What a waste the 2022 White Sox were

Back on Sept. 5, Lance Lynn struck out 11 Seattle Mariners over seven innings in a 3-2 White Sox winner, and his reconfigured curveball helped him run up that particular tally. The Mariners whiffed on six of nine swings, the second consecutive start in which anybody trying to connect with Lynn’s now-sweeping breaker failed, and failed hard.

I wrote about that curveball, showing the shifts in the data and compiling video reels showing the difference, and it was one of the few times during the 2022 that I felt edification sifting through that stuff. Just about every other investigation this season sought to understand why a player was struggling, or how an injury manifested itself in performance, so it was refreshing to see a player improve and evolve.

Still, it didn’t matter.

After throwing a season-high 20 curveballs against the Mariners, Lynn threw 5, 9, 11, 7, and 7 in his five starts the rest of the way. It got 0, 0, 2, 0 and 0 whiffs each time out. It made a difference for a couple evenings, but then it stopped being a significant factor.

That more or less summed up the experience of writing and talking about the 2022 White Sox as a whole. Any genuine enjoyment evaporated in short order, replaced by an endless discussion over how much of the roster is physically compromised.

Another example: The AJ Pollock trade, which appeared to salvage the White Sox’s questionable decision to exerciser Craig Kimbrel’s option. His Opening Day ended with him with him botching a difficult-but-catchable fly in right to lose the game. The next day, he pulled a hamstring. The White Sox placed him on the injured list, but they opted against a rehab stint because they wanted his bat in the lineup as quickly as possible, and he ended up posting a .413 OPS over the next three weeks while being a member of the Gang That Can’t Run Hard.

When the Sox landed Pollock, I accounted for the possibility of disappointment, or else he wouldn’t have been available for Kimbrel. I just figured that any shortage of production would stem from being out of the lineup, as he was good for missing a month or two in each season. After the early-April hamstring issue, Pollock stayed playable the rest of the way, but the abundance of his middling production resulted in the worst possible outcome both in terms of finances (his player option grew by $3 million because he topped 500 plate appearances) and entertainment (0.6 WAR by either measure).

Then there’s Leury García, whose season effectively came to a merciful end when Tony La Russa’s came to a cruel one. Miguel Cairo saw what La Russa couldn’t — that García wasn’t up to the near-regular responsibilities La Russa foisted upon his favorite — but by that point, it was too late to matter.

There was never a point in caring about this team, because everything public-facing about them reflected complacency. Rick Hahn didn’t improve the team during the offseason, settling for utility guys and relievers until the 11th-hour additions of Pollock and Johnny Cueto. After the games started counting, nobody on the field or the dugout reflected any particular urgency to right a listing ship. When players didn’t hustle when hustling would’ve made a difference, when regulars were rested an inordinate amount, when a roster was multiple players short because of a reluctance to use the injured list, when relievers were spared consecutive days and the lesser choices lost the game, there was a faith that the organization’s supposed edge in “talent” would win the day.

Then it’s October, the White Sox are trailing the Guardians by double digits, and Lucas Giolito is fully realizing that everybody wasted the last year of José Abreu’s White Sox career.

The White Sox were run into the ground by a Guardians team that didn’t see a point in bolstering the roster over the winter. The Baltimore Orioles also held off on meaningful additions as they waited for a bigger opening in baseball’s toughest division, and they finished with a better record than the White Sox. Spotrac says the White Sox’s total payroll commitment for 2022 was $208.3 million. The Guardians and Orioles, owners of the third-and second-lowest payrolls in baseball, spent $147 million combined.

If it feels bleak, it’s because it is. The hope was that a record payroll would compensate for what the Hahn front office has lacked in problem-solving ability, but it turns out he’s bad at spending, too. Now he’s faced with having to cut costs, so that puts a premium on talent evaluation that has been uniquely terrible for more than a decade. With Hahn and Kenny Williams insulated from anything approaching accountability, everybody and everything is stuck until proven otherwise.


Fortunately, you’ve stuck by Sox Machine. Despite the utterly uninspiring product — or maybe because misery loves company — we set new highs in membership, readership and listenership. We sure would’ve appreciated the rocket fuel a successful rebuild brings, but we’ll take progress in the absence of it everywhere else.

None of that is taken for granted, because a season like this one forces everybody to reconsider where they’re spending their time and treasure. I’ve certainly asked that question of myself — not because I’ve considered quitting, but because I want Sox Machine to accurately reflect the state of things while being worth visiting, lest I overestimate the market share and tolerance of the Discerning Sadsack.

Thanks to everybody who supports Sox Machine, whether it takes the form of Patreon contributions, sharing our work with friends and family, or making the discussions a great marketplace of ideas. If you do support our Patreon, sign up for our Town Hall event on Oct. 25, where we’ll talk about 2022, share our goals for the 2023 season and answer questions you have along the way.

