Memorial Day isn’t deadline for White Sox’s fate, but now June matters more

2019 Washington Nationals parade
(Photo by Ted Eytan)

The 2019 Washington Nationals are the underachiever team’s life preserver, for just about any disappointing squad can draw inspiration from the way they recovered from an unthinkably lousy start.

At Memorial Day, they lost to the Miami Marlins to drop back to 10 games under .500 at 22-32, and nine games back of the Phillies. FanGraphs’ Devan Fink used the Nationals to explore the idea of Memorial Day as a checkpoint, figuring out the correlation between winning percentages at Memorial Day and the end of the year over the previous nine years, and then running a regression model for an adjusted end-of-season projection.

The Twins, who were off to a flying start that season, were projected to finish 98-64. They ended the year 101-61.

The Nationals, who spent the first two months scuffling despite all the on-paper talent, were projected to finish 71-91 if the standard pattern took hold. Instead, they finished the season 93-69, and while that wasn’t good enough to take the division, they were able to host the Wild Card game, and they parlayed that smallest of October openings into the franchise’s first World Series title.

It’s fun to read that article as a snapshot, because while Fink stops short of burying the Nationals, he laid out a pretty grim forecast based on precedents …

The 2013 Dodgers struggled at the beginning of the season. On May 27, the team defeated their crosstown American League counterpart, the Angels, in an 8-7 thriller. In the bottom of the seventh, Jerry Hairston singled off of Robert Coello to give the Dodgers the lead for good. They improved their record to 21-28, good for a .429 winning percentage on Memorial Day. Our regression equation would expect the Dodgers to finish at .456, or just about 74 wins. A scorching second half (45-23) led the Dodgers to a 92-70 record and a .568 win percentage, 112 points higher than the expectation.

That should give Nationals fans at least some hope, though a 112-point improvement on their current expectation would only result in 89 wins. I’m not sure that will be enough to win a playoff spot in the National League, but it would certainly give them a shot. Still, it’s worth remembering that this is probably the absolute best the Nationals could do, which is a little alarming, to say the least. If the Nationals want to even reach 81 wins, they’d still need to outpace their projection by 64 points of winning percentage, something only 23 of the 270 teams (about 8%) were able to do. That’s just to reach .500, mind you. Things don’t look great in D.C.

… and Washington went out and beat those incredibly steep odds. They became that precedent people sought, and now they’re an influence/crutch for others in similar situations.

So when Rick Hahn says that the White Sox don’t have to decide whether they’re buying or selling by Memorial Day, he’s technically correct.

“Sitting here (on) Memorial Day, the first two months have not been up to the level that we wanted it to be. We get that. It’s not acceptable. Could that one day lead to changes over the course of the season? Absolutely. But for now, this is a group that is now hopefully coming together as a full unit, and we’ll see how it performs over the next several weeks before we have to make that decision.”

But the Nationals cut the crap when the calendar turned to June. They went 18-8 to pull back to .500 at the season’s halfway point, and then they advanced further into the black with each passing month.

The White Sox have two days left in May, and at 14-13 with two games to play, they haven’t yet secured a winning month. Hovering around .500 against the weakest part of the schedule is like allowing a .741 OPS to No. 9 hitters, which is another thing the White Sox have done.

The arrival of the Angels — and the White Sox’s 6-4 loss to them on Monday night — marks the start of a difficult stretch of nine series, eight of which are against teams over .500. The exception is a three-game set against a Tigers team that just took three of four against the White Sox in Detroit. It’s not the best time to hope that the White Sox break out of a malaise that stretches back to the second half of 2021, or the last 10 baseball months.

It’s also all the White Sox have, because the alternative is listening to Hahn talk about the future of a team that he and many, many others in the front office should have no part in.

“If that doesn’t happen, it’s the responsibility of all of us in the front office to realize where objectively we’re at and what’s best for the club going forward. We’re not at that date yet. But we know it’s a possibility.”

I have no real appetite for a sell-off because of who would be doing the selling, but there’s a point where retaining everybody who’s leaving makes little sense. It doesn’t have to be decided now because there’s still a lot of season to go, which isn’t so much a reason for hope as a reminder of how long purgatory can take.

