Royals 9, White Sox 7: The Walking Dead Tour Continues

Time is running out on the Chicago White Sox in 2022. With Cleveland maintaining a .532 winning percentage, they are on track to finish with an 86-76 record. If the White Sox still believe in themselves, it would require a 24-10 finish to reach 87 wins and avoid any tiebreakers to win the AL Central. 

That journey began with Kansas City visiting for the last time this season. Owning a 9-7 record against the White Sox, the Royals had Brady Singer on the mound. Last time he pitched at Guaranteed Rate Field on August 9th, Singer went 7.1 IP 5 H 1 ER 0 BB 6 K. That start launched a very strong month of August for Singer who carried a month ERA of 2.23. 

On the flip side, Lucas Giolito took the ball and he’s just another White Sox player who carries so much promise but the performance has been awfully erratic in 2022. Even though Giolito carried a 4-1 record in August, his monthly ERA was 5.13. Luckily for Giolito, the White Sox have scored at least five runs in his last six starts. A type of offensive support that would make Dylan Cease envy. 

Before the game began, Tony La Russa had to remove himself for health reasons. 

With Miguel Cairo taking over he got a front row seat watching Nick Pratto and Salvador Perez taking Lucas Giolito deep for three home runs. Pratto’s monster game led the Royals to a 9-7 victory as the White Sox have now lost 10 of their last 12 games. 

Down 3-0, the White Sox had a good scoring opportunity in the third inning. Josh Harrison’s Kansas City Special landed just fair down the right field line for a bloop double. Next at bat, Seby Zavala got hit by a pitch, turning the lineup over with no outs. 

In typical White Sox fashion, they didn’t manufacture a run. AJ Pollock struck out and Andrew Vaughn almost hit into a double play. Thanks to Vaughn’s hustle, it was just a fielder’s choice, but Jose Abreu grounded out to third base ending the threat. 

Second scoring opportunity came the next inning when Elvis Andrus walked and advanced to third base off Leury Garcia’s single. However, Josh Harrison couldn’t come up with clutch hit with two outs. 

In the fifth inning, the White Sox offense finally broke through. Three singles from Pollock, Abreu, and Jimenez scored the first run. Then Gavin Sheets added to his home run lead at Guaranteed Rate Field blasting a three-run shot. Suddenly a comfortable five-run lead for Kansas City was cut to just one. 

Singer wouldn’t last much longer as he allowed back-to-back singles to Andrus and Garcia. Royals manager Mike Matheny went to the bullpen and called for Jose Cuas to face Harrison. On the first pitch, Harrison grounded out ending the rally. Singer’s final line was 4.2 IP 9 H 4 ER 1 BB 4 K. 

Giolito didn’t last much longer. After punching out Hunter Dozier, Cairo called for Tanner Banks to face Pratto. In 5.1 innings, Giolito allowed 6 H 5 ER 2 BB 7 K 3 HR. His season ERA is now 5.27. 

Banks ran into trouble as the bases were loaded for Nicky Lopez. On a hard hit line drive, Pollock made a nice defensive play catch and throw back into the infield preventing a run from scoring. Cairo swapped Banks for Jimmy Lambert to face Michael A. Taylor. 

On a shallow fly ball, Sheets tried to make a diving catch much like a Walrus flopping onto a sheet of ice. Of course, Sheets didn’t make the catch, and the Royals increased their lead to 7-4. 

Kansas City made it 8-4 in the seventh inning, but Jimenez hit a solo shot in the bottom half. His eighth homer of the season was a no-doubter traveling 434-feet. 

In the ninth inning, down by four runs, Sheets hit his second home run of the game with a two-run shot. Ultimately, the White Sox lost but watching three home runs en route to seven runs scored is a version of “fun bad.” But in a World Series or Bust season, it’s another depressing night. 