Thanks to Josh, Patrick, Ted, Greg and Bennett for their help in helping providing posts and podcasts for daily reading and listening throughout the season, and thanks to the FutureSox crew for providing their robust coverage of the farm system underneath our umbrella.

Also, thanks to Laurence Holmes and Dan Bernstein at 670 The Score for inviting Josh and I to be featured weekly guests throughout the season. Both of us will be on the Bernstein and Holmes Show at 11 a.m. today for a super-sized segment, a grand finale for a decidedly un-grand season.

If you just started visiting Sox Machine this year, there’s no reason to stop now (unless it’s for your own well being). We’ll still be writing about the White Sox every day here, first by dissecting the 2022 season. In a couple of weeks, we’ll unfurl the Offseason Plan Project, which might be the most dramatic and varied one yet. I look forward to your ambition or your resignation, both of which are sure to be creatively stated because all of us have plenty of practice in voicing our frustration in new and exciting ways.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Danetc85

Jim, I’ve been reading you for what feels like the better part of a decade and you and a short list of others make these baseball seasons so much more enjoyable, so I am glad to hear you are not on the precipice of quitting. Maybe it was the increased expectations for the season or my own imagination, but it certainly felt at times like you were having a harder time finding joy throughout this year. Can’t blame you for that at all given the state of the on-field and off-field product, but I’m glad you’re not going anywhere. Thanks for giving Sox fans your continued time and efforts.

Last edited 2 months ago by Danetc85
John SF

I’m confident that —with all due respect to many many wonderful writers on this site and others— without Jim, Josh, and James Fegan, I would have stopped following the Sox already. Same for Bennetti.

Hahn & Co may view the blogs and reporters as a thorn in their side. But really that are the Sox’ best weapon against the mediocrity.

The Sox are only positively exceptional in a handful of ways, and unfortunately none of those ways involve their play on the field.

dwjm3

“we set new highs in membership, readership and listenership. We sure would’ve appreciated the rocket fuel a successful rebuild brings, but we’ll take progress in the absence of it everywhere else.”

Glad to hear

Last edited 2 months ago by dwjm3
Buehrlesque

Great evisceration of the team and their complacency, inefficiency and well just general incompetence, Jim.

General question on the new manager search: With the Astros having a first-round bye, they’ll technically be idle for the next few days. Are the Sox able to interview Joe Espada during this time, or will they still have to wait until after the playoffs? Does anyone know?

calcetinesblancos

“If you just started visiting Sox Machine this year, there’s no reason to stop now (unless it’s for your own well being).” 

I mean, clearly anyone following the Sox stopped caring about their well being a long time ago. SM is what keeps us from losing it.

Willardmarshall

In the (however unlikely) event that Jim ever abandons us, let’s not let it be because Sox Machine failed to garner enough Patreon supporters.

roke1960

Another magnificent article, Jim!! You and the Sox Machine crew have made the season bearable. I just wonder if Hahn/Jerry/Kenny have any clue as to the frustration that White Sox fans feel about how poorly they are doing their jobs. Or I wonder if they even care. They really take no measures to appease the fans in any way. Their attitudes are smug (of course we don’t know about Kenny and Jerry because they never have the guts to show their faces). They just continue to stick to us fans with their callous, pompous attitude. If there is a Soxfest, and if Hahn shows his face there (very doubtful), the backlash has to be devastating. We deserve change in this organization.

metasox

Putting new faces in front of fans was the one reason I thought Hahn might be replaced. Even just moving the deck chairs would have shown some self-awareness of their failure and need to do right by the fans.
Cubs announced their convention will happen in January.

steelydan52

The Soxfest will happen but no player will show up due to injury.

upnorthsox

They’ll show up but will pull a hammy jogging to the Q&A session

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Thanks as always for the wonderful writing and podcasting through what was otherwise an utterly worthless season.

It’s been a transformative year in terms of pretty much the entire fan base as well as local and national media finally arriving at the conclusion that this a broken organisation that simply cannot build a sustainable above average baseball team. The next few months will be interesting but, in my opinion, will eventually further confirm this org’s incompetency.

Second rate franchises result in second rate rebuilds. Simple as that.

Willardmarshall

Rebuilding 101: the Braves

lifelongjd

Thanks for all the hard work and quality product. Not sure how we all would have made it through this season without this site.

Agree with all of your takes on this season. I think what maddens me most is the ignorant manner the Sox deal with problems. They ignore issues as if they’ll just fix themselves. Whether it’s a hamstring injury or finding a legit right fielder, the Sox just don’t fix problems. Adding LaRussa’s arrogant and condescending tone when asked about said problems
was just gasoline on a dumpster fire.

