While the pitch clock was a blessing to fans who subjected themselves to White Sox baseball all season long, it seems like a fair amount of Sox fans knew the real pace-of-play initiative was in their heart all along.
The Sports Business Journal published year-to-year differences in TV ratings for 29 of 30 MLB teams (Toronto doesn’t apply to this exercise), and the White Sox trailed all of baseball with a 41 percent drop compared to 2022, falling form 1.69 to 0.99.
They’re comfortably in the cellar, because the next-biggest drop-off was just 30 percent. And who suffered that decline? You guessed it: The Kansas City Royals.
The Sox were also one of four teams that failed to post an attendance increase in what was otherwise a fantastic year for Major League Baseball, suffering a league-worst drop of 4,194 fewer fans a game.
With nobody watching, this could’ve been the perfect time to overhaul the front office, giving new, unfamiliar decision-makers a couple years to address the roster in whatever way they see fit. Promoting from within only works if you’re trying to repair the plane in midair. Getz will try to repair the plane after it crashed into a farmers’ market, and he was the lone survivor.
Rick Hahn previously tried to save a little cash by signing players who’d suffered season-ending injuries, but they were either relievers (Joe Kelly, Kelvin Herrera) or role players (Jeff Keppinger). None of those worked out well enough to justify giving Benintendi $75 million over five years, so that alone could’ve been a fireable thought process. He’ll probably bounce back to some degree, but the first year was the most important one, so it was already a mistake by June. It also doesn’t explain his problems in the field.
If you’ve watched any Pedro Grifol postgame scrum, he loves to filibuster with dry, rote accounts of what happened in the game while reporters wait him out. He does the same thing to Vinnie Duber here, and when it gets time to provide his perspective on what went wrong, he alternates between lacking answers and refusing to provide specifics.
Speas, a 25-year-old righty whose slowest pitch is a 91-mph slider, walked 38 guys over 56⅔ innings between Double-A, Triple-A and an unimpressive three-game audition with the Rangers, and that was considered a triumph, considering he walked 21 batters over 12 innings at Double-A two years earlier. The Sox designated Tyler Naquin to make room. An anagram for Alex Speas? Alex’s Peas.
I didn’t realize that Grandal’s 118 games and 405 plate appearances in 2023 represented his highest totals with the White Sox, even though he barely played over the final three weeks of the season. That quantity dragged down the quality of his overall line during his time on the South Side, as he finished with a 99 OPS+.
The White Sox ended Jake Eder’s regular-season early in order to prepare him for a productive Arizona Fall League, and he opened play with three scoreless, hitless innings, striking out three. He also walked three, so plenty of work remains.
Not only did the Twins end baseball’s funniest subplot by ending their 18-game losing streak with a victory over the Blue Jays in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series, but then they went and won Game 2, meaning the White Sox have the longest postseason series drought in the American League. Only the Reds have gone winless in October longer, but Cincinnati might end that streak next year.