they can settle on 7. Otherwise the manager is sorta stuck playing “which reliever isn’t going to walk guys today” roulette. The Sox aren’t the only team with that problem.
I would think a re-building team is in great position to give a bunch of relief pitching prospects a good long run of 1-inning appearances to see if they can get to that point. I doubt that Herrera, Colome, or Jones is still here when the team is relevant again.
Oh how I miss the Opening Day optimism of GrinnelSteve
The last couple of days I’ve started fantasizing again. 2018 and the winter that followed very nearly broke me.
I have been too. I was thinking man if we got Gerrit Cole, Marcel Ozuna, and Corey Dickerson that seems reasonable and like we could possibly compete….ah who am I kidding