Good riddance 2022 White Sox

As Cirensica

Both the Orioles and the Guardians had a better win-loss record that the White Sox. Spotrac says the White Sox’s total payroll commitment for 2022 was $208.3 million. The Guardians and Orioles, owners of the third-and second-lowest payrolls in baseball, spent $147 million combined.

I would contribute to create a fund that allows to place a huge billboard near the White Sox FO headquarter with those words.

Thank you Jim, Josh, Ted, Patrick, FutureSox team, and everybody that contributed in any shape or form with SoxMachine. You won’t find a better blog for White Sox fans.

vince

I will probably not invest much time watching the Sox next year but never once considered reducing my Patreon contribution – this site is a treasure and I want it to be around for the eventual day a new ownership group takes over the Sox.

I look forward to participating in the Offseason Project Plan for only the second time, as it feels like a good vehicle to express my disappointment with this front office.

Thanks for making a miserable season less miserable.

Last edited 2 months ago by vince
Burke

Great write-up. So true. My willingness to follow (and pay for) this team next year wiill depend on what they do in the offseason. If they get a real manager and then plug some of the key holes such as second base, a starting pitcher, right field, and better middle relief than Diekman and Graveman, yes

But if not, it’s just not going to be worth it. The young players on Cleveland are going to have one more year of experience, and I the Twins and even the Tigers are likely going to be better It could end up being worse than even this year was.

Crooked_Number

Jim, thank you for providing me and all of us Sox fans such consistent, quality content. I have been lurking forever – this catastrophic season that provided merely blips of enjoyment and baseball happiness had me coming here daily, and I wanted to subscribe (long overdue) and give you some well deserved kudos.

A sincere thank you to you, Josh and everyone else at Sox Machine.

Following this club since I was old enough to walk, it’s like a family member. We want so much for that family member to succeed – and we provide them our unconditional emotional and financial support. Even when it’s clear the family member doesn’t reciprocate. I am hoping that next year our Sox family member gets the help it sorely needs, heals, and maybe doesn’t make us suffer so much Soxabuse.

I’m hoping next season my wife doesn’t have to ask Alexa “what is the score of todays WhiteSox game?” so often, because from April to late September she had a pretty good inkling why I might have that look of disappointment on my face.

Lastly – I’ve gotten such a kick out of all the commenters here. After the dozens of gut wrenching games it was always a nice respite to come here and read fellow Sox fans going through the same anguish.

Here’s to next season & continued success and growth to this fantastic site.

steelydan52

I’d also like to thank Jim and the gang for this site. I have been a LONG time reader but I think, through the years, I’ve only commented a couple times until just within the last few weeks or so. Now you can’t shut me up! My son is a Brewers fan and my son-in-law is a cubs fan. And yes, I let him marry our daughter. But we only talk baseball once in awhile so this site has let me vent, give my opinions and sometimes laugh! I love it and appreciate all the commenters.

gosox

I live in Arizona, wait till you see how ridiculously athletic the Dodgers are, it seems like they never make an error, Dodgers and Astros in the World Series

dongutteridge

I love Sox Machine! Thanks, Jim.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure that I can care about the White Sox anymore. The organization is a disaster and insulting to its fan base. One day there will be new ownership and I will get excited then.

ParisSox

What everyone said. Keep on keeping on, Jim. It’s depressing to think that if you weren’t here I’d actually have to read mlb.com.

Hulksmash

Tremendous as always, Jim, Josh, and co.! Thank you for everything you do; I’m grateful to be a member of this community.

Here’s to the dumpster fire that’s sure to be the upcoming offseason–at least we’ll all have each other!

John SF

Anyone have any preliminary estimates for our arb increases next year?

I’d like to get my off season plan finished ASAP, honestly so I can just take a long break from thinking about the Sox or sports again.

I’m assuming Engel will be DFA’d or negotiate a sub-arb increase the way Yolmer and Leury did at various points.

But Giolito, Cease, Kopech, Lopez, and Ruiz are harder to peg.