Game Notes: 

  • Eloy Jimenez went 3-for-5 bringing his season OPS up to .848
  • All of Gavin Sheets’s home runs have been hit at home in 2022. 
  • After the game there was no update on Tony La Russa’s health. More information will be provided prior to Wednesday’s game. 
  • Kansas City Royals win the season series vs. White Sox. Add it to the overgrowing list of reasons why new front office management is needed.

Record: 63-66 | Box Score | StatCast

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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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dongutteridge

Well, at least we don’t have to pretend anymore that this is a team in the playoff hunt.

dwjm3

Lol Hahn said this was a championship caliber team last week. You don’t say Rick

Augusto Barojas

They could win the division and not be close to a championship caliber team. Just like 2021.

They are an all star RF, good 2b, and manager away from being championship caliber. At least.

roke1960

Add to that a new front office. Because with the current front office, they will not acquire an all-star RF, good 2b and good manager.

Augusto Barojas

True. I mean this ship is close to sunk, pretty much. Not that different from rooting for the Bears, which is also pointless.

roke1960

At least the McCaskeys move on from incompetent FO/coaches. The problem is they just keep bringing in new bad ones. Though I think they got it right this time with Poles/Eberflus/Getsy.

ChiSoxND12

A Bears fan who thinks this time they got it right. Imagine that!

calcetinesblancos

Well with the Bears the bar is low; after Nagy any coach that calls plays that go towards the endzone instead of sideways or out and then back is a massive improvement.

roke1960

So who was worse, Nagy or Tony?

calcetinesblancos

I assume death isn’t an option in this hypothetical?

dwjm3

Its August…The Bears flags go up on homes and the blind optimism begins.

dwjm3

I don’t see this situation as analogous to the Bears. Jerry is 86 so we know a new owner will be coming in the not-too-distant future. It is difficult to know how long McCaskey ownership will go with the Bears. There certainly isn’t an end in sight unless their plan is to sell when Virginia passes away.

I’m short term bearish and long term bullish on the Sox.

roke1960

At least McCaskey went out (this time) and got a bright mind from a very successful program (Poles) and then got out of the way while he cleaned house. That would be analogous to Jerry hiring someone from the Dodgers and giving him free rein, which we know won’t happen.

a-t

Well, shout-out to Sheets for making himself more tradeable now than 24 hours ago

gibby32

He may have made Vaughn more tradeable.

itaita

While i dont wish for death or serious health issues it would be nice if this was the first step of TLR working an out to save face by using health as an excuse.

Also i know im in the minority here but id rather the Sox kept Eloy then selling low. The HR are down but hes at least been one of the guys who have a working bat. Id rather keep those and look for any bag of balls for guys who bring nothing.

roke1960

I’m wondering if he never steps foot in the dugout again. This was his way to get out without resigning in disgrace or being fired.

Augusto Barojas

He’s certainly old enough to have real health issues. Yeah, I hope he’s ok but that this is his way out. I really, really think he will be gone before next season. I sure hope so.

This team has huge roster issues as well that a new manager won’t fix, but it would still be a great start.

As Cirensica

Eloy’s homer last night was nice, but we lost the game in part because of him. Since his legs are made of play-doh, Eloy was the DH. Because of that, the outfield was Vaughn-Pollock-Sheets, and one of the Royals key hits came to exists because we have Sheets patrolling the outfield. We have four and potentially five 1B/DH, and we can’t play them all. Hahn has to make some tough decisions for 2023.

We can’t return to 2023 having Vaughn, Abreu, Grandal, Sheets and Eloy. At least two of them have to go.

Last edited 28 days ago by As Cirensica
ForsterFTOG

For a 25 year old pro athlete, Eloy is in such bad shape.
After he hit his homer and jogged around the bases, he looked completely gassed in the dugout.

BillyKochFanClub

Unpopular opinion, but I would let Abreu walk. Not based on performance, because he’s been very good, but we have a young replacement in Vaughn and need as much wiggle room within a Jerry budget as we can get with RF, SP, and 2B as off-season necessities.

