Podcast: 2022 First Half Grades

Record date: 7/6/2022

Josh and Jim recap the Chicago White Sox series loss to the Minnesota Twins. Why their postseason hopes are still flickering and how morale would improve if the team could sweep Detroit this weekend.

They also hand our their first-half grades for 2022. As expected, they are not great, but there are areas where they see hope for improvement. While there are parts of this franchise that desperately needs a refresh.

Josh’s GradesJim’s Grades
White Sox
Offense
DD
White Sox
Defense
FD-
White Sox
Starting Pitching
CB-
White Sox
Relief Pitching
DD+
CoachingFFail
Front OfficeFFail
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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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HallofFrank

I didn’t vote in the poll, but I will defend the “stay put” crowd. It’s too early to decide definitively, of course. But “staying put” (defined as no trades) seems reasonable to me under certain conditions. If they haven’t made up or lost substantial ground in the playoff picture, they decide selling isn’t worth it, but the team is generally healthy and in working order—including Kelly and Bummer.

A substantial buy seems ill-advised. But even a light or soft buy: what are you buying? Another bullpen arm was mentioned on the podcast. But if Kelly has straightened out and Bummer is back, I don’t really see the point in giving up anything of value for another reliever. It just seems like buying just to say you did something, at that point.

knoxfire30

They are staying put no matter what, look no further then to the twins from 2021 to 2022. It wouldnt shock anyone if some of these guys bounce back next year and the sox contend the division isnt running away from them. They still have a decent enough shot to make post season this year and next. Its a lot easier to sell in 2023 at the deadline then in 2022… who would they really have to offer up right now that has value, cueto, maybe pollack, they arent going to ship abreu so its moot… but in 2023 at the deadline if they are otu of it you can justify moving hendricks, gravemen, kelly, abreu (if he is signed back), grandal (if he rebounds), gioltio, lynn…. that would immediately revamp the farm a bit and you could make moves that off season to add to a decent core of TA7, Eloy, Moncada, Vaughn, Cease, Kopech.

upnorthsox

Also JA Happ and Hansel Robles.

Right now it doesn’t look like they got a lot back beyond Joe Ryan and that ain’t saying a lot. Still possible for Austin Martin, we’ll see.

HallofFrank

I agree that staying put is most likely, but I wouldn’t say “no matter what.”

If they totally collapse and were, say, more than 10 games out at the deadline, I’d be up for an aggressive sell that included Hendriks, Grandal, Abreu, etc. I’d even consider moving Giolito.

Likewise, if they get hot and catch the Twins by the deadline, then I’d be up for an aggressive buy that included trading away several notable prospects—if the right player was available, that is.

MrStealYoBase

I’m glad Jim mentioned the Eloy, Luis, Yoan contracts. I’ve been thinking about those too recently.

The reason why you don’t see anyone else following the White Sox lead is that you only hand out that kind of contract if two things are true: 1. You know you can’t pay a star what they’re worth on the open market so you need to lock down as many years as possible & 2. You know that in the 6 years before they hit free agency you cant be expected to develop or sign a suitable replacement.

Plenty of teams will admit to #1, nobody else is admitting to #2. It’s a sign of complete organizational failure at all levels.

If you told me that the payroll would be at $180M+ three years ago, I would have called it a pipe dream. In some ways it still is because the roster feels like a $110M roster with the amount of detritus that’s been accumulated. The payroll allocation only makes sense if Eloy, Luis, Yoan play like stars. Otherwise, the whole point of a rebuild is to take advantage of the payroll space the cheap core provides by adding proven talent. Instead they willingly made their cheap core expensive, so when they underperform there’s no way to hide it.

soxygen

Just as a quick analytical exercise, if the Twins performance against non-Sox teams going forward is the same as it has been, that would get the Twins to 80-68 with 14 games versus the Sox. Doing the same for the Sox gets you to 74-74 with 14 games versus the Twins. In this analytical scenario, the Sox would need to go 10-4 versus the Twins from here.

Looking at it from the other direction, if the Twins perform as they have in non-Sox games and win 11 of 14 against the Sox (rounding down), the Sox would need to go 49-19 in games against other teams.