Last edited 2 months ago by John SF
upnorthsox

Arbitration Estimates:

Cease:
Comp: Jack Flaherty – $3.9 Mil – Shane Bieber – $6 Mil
Estimate: $5.5 Mil

Kopech:
Comp: Chris Paddock – $2.25 Mil – Reynaldo Lopez – $2.625 Mil
Estimate: $2.75 Mil

Giolito:
Comp: Chris Bassitt – $8.65 – Sean Manaea – $9.75 Mil
Estimate: 20% increase – $8.94 Mil

Lopez:
Comp: Mychal Givens – $4.05 Mil – Matt Barnes – $4.5 Mil
Estimate: $4.25 Mil

Ruiz:
Comp: Jorge Lopez – $1.5 Mil – Jonathan Loaisiga – $1.65 Mil
Estimate: $1.6 Mil

Engel:
Comp: Tony Kemp – $2.25 Mil – Chad Pinder $2.725 Mil
Estimate: $2.5 Mil

Mendick:
Comp: Adam Engel $2 Mil – Cavan Biggio – $2.12 Mil
Estimate: $2 Mil

Total Arb Estimate: $27.54 Mil

Other:
The new CBA could add an additional 20% to all estimates = $33 Mil
I didn’t include Kyle Crick or anyone else not on the 26 man/IR

Overall, I’d say a safe estimate if everyone returns to the org is $30 Mil which includes an increase for new CBA effect.

upnorthsox

Including current contracts, existing options, estimated arbs, deferrals, and pre-arb obligations I come up with a current 2023 estimate of $186 Mil. I think that’s the bare minimum we should expect for the 2023 White Sox payroll and OPP.

asinwreck

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: as newspapers collapse around us, Sox Machine is a shining example of independent media at its best. That Jim and Josh have maintained and built this platform around a sports franchise owned by an individual with utter disregard for sound business practice is a textbook case in irony.

It is also something not to take for granted (points to “become a patron” orange button).

Kittles on a Rooftop

There was never a point in caring about this team, because everything public-facing about them reflected complacency.

Correct. This is the first time in my 39 years on this Earth, that I did not watch a single White Sox game. Not one inning, not one pitch. I simply did not care to waste my time any longer watching something that just pisses me off.

This was my experience, too; my Sox fan friends scoffed at my “82 wins and 2nd in the Central” projections in March. Who woulda thunk I’d be too optimistic on the win column. I attended one home game with my wife and two daughters in August and the Friday night game in San Diego while visiting friends. Only part of a game I watched was the top of the 8th and top of the 9th of Cease’s near miss no-hitter vs the Twins. I definitely spent more time with Sox Machine than I spent watching or listening to games this year and finally subscribed last weekend to thank Jim, Josh and all who contribute to this site… as I told Josh at the game in SD during a brief chat, I’ve come to sorta hate the team but I’ll always love Sox fans.

GrinnellSteve

I squandered the better portion of today (along with some of yesterday and too much recent shower time) working on my OPP. For all that effort I’m not satisfied with the result. I do think, though, I’ve unearthed some interesting trade candidates.

This year’s OPP will be the most diverse and interesting yet. There will be a lot of different approaches.

Thank Jim, Josh, and the masthead for a stimulating year, a silk purse made from a sow’s ear.

HouseOfTheRisingSox

I listened to Giolito’s quote a few times, overanalyzing. I feel like when he says Jose making “…so much of what makes this team, this team” is actually quite the insult. And then he follows it up with “I’ve got one more year”. Did this season just make me crazy? All I know is that I will sincerely miss Abreu

El Arvo

I’m sure he’s referring to his last year before free agency but I’ve never viewed Giolito as someone who particularly liked being here. Maybe that’s just me

a-t

Gio has long made it clear that he will be seeking a full young star’s big free agent payday, and the White Sox have long been dedicated to giving no one a big free agent payday, so to me Giolito is merely reading out loud the writing on the wall.

calcetinesblancos

Gio is a headcase. I’m really hoping they trade him and open a rotation spot for someone else. The only starting pitcher worth giving a long deal to is Cease.

Amar

Why is Giolito a “headcase”?

calcetinesblancos

Because he’s reverted to a deer in the headlights on the mound.

Wayne

Open a rotation spot? Cease and Lynn are you top 2. You have Kopech coming back from injury and hopefully stretching out to more innings in 2023. Giolito is penciled in. And then Davis Martin is maybe injured. So there already was a rotation spot open.

calcetinesblancos

Sign/trade/promote someone else.

steelydan52

Yes. He’s a California boy.

chipporter

Thank You. SM is a much looked forward to time of the day.

Peter

I’ve been a subscriber for about a year.Sox Machine is my first stop in the morning for the insightful recap. . Thanks Jim, Josh and crew.

To Err is Herrmann

In the picture for this article, Jose Abreu is wearing his scarf so that the White Sox logo is upside down. Is that a distress signal? Seriously.

steelydan52

If it was a distress signal we should send one to JR.

zevsenesca

Well said. This year really felt different in a really disappointing way. I’ve often heard the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. This year I’ve only felt indifference to the results of the games. I don’t want to fall out of love with this team, but Jerry, et al. are doing their damnedest to push me out.

Thank you all for being here as a place to vent my grievance. As I am truly grieving this mediocrity.