It would be painful, but it gets Vaughn out of the OF, helps clear up a log jam and payroll. I choose Eloy and Vaughn going forward. Trade Sheets. Grandal, whose first two seasons of production I appreciate, is now immovable. To me, that is the best way to clear up the 1b/DH/OF surplus.

HallofFrank

Signing, and then re-signing, Jose Abreu is one of the few things this FO has done well. If they use $15m (or whatever) on him, I’m very confident it’ll go toward a good player. If they allocate that money elsewhere, I’m not at all confident that money will be used well.

I’m more confident they could get fair value out of Vaughn/Sheets/Eloy than I am them spending $15m well in the offseason.

roke1960

It’s very sad when you can say (and rightfully so) that you are not confident that our current GM will spend $15M wisely. That just shows how bad our current GM is. Hahn must go if the Sox have any chance of saving this contention window.

BillyKochFanClub

Abreu has aged well to this point, but at 36 and counting you can’t be certain that he’ll remain productive. We’ve seen Grandal go from one of the best catchers in baseball to albatross over one off-season. Abreu might continue to produce well into his late 30’s, i mean Nelson Cruz exists, but I don’t like the idea of moving Vaughn and Eloy, who should have years ahead of them, to spend money on another 1b.

I’m aware that this take may age poorly, but I don’t think the Sox should trade young controllable players and hold on to aging more expensive players because we’re scared of Hahn shopping for more relief pitching and utility infielders.

roke1960

I am also in the let Abreu walk camp. His stats look good, but lately he has looked completely lost in pressure situations. Paying him $15M on this roster of misfits is a big overpay, when you can get that production from Vaughn at 1st base for a fraction of the cost. Now we just need a GM who is capable of actually putting that $15M to good use.

HallofFrank

You can’t be certain anyone will remain productive. Heck, look at the 2022 White Sox. The old guys (Abreu, Harrison, Cueto) are the ones pulling weight. The young “stars” (Robert, Eloy, Giolito, Moncada) are the ones constantly injured or underperforming. To be clear, this isn’t meant to suggest the Sox should get older—it’s only to show that there are no certainties.

When it comes to Abreu vs. Vaughn, what we should be talking about is this: who gives the Sox the best chance to win in ’23 and ’24? There’s no question that Abreu is the superior offensive player this season. It would take considerable decline and considerable improvement for their offensive performances to meet. But, even if they did over the course of the two years, which of the two has shown the ability to play every day? And which is the one consistently needing days off or hobbled by injuries? Abreu’s played 20 more games than Vaughn. That’s a lot, even considering TLR weirdness.

Grandal/Abreu isn’t a good comparison. One is a catcher. One is a first baseman. That’s an immense difference in how each should age. Plus, Abreu’s already shown sustainable changes that should help him age gracefully. It’s, of course, possible that he falls off a cliff. But that’s extremely unlikely. It’s probably as likely that MLB pitchers find a hole in Vaughn’s game.

roke1960

How would it take considerable decline and considerable improvement for their performances to meet?

Abreu 127 games, 14 HR, 60 RBI, .385/.455/.840
Vaughn 106 games, 14 HR, 61 RBI, .336/.455/.791

Vaughn has been as productive as Abreu in 21 less games. Their difference in OPS is due to the fact that Abreu has 31 more walks. Vaughn has probably played less games because he has been so misused as an outfielder. Give Vaughn a full season at 1b/DH and keep him out of the outfield, and I’m pretty sure he would be more productive than a 36-year Abreu next year.

HallofFrank

If we were in the same town, I’d love to make a steak bet about that!

Abreu: 142 wRC+, .368 wOBA, .376 xwOBA, .839 OPS

Vaughn: 125 wRC+, .344 wOBA, .325 xwOBA, .791 OPS

Vaughn hasn’t been nearly as good offensively as Abreu. He’s hit more HR (per PA). But that’s about it. Abreu’s statcast numbers (EV, maxEV, Barrel %, Hard Hit %) are also better across the board.