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There’s no reason for a fan to care. At this point, I care way more about my fantasy baseball team than any outcome for the White Sox. Why should I be invested in something that has no choice but to fail? Look at who stewards it…

When they show that they care, I’ll care more.


did you read the article?


I made sure my auto renewal was turned off for my 2024 MLB package today.


Its funny you mention that cause thanks to me having it ive been able to watch a bunch of great baseball. Its my big expensive White Sox life raft.


Thanks to blackouts I cannot watch Royals, St. Louis, Rangers, or Astro’s games. Add to that MLB has sold off games to Apple and Paramount (or is it Peacock?) and they’ve diluted the value with no additional cost discount.


Are you in Arkansas? Because I had the same blackout restrictions when I lived there.


That sounds awful. I guess the lucky thing about Chicago is we only get blacked out from Cubs games and why would i want to watch them anyway.

El Arvo

Got rid of mine when we moved to Iowa. Blackout of White Sox, Cubs, Twins, Royals, Cardinals, & Brewers. What a deal!


This front office has shown time and time again that it cannot do what it takes to build a winning baseball team. This organization seems to have gone through a lengthy and painful rebuild only to wind up exactly where they were 10 years ago: A lousy major league team with the worst farm system in baseball.


Honestly, that team 10 years ago that finished with 63 wins was a much better team than this one.

Greg Nix

Let’s not get carried away. Adam Dunn led that squad with a .762 OPS and Jeff Keppinger got 450 plate appearances.


And that sad sack of a Dunn is better than what we have now. And you know for a fact that Hanser Alberto wont get 450 ABs?

Joliet Orange Sox

2023 Alberto is a better baseball player than 2013 Keppinger. This says more about 2013 Keppinger than anything else.

Trooper Galactus

They went through a lengthy rebuild only to wind up where they were five years ago at the lowest point of the rebuild.

As Cirensica

The White Sox recently got Liam, Crochet, and Eloy. Clevinger, and Elvis should be back soon. The team should be able to win more games with those ‘additions’. The problem is, and it has always be, we cannot afford any health-wise set back anymore because our “depth” has been tested already and it didn’t go particularly well.

I expect this team to gain ground towards the .500 mark, but it is probably not gonna be fast enough. The thing is that this division might be winnable with just a handful of games above .500. so the White Sox will be chasing their own tail all season long, and Hahn won’t sell any piece of the roster. He might actually “buy” somebody at the deadline. Probably a reliever or a cromulent starting/long relief pitcher.

That’s what is gonna happen.

Last year, the White Sox battled all year trying to get over the .500 mark (and never achieved it). This year, the battle will be to get into the .500 mark. Will they do it? I think they can, but I have a feeling that’s the best scenario.

Augusto Barojas

I think you overstate the Sox talent and ignore that the Twins aren’t nearly that bad. As I said in my post on the game summary, right now Sonny Gray is the best pitcher in the central. In 11 starts he has not given up more than 3 runs, and has given up 2 or less in 10 of them. The Twins aren’t great but their run diff is nearly the reverse of the Sox, and their pitching is currently 2nd in mlb in ERA.

I fail to see when the Sox are going to gain ground toward .500 when in June every team they play is better than they are. They’ve lost 6 of 8 on the road to the Tigers and Royals. I mean what more does anybody need to see to stop taking the Sox seriously? They are more likely to be 20 games under by July 1 than closer to .500.

Last edited 3 months ago by Augusto Barojas

I’m not exactly high on the Sox, I’m just about ready to throw in the towel after the bullpen couldn’t hold the Tigers off two days in a row, but the Twins are presently projected by ZiPS to finish at 84-78 (and the Sox at 73-89). Their pitching staff is definitely pitching well but several of them— Sonny Gray leading there— are outperforming their peripherals handily. Gray’s not given up a HR yet this year, and no, that’s not sustainable. They’re merely the biggest fish in a very small pond.

As Cirensica

Last year was the same, the Twins led the division up until September, and their pitching staff was incredible early on until regression hit them in the face truly hard. Sony Gray is good, but not ace good. The rest are decent but not again, not this great. They will regress, but the twins hitting will also regress positively (they have been atrocious), so in the end it might cancel off leaving the team more or less where they are now, around .500-ish


It wasn’t regression so much as injuries but yeah that could happen again too.


