The Texas Rangers have a chance to officially close the book on the 2023 MLB season tonight, so there’s probably an embargo on significant, official MLB news by the White Sox and the other 29 MLB teams. I assume that’s why Romy González had to break the news himself that he’d resumed throwing after undergoing shoulder surgery in August.
Ironic quips aside, footage of González doing baseball activities in a controlled environment can trigger flashbacks to last winter, when he was strangely present in so much White Sox offseason hype.
In hindsight, that video should’ve probably reduced the White Sox’s preseason projections by 10 wins. Let’s rank the subjects by the amount of excitement:
- Dylan Cease, who technically had more to achieve since he finished runner-up in the Cy Young
[colossal, yawning canyon]
- Luis Robert, shown letting go of the bat with the wrong hand
[smaller, but still sizable gap]
- Oscar Colás, hoping to show staying power for the entire 2023 season.
- Yasmani Grandal, coming off a season where he slugged .269.
- Romy González, trying to win second base.
And González’s inclusion wasn’t an outlier, because he was prominently featured in another offseason hype video …
… while Rick Hahn opened the season pumping up González:
Some of that might’ve been posturing, because a few days after Rick Hahn raved about Romy González, the White Sox ultimately signed Elvis Andrus to be the primary second baseman. It just doesn’t really change much, because replace González with Andrus in those examples above, and the result is just as sad.
So many other individual catastrophes unfurled, unfolded and/or exploded during the season that it’s easy to forget about the González hype cycle, but it’s funny to look back on it and see how most of the figures involved in the inflation are no longer part of the White Sox proper. Hahn was fired, José Castro was fired, and Chris Johnson was reassigned.
The White Sox entered the season with 2½ hitting coaches, all of whom lived in the Miami area and hosted Colás and González three times a week. Now the Sox are down to the half-coach in Mike Tosar, which probably isn’t enough to maintain the briefly vaunted Miami minicamp unless the Sox hire more South Florida residents as replacements.
When the White Sox are back to making official news, I’m probably most eager to see what direction Chris Getz chooses here, because it could tip the scales in terms of who the coaching staff appears to belong to. The current staff at the moment is a weird mix of Grifol’s ideas (Tosar, Eddie Rodríguez), Hahn’s ideas (Ethan Katz, Charlie Montoyo), with a Chris Getz guy (Brian Bannister) overseeing the pitching. Matt Wise is waiting in the wings at bullpen coach, and the most obvious Anaheim overlap is with new White Sox director of player personnel Gene Watson, but maybe we’ll learn more about that when the Sox are able to announce him.
Basically, if the new hitting coach(es) and first base coach aren’t Grifol-driven, then maybe Getz isn’t particularly Grifol-driven. He’s supported him publicly of course, and words are the only thing we can judge him by. However, Getz wouldn’t sound any different if he agreed to carry out a Jerry Reinsdorf mandate in order to rise to a position nobody else would hire him for. In that scenario, Grifol might be fixed in place, leaving Getz to seek some feng shui among the assistants. Grifol is going to heap praise upon Getz no matter what Getz chooses, so he may as well take advantage of the generosity.