I grant that “considerable improvement/decline” may be a bit of an overstatement. But, as of now, there’s still a sizable gap in their offensive production.

I want to be clear, too: I like Vaughn a lot. I think he’ll be Paul Konerko-ish. But I think Sox fans are a little too confident that they can replace Abreu with Vaughn without missing a beat—and a very large beat.

roke1960

I said above, I’m torn between dealing Vaughn and keeping Abreu. I really like Jose. But for $15M and probably a 2-year deal, his production will be close to Vaughn who will be making under $1M. Getting similar production for a fraction of the cost is good business. The big problem with all this is right now Hahn will be the one either trading Vaughn or trying to use the $15M saved from Abreu wisely. The odds on him doing a good job with either of those is slim.

Last edited 28 days ago by roke1960
HallofFrank

That’s just it: there’s a financial cost in picking Abreu, but there’s an opportunity cost in picking Vaughn. In a trade, Vaughn would return a player (or players) of considerable value—more value than $15m on the open market, I’d wager. Especially if that $15m is being spent by this FO.

BillyKochFanClub

I’m not nearly as confident that Abreu outproduces Vaughn next season. Yes, Abreu has been better this season however Vaughn’s current wRC+ is 125 which matches Abreu’s wRC+ from just last season, so it wouldn’t be out of the question for Abreu to provide that same output again.

Vaughn went on the IL after getting hit with a pitch in hand. I don’t think that should be a mark against his durability.

As for the Grandal/Abreu comparison, catching does impact durability, no doubt. However, he went down the tubes at age 33. Abreu will be 36 next season. Concern that age will catch him is certainly valid at this point. I’m not saying it will, just that I prefer Vaughn going forward.

HallofFrank

I will say that it’s an uncomfortable decision either way. But replacing your most productive—and durable!—player with a less productive and less durable one seems like a bad start to 2023. Especially when the more productive player also, from all accounts, has intangible qualities (like clubhouse presence and leadership) that (in theory) help the team.

mrridgman

What would games played look like if Abreu played LF and Vaughn 1B?

Right Size Wrong Shape

I had the same thought the other day. Still bad, though.

mrridgman

Yeah there’s all this angst about Vaughn and Sheets being subpar players; my strong suspicion is that if either one of them was playing 1B regularly, they’d be less “tired”, and would have stronger offensive #s. The major problem with them is that WS are trying to claim they are outfielders, speed being the primary problem.

HallofFrank

There’s something here but I think you’re overrating it a bit. Vaughn has only played 60 games in the OF and he’s played DH more than Abreu. I suspect playing 1B every day is much more physically demanding than playing OF half the time but needing several days off.

HallofFrank

I dunno, probably not that different. But what would they look like if Abreu was 24 years old and Vaughn was 35?

Esteban

Pito plays everyday even when sick. He’s been hitting but no many XBH and RBI as in previous seasons. Francona would’ve used as 2nd in the lineup since Pito is the leader in hits in AL now. TLR has used him as 4th or 3rd, well we know well how he manages.

soxygen

I agree that Abreu has been good this year and that letting Abreu walk is the shortest route between points A and B where point B is a better overall roster in 2023.

Whether the team can bring itself to do that, or whether they’ll get lost somewhere else along the way, are totally different questions.

gibby32

I have a different take, but it may suffer somewhat from Sheets recency bias. Depending on the contract, I would sign Abreu, assuming he still wants to be here. A one-year deal at about 15M would be ideal, but they could go another year and maybe another 10-12M. I would make Vaughn available in a deal; the White Sox need each of a starting pitcher, second baseman and right fielder. I do not think that Vaughn ages well, but he is one of the few Sox players that are at a reasonably high value currently. That leaves Sheets and Abreu for 1B and DH; Colas shortly to take over right field; and hopefully, in a return for Vaughn, a starter to slot into the rotation or a real second baseman. My preference would be a starter, since it is possible that one of our minor league second basemen is real. That gets both Vaughn and Sheets out of the outfield, and improves left-handed power, particularly after Colas arrives.

roke1960

I wouldn’t be disappointed with that. Vaughn is probably our most tradeable commodity. I just am not sold on Sheets being a long-term answer at all.