Yeah, same. I’ve got the towel in the throwing position. But I want to see these next three weeks. They’ve finally gotten past the point of the season (first few weeks) where they looked laughably bad and they’re now relatively healthy. They are playing a lot of quality-to-good teams. It’s an opportunity to show who they are. If I gambled, I’d bet they’ll face plant and my fan towel will be thrown. But let’s see if they can prove us wrong.

As Cirensica

We have also being losing many close games lately. It is not like at the beginning of the season where we were been beaten by loads of runs. I might sound too positive, but I am not. I know the reality the White Sox are, but this team is not THAT bad when compared with other ALC division teams. We just need to find a way to get out of the hole we dug in April. It is just a very deep hole.

Last edited 3 months ago by As Cirensica

Their games recently have been closer b/c they’ve been playing the Tigers, Royals, and Guardians. And they’re still just 12-11 in the central. In June they play a bunch of teams that aren’t under .500. Just like they did in April.

As Cirensica

We’ll see. Last night we lost by 2 runs.


If they do gain ground on the Twins and the .500 mark, I hope they buy as long as it’s buying with JR’s money and not prospects. While I’d get some sort of twisted satisfaction from watching the Sox sell and the W/L record spiral, I don’t see the point in either (a) a full rebuild under this regime or (b) a partial sell to restock for ’24. If the margin gets bigger and they continue to languish, then sure—trade anyone not under contract for ’24. But as long as they are hovering around 5 GB or better in July, I say keep what you have, take on a bad contract or two a team is dumping, and see what happens.


Probably trade Montgomery to get Diekman back.


I really don’t get the feeling the Sox will remotely approach .500. The Tigers are missing 80% of their rotation and have a horrible offense, yet are still treading water due to depth. Cleveland will find a way to scratch and claw to approach .500. The Twins aren’t as bad as everyone makes them out to be.

The White Sox are bad. They will continue doing what they always do: Lose a bunch in a row, flash some great baseball, then lose players to injury with no depth to buttress the losses. .500 is a pipe dream… the ceiling is 3rd place.

As Cirensica

The White Sox aren’t bad. With a baseline of 50 PAs, the White Sox have 7 players with rWC+ equal or greater than 100. The Guardians have 1 (wow), and the Twins have 8.

The White Sox problem is that the roster is horribly built because Hahn has no idea what he is doing. He never did, and never will.


Only 4 of those 7 are over 110, though, and also 4 of those 7 are 1B/DHs, and of those only 2 are sufficiently over 100 to justify their defensive shortcomings. 7 100+ wRC+ hitters would look a lot better if you could actually get 7 in the lineup.

As Cirensica

and also 4 of those 7 are 1B/DHs, and of those only 2 are sufficiently over 100 to justify their defensive shortcomings. 7 100+ wRC+ hitters would look a lot better if you could actually get 7 in the lineup.

You are describing a team that is terribly built which was one of my points in my original post. It is not bad per se….it’s just so inflexible. Not versatile. Redundant. Like a kid drafting his first fantasy baseball team with four1B, three SS, one OF, and no 2B.


That is a very odd stat to rely on though. There is also pitching, defense, and base-running. The Sox are bad at all of those. The Sox’s best starting pitcher will be traded and Cease’s slider is back to being average. Last year was the aberration for him.

As Cirensica

I give you that they aren’t great in general terms, but they aren’t 12 games under .500 bad in June.

Last edited 3 months ago by As Cirensica

I wouldn’t say it’s average, it’s no longer elite if they wont swing at it but its still above average. What’s been coming down to average is the FB.


I think the Sox’ problem is more than depth. Our position players are not all that good. Vaughn is not living up to his draft status. Robert is closer to Jason Heyward than Juan Soto. Eloy doesn’t play often enough to be a power threat. Anderson has been off his game for a year. Benedetti skims along his high floor. The rest are part of a drink that needs a straw. Don’t get me wrong. Several would be useful acquisitions by contending teams at the trade deadline. Others might fit in to a restructured White Sox team in 2024. The lack of pitching depth, of course, is the real obstacle to fielding a competitive team next year. It’s hard to see who fills out the rotation with Lynn, Gio, and Clevenger presumably gone in 2024 (or earlier). This makes me think that a rebuild rather than a retooling may be on the horizon.