I agree with you guys that IF the Sox catch the Twins it is going to be late in the season. And if we keep wetting the bed in head to head games, we should expect to need to win roughly 70% of our other games to pull even.

Obviously, there are a million ways that it could all play out, but it is going to be tough to catch up to a team that isn’t worse than we are and seems to be built to beat us.

Last edited 4 months ago by soxygen
ActiveAndUnavailable

Long time lurker/reader… I’m apart of the “Stay Put’ crowd for 2 major reasons.

1. I view buying as an impact acquisition (see: ’21 Braves rebuilding outfield), not a single middle reliever added
2. We’ve seen them use the “[so-and-so] is coming off the IL, and they are our Trade Deadline acquisition” before. With Eloy back now, Grandal coming back after ASB, potentially Bummer (if he’s not dead…), I could see them saying that they don’t need to go and make a major addition because they’re “finally going to be completely healthy.”

I think they decide to Stay Put, but I think they need to sell. There are some major flaws with the team (not limited to multiple 1B playing OF positions in impactful games), and the 2021 Braves analogy falls apart when you start looking at the run differential.

We’ve said it for the past couple weeks, this AL Central run before the ASB decides it.

Last edited 4 months ago by ActiveAndUnavailable
upnorthsox

Lots to unpack in this one boys, last one first. Minor buyers. Unless Hahn is gone I see zero chance of him selling and I see less than zero chance of JR signing off on any large trades (Hahn wasted that bullet on Kimbrel). He has to trade Zavala or risk losing him to waivers or carry 3 catchers the 2nd half. I see them looking for some kind of reliever in return, probably lefty, maybe with something else added going out.
Say Hahn is gone or is told to dump the excess, Cueto, Graveman, Bummer from the pitchers and Pollock, Harrison(if he continues to stay hot), Zavala, and maybe Sheets. I don’t see much coming back from that though. As Hahn comp returns from recent similar trades, Charlie Tilson, Colton Turner, Ian Clark, Blake Rutherford, Casey Gillaspie, Andre Davis, Ti’Quan Forbes, and Kodi Medeiros…….Yeah…I mean is it even worth it?

upnorthsox

I think Colson’s on base streak has put a damper on any trades there…and thank goodness.

Lack of trust is a great way to put it, in the players, the staff, and the FO. The only thing I have faith in is that Jose will do his best to not disappoint in his possible farewell tour.

metasox

Interesting, to me at least, is that last season’s moves were to position the team for the post-season. Looks like this season would be first and foremost moves just to get that far. Not sure where to look in Hahn’s history for that kind of situation (I think of the weird ’16 season with Shields and Morneau).

But I look at how quick La Russa is to pull Sheets for defense an an indication that they would at least be considering an alternative fielder in the small move category. And Hahn’s constant attention to the bullpen makes it easy for me to see at least trying to add a lefty reliever, maybe with control beyond this season, if the team is w/in reach at the deadline.

upnorthsox

Front Office, Fail. The best way to illustrate the Hahn era is MLB HR ranking during his reign:
20th, 7th, 26th, 23rd, 26th, 16th, 25th, 3rd, 20th, and 26th
this coming from one of the most homer friendly parks in the majors, the worse division in baseball, and during an era when it’s become essential to hit HR’s to win. And before you point out the 3rd in 2020, that may be his biggest indictment of all as it was both a wrong read of an outlier of the short pandemic season but also a misread of the team talent assembled.
Yes he technically didn’t hire Ventura(though he was already anointed as the GM to be) but 63-99 is big F’n red flashing light that hey maybe this guy can’t manage. We went 3 years after until…
Now here’s a clue for next time, if you want to hire a burner manager to take the flames of your tanking it better be a good one because you might not get the chance to hire the next one….
And if that happens and your boss decides make his own pick……well see above.

As to this year, well Hahns boy Hinch wouldn’t have been managing the 2017 Astros now would he or even the 2021 Astros (and frankly he isn’t doing very well with the 2022 Tigers he is managing) and that’s the point. Hahn needed to make this team better than the 2021 Astros and he didn’t, that’s on him and that’s why its a Fail.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

The Sox are lazy in terms of roster building and the laziest move is not making one, therefore ‘stay put’.

They’ll articulate this by saying “We finally have the team we want” once (if) the injuries clear up.