BillyKochFanClub

I think Vaughn will age well, however my thoughts are in a general sense. There are players or scenarios where I would be pleased with a Vaughn or Eloy trade and an Abreu re-signing, however I think it’s more narrow path and one that’s less likely to materialize since I think there aren’t a lot of players available that would provide what I believe they will going forward. As I said, I certainly realize this take may age very poorly.

gibby32

My concerns about Vaughn aging well have to do with his speed or lack of same, and his anticipated defensive contributions. He obviously should not be in the outfield, but even at first base, he is adequate but nothing more, or so it appears. If I am right, his offensive contributions would need to be substantial.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I agree. I don’t think trading Eloy this offseason gets you any closer to being better next year. He is the one guy I have the most confidence in as far as bouncing back to put up power numbers next season.

gibby32

I told a few friends six or eight weeks ago, and maybe here, that Reinsdorf and LaRussa were going to have to concoct a health issue in order to remove LaRussa. Simply firing him, or him quitting, would be an admission of incompetence by one or both. The embarrassment that 2022 has become is too much for each of them. Reinsdorf is no doubt hearing if from his friends and business partners. LaRussa has been demonstrably awful, and he is where he is because of Reinsdorf. Not saying that that is what is happening, but it’s not impossible.

Trooper Galactus

Gavin Sheets at home is practically a no-doubt All-Star. Gavin Sheets away is basically Leury Garcia without the defense. At least he’s giving the home crowds something to cheer about.

ParisSox

The Miguel Cairo era begins.

upnorthsox

Fire Miguel!!!

As Cirensica

I’m looking forward to the no-Hahn era to begin.

To Err is Herrmann

I always wanted to follow the Dead.

chipporter

They have one think in common with the white sox, their fans are better off living with modern chemistry.

Augusto Barojas

At least Eloy looks like he has found some life. And yet, I wonder if the smartest thing to do is trade him. I just can’t picture him lasting a season, or being an adequate LF who is not a danger to himself and others.

Unfortunately whether or not he is in the field seems to really affect his hitting. .900+ OPS while in LF, .700 at DH. He surely has some trade value, now. Just seems like a bad fit for this team, much as I love watching the guy rake.

calcetinesblancos

Remember when Abreu showed up to ST buff and without the double chin? That’s what Eloy needs to do.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Ah the old September swoon started early this year

As Cirensica

We can play spoilers to the Twins or the Guardians.

chipporter

That would actually require the ability to win. I don’t think they’ll be spoiled by dugout glares alone, however, I’m sure we’ll try since that’s about the only thing in our trick bag arsenal these days.

patrick

I think what @As Cirensica meant was that we can ply spoilers to the Guardians by losing to the Twins.

chipporter

A group of overachievers, for sure.

chipporter

The first thing that jumped to mind, after hearing the circumstances of The Russa’s day and then medical issue, was a ruse to get him gone. It’s too easy.

soxygen

The sequence of events is hard to explain, that much is for sure

calcetinesblancos

With how stubborn he is, it wouldn’t shock me if this was the only way he could go.

BenwithVen

It’s weird that players were finding out from Social Media instead of Kenny or Rick, that’s for sure.

soxygen

I look, from time to time, at the injured lists. I think it says something about this team that we are 13th in MLB when it comes to days on IL and 18th when it comes to cumulative payroll on the IL.

In contrast, the Twinkies have had more IL days than any other team in MLB (about twice as many IL days as our Sox) and are 12th when it comes to cumulative salary on the IL.

Injuries have been problematic. Guys are recovering slowly, the team is slow to put guys on the IL and sometimes maybe too rushed when it comes to bringing guys back from the IL. And of course, some Sox are playing hurt with instructions to not run hard, while other guys seem to be playing hurt with no constraints.