Robert’s played on a 5-6 WAR pace and has been healthy this year. Heyward didn’t even crack 3 WAR once his entire time with the Cubs. No need to throw out the sole should-be-star position player meeting expectations with the disappointing ones.

The simplest answer to pitching depth questions for next year is that when the Sox trade away half the roster at the deadline, they get back several ready or near ready SP prospects. Tim to the Dodgers could bring back, say, Gavin Stone, Ryan Pepiot, and a decent to good hitting prospect.

Last edited 3 months ago by a-t
Yolmer's gatorade

One of Stone or Pepiot, and Tim has to play well.


nah. TA’s got a very cheap club option for next year, and Stone/Pepiot are decent not great prospects. He could snag both, or maybe Cartaya and Pepiot


…1 HR and 15 RBI.


Tim is, for once, getting unlucky on the BABIP side. He’s underperforming his xwOBA by 40 points this year when his speed usually allows him to lightly outperform it. I’m not particularly concerned that he’s broken, just healthy or not, and neither would the Dodgers.


Heyward, in fact, outperformed Robert at the comparable stage of their careers. My point was not that Robert isn’t a good player, just that he hasn’t shown (yet) that he’s an all star let alone a super star. I agree that he (and probably Cease and Kopech) are keepers. I have less faith than you do that the Sox can pull off trades to produce a competitive team in 2024.


It’s not really true that Heyward outplayed Robert. Equal-ish, sure. Robert has played to an All-Star level when healthy; the qualifier is the issue, not the quality of play.

Robert career to date: 1143 PA, .282/.329/.481, 122 wRC+, 8.5 fWAR

Heyward, first 1165 PA (first two seasons + first month of 3rd):
.257/.361/.428, 117 wRC+, 7.2 fWAR

Robert is an All-Star caliber player, there’s not really any question of that. That he isn’t Juan Soto is perfectly fine by me; he’s locked up long term and very afforadably for the AS-caliber play he provides.


Purgatory lasts until there is a new owner.

#3 for HOF

Purgatory would be an improvement. We’re in hell.


I have little appetite for anything this organization has to offer with the current front office and ownership.

King Joffrey

Sox fans need a plenary indulgence for a decade or two of front office malfeasance. Too bad you just can’t buy them anymore.

Yolmer's gatorade

2024 could be a mini-tank year as they do not have the starting pitching to compete, although the Central will still be bad. I was thinking Michael Lorenzen v. Jesse Scholtens was a battle of two 2024 White Sox rotation fixtures. Maybe enough pitching percolates up that 2025 is good for Dylan Cease’s last year. Or JR fires Hahn and Kenny, and new leadership can actually rebalance the team to take advantage of a comically bad division.


Lorenzen hasn’t spent enough time in the AL Central, so Kenny and Rick haven’t seen him play enough (they don’t watch games or pay attention to teams the White Sox don’t play). Their big expenditure in the offseason will be Eddie Rosario. Terrible plate discipline and played in the Central for a while, classic White Sox recipe.


Every year is a tank year with Hahn in charge


Imagine if the Sox announced James Click as President of Baseball Operations next Monday. (Stop laughing, and imagine it.) How different would the next eight weeks look? The next two years? There would be an evaluation with fresh eyes and a direction.

The Williams-Hahn edition of the White Sox has been a ghost ship since at least the summer of 2021. They bet the farm on a new manager and a few new coaches and performance staff radically changing the results of their deeply flawed roster. Now they get to dismantle FOR THE THIRD TIME.

Jerry Reinsdorf is alive enough to purchase Stadium, but his stewardship of the White Sox ought to raise questions about power of attorney.


“If that doesn’t happen, it’s the responsibility of all of us in the front office to realize where objectively we’re at and what’s best for the club going forward. We’re not at that date yet. But we know it’s a possibility.”

I read this quote and thought maybe there was some true introspection going on by Hahn. No, after reading the article it’s clear that he just hasn’t figured out yet who/what to blame it on. I think he was hoping for injuries but he may just have to start throwing players under the bus.