All of that said, the Twinkies have had a lot of guys on the IL. Just the pitching side of things has been really rough for them (Maeda, Paddack, Ober, etc.). I think we’d be a ways behind the Twins if both teams were playing healthy this year.

Last edited 28 days ago by soxygen
HallofFrank

The details elude me, but I remember seeing IL stints broken down by projected value. On that list, the Sox were at (or near) the top. Cumulative days on the IL or cumulative payroll on the IL don’t tell the full story. By cumulative payroll, Joe Kelly counts as a more painful loss, for example, than Eloy or Robert. Lance Lynn would count more than anyone on the team, except Abreu.

It all comes down to Robert and Eloy, I think. They’ve been (along with Moncada) the centerpieces of the rebuild. The fact that neither can stay healthy is an absolute gut punch to this team. They somehow made it by in ’21. But if Robert and Eloy are even good-not-great versions of themselves and are reasonably healthy, this team looks entirely different. Until that happens, it’s hard to imagine this team being what we’d all hoped.

roke1960

Yes, this rebuild was absolutely dependent on those 3. They were going to be the 3 certain middle of the order bats, and at varying times have shown they are capable of that. But this year has been a complete disaster for them. Here are their cumulative stats:
.321/.407/.728 slash line
223 games, 27 HR, 126 RBI

A healthy, productive Eloy alone would probably have 27 HR. Their cumulative OPS is probably at least 100 points below where it should be, and they have played in only 58% of the possible games between the 3 of them. This rebuild was not going to be completely successful without their elite production. Couple that with a completely mismanaged and incomplete roster, and you have the dumpster fire that is the 2022 White Sox.

Augusto Barojas

Certainly Robert and/or Eloy could do better, and be healthier. But that isn’t enough, unless one is satisfied with winning the AL Central. This team has hit poorly against right handed pitching for 3 seasons. Robert and Eloy are not the answer to that, or their league worst defense.

With less injuries this team would be better, no doubt. Maybe they could have won the Central. But the face plant versus the Astros last October was no accident. I don’t care if the whole roster is healthy. You don’t beat a team like that in a 5 or 7 game series with no ability to hit right handed pitchers, no right fielder, a poor 2b, and league worst defense. And Tony. Period. They were not right up there with the Astros. They were not close, and did nothing to improve. If they were in the AL East, they would not have even been in the playoffs last year.

This team is at least two VERY good players away from being dangerous at all. Fans who pay money to see this team are patsies.

ChiSoxND12

Patsy is a strange word choice to describe us

ChiSoxND12

For the most part I think our bunch is aware that Jerry is awful and the product subpar.

roke1960

I agree with every thing you said. But the key to the rebuild taking off was those 3 providing very good to elite production. Of course they needed to supplement that with a LH power bat that could play RF. Madrigal could have been the answer at 2b, but he couldn’t stay healthy either. They got the first part of the rebuild right- getting young high end talent. But they got an F in completing the rebuild. That’s why they cannot move forward with these same clowns in charge.

HallofFrank

This is simply false. Several national pundits and projected systems put the Sox in that top tier of teams prior to the season. To act like this team never had a shot in the playoffs is wrong.

I will grant that the way this team hits vs. RHP is a major, structural weakness that could be easily exploited in the playoffs. You may be right that Robert and Eloy aren’t the answer their RHP woes. But they would sure help. Robert is still an above average offensive player vs. RHP and Eloy actually has reverse splits this year: his OPS is .882 vs. RHP.

In an alternate world in which Anderson, Robert, and Jimenez are reasonably healthy (play ~130 games) and in which Moncada, Grandal, and Giolito hit even their 30-40% outcomes, this is one of the best teams in the AL.

That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be doing more to insulate themselves against injuries to those players, and maybe those players simply aren’t capable of staying healthy. But there was absolutely enough talent on this team to win it all, if things broke reasonably their way.