Somewhere Jerry reinsdorf is very moist, thinking it’s almost time for payroll shedding and lecturing people that clearly paying good workers is bad business.

JR’s Culture Club

“Accountability around here is not a problem.”

“It’s really time to put our best foot forward, here”

—Kenny Williams (April 25 2023)

Since these KW pronouncements, the Sox are 15-17.

Would love the media with access, to ask KW and Hahn if 15-17 is the “best foot forward” they envisioned and, if not, when accountability kicks in?


I want to be optimistic, but I just don’t see it with this team. Way too many stretches where they’re just bad.

If Jekyll and Hyde were a baseball team, it’d be the 2021-2023 Chicago White Sox.

Trooper Galactus

As somebody who gets pretty angry every time Hahn opens his mouth, this interview didn’t really register with me. It’s kinda what he has to say; if he were to come out and openly state they suck and they’re gonna sell off everything that isn’t bolted down he would get pilloried by the press and fans alike.

However, what Hahn is saying better not be reflective of what he’s actually doing. If he isn’t on the phone right now all day asking around the league which players teams are interested in and what they’re willing to give up, that’s just dereliction of duty. He needs to be spending his every waking hour assessing what sort of value he can extract from these players if (and more likely when) the time comes.

This is not to say I want Hahn to be doing this, because I don’t trust him to do anything right regardless of what path he takes. He’s incompetent as a baseball executive and talent evaluator and I really want no part of his bullshit any more. Point is, if he’s not shopping around behind the scenes right now then he’s not doing his damn job.

Last edited 3 months ago by Trooper Galactus
Alfornia Jones

Totally agree. Odds are good they won’t have a new FO in place to make deals. The big decisions like Vaughn, Robert, Cease, etc need to go to the next guy, but no reason Hahn can’t make the fire sale deals of Gio/TA/Grandal/bullpen. If they can get some SP and a catcher they can win this thing in 2025.


I am sure Steve Stone is right when he predicts that Mr. Grifol is going to be a great manager. That notwithstanding, it will be interesting to see the skills Mr. Grifol applies to keep the team motivating and playing hard for the rest of the year-it would be a tough job for even the most experienced of managers. I would encourage him to be more open and forthcoming in his communicating with the fans; that’s not a skill he seems to have developed yet and it’s one that could benefit him.


Steve Stone has been off on his prognosticating lately, he promised that TA would soon hit 25 HR in a season. I’m still waiting as that was 4 years ago. TA’s only got 25 more to hit to get there this year. He also said that this team would hit, he may have left out that the skids is what he was talking about hitting. As to Mr Grifol, I mentioned above that his boss was looking for someone to blame so I would suggest to him that he double check for busses before he crosses the intersection at 35th and Shields, there may be one out there with his name on it.

As Cirensica

I am particularly unimpressed with Grifol but he is, by far, the smallest problem (for lack of a better word) this team has.

Alfornia Jones

The dilemma is that minus he 10 game skid, the White Sox are the best team in the division but still not a very good team. Unfortunately, Rick Hahn is really good at building a roster based on a 60 game season, but these guys aren’t built for 162.

I’m personally rooting against a 2019 National turnaround, and hoping for an April repeat. None of this works., and maybe the only way to a new architect is for the building to collapse on the current architect. Rushing in ventilators, feeding tubes, defibrillators, etc seems like a waste of effort to save a brainless patient with no heart.

As Cirensica

…..”Unfortunately, Rick Hahn is really good at building a roster based on a 60 game season”…

Extremely kind statement.


lol what? You’d rather lose a lot of games than do what the 2019 Nats did? If they finish with like a .600 win % and win the WS, we no longer have a brainless patient with no heart.

Trooper Galactus

Look, I’d LOVE for the White Sox to have a miracle turnaround that leads to a World Series trophy and would live with Rick Hahn pulling an, “I told you so.”

The problem is the best case scenario is looking more and more like they take the crappiest division in the league, get bounced from the postseason in the blink of an eye, and Hahn still says, “I told you so.”


I don’t really care what Hahn says. It’s pretty clear he’s not going anywhere, no matter what happens. So I’ll pray the serenity prayer and move on. I’m a White Sox fan and want them to win. I hope they make the playoffs.