Augusto Barojas

Pure fantasy and wishful thinking. Results speak louder than hope and speculation. If you really believe they are good enough to win it all with league worst defense, no right fielder, a mediocre 2b, very poor hitting vs RHP… I don’t know what to tell you. Good luck with all that. Those things were scathingly visible all of last year and in the playoffs. And with no offseason help, this year, quite predictably. Hence their ~.500 record for the past year and a half.

What pundits said who completely overlooked their defense and were not bright enough to consider that the Sox had the easiest schedule in MLB last year by a mile means nothing. Those guys are not that smart, most of us knew what this season would look like when they signed Kelly and Harrison instead of real players. They were the most over rated team in baseball.

This roster is completely inadequate because this is a terribly run organization top to bottom, as has been beaten to death by many on here. They created a decent foundation prior to 2020, presumably with the plan of adding significant and necessary pieces to fill out a championship caliber roster later, and they have done almost literally nothing since.

roke1960

Many of us mentioned the possibility of this season becoming a dumpster fire before the season started. I don’t think any of us figured it could be this bad. And the complete failure of an offseason is the big culprit.

Augusto Barojas

It all boils down to Eaton and Harrison instead of Springer and Semien, basically. They can’t make up for the past two offseasons now, too much wasted payroll. Diekman just utterly moronic addition with commitment next year as well. Even when Hahn does almost nothing, if he does ANYTHING, there is a chance it will be stupid.

roke1960

Not too many GMs make their team worse at the deadline, but Hahn found a way to do it.

BenwithVen

**AJ Preller has entered the chat**

Last edited 28 days ago by BenwithVen
roke1960

Getting Juan Soto made them worse?

BenwithVen

No, but getting Josh Hader and (arguably) Josh Bell did.

HallofFrank

I referenced national pundits and projection systems. How is that “pure fantasy and wishful thinking?” I’m not saying the FO has done a good job building this team. There are several flaws. Defense is one. Hitting RHP is another. They need to be addressed. But it’s simply false to say this team never had a shot at winning a playoff series. If they played like we all expected—even hitting 50% of their projections—they certainly would.

I think your problem here is you’re imaging that other good teams (like the Astros) are super teams. They aren’t. The Astros are starting several guys who are below, at, or near replacement level. Put another way: the Astros start several guys worse than Josh Harrison. Every team starts “mediocre” guys somewhere.

We can both agree that the results this year have been horrible. But do you agree that results aren’t always indicators of process? And do you at least agree that the performances of Giolito, Grandal, Eloy, Robert, Anderson, Moncada, and Lynn (among others) were much worse than could be reasonably expected?

Augusto Barojas

I agree some of those guys have been worse than expected. But there is a chasm of difference between having a shot at winning one playoff series as you say now (like a first round 2 of 3), and winning a World Series as you said earlier, requiring them to win several longer series against way better teams. No team in at least the past 20 years with near league worst defense has won a WS, I suspect probably a lot longer than that. Their chances with this roster were slim to none prior to this season for that reason alone. Terrible defense is a terrible disadvantage, and theirs is awful.

You criticize the Astros who are 20 games better than the Sox, and have 5 position players with higher WAR’s than any on the Sox. Five. They are better than the Sox at basically every position, several enormously. They play great defense, and have been to the ALCS the past 5 years. I mean there is no rational logic in suggesting the teams are close, or that the difference is not massive. This is like discussion with someone who hasn’t watched any baseball for the past two years. It’s pretty obvious that you will view the Sox through rose colored glasses no matter what, I’m going only by actual results.

Before this season started it was known that the Sox would have very bad D, no RF, poor 2b, weak hitting vs RHP, AND Tony. They had no realistic chance at winning a World Series, even before the season started, I’m sorry. Kooky talk. Kelly and Harrison, that was the end of their chances right there. I don’t think I’m the one who has a problem in how I view this, it correlates pretty well to reality the past 3 seasons, not how we would wish things to be if we had an owner who was not a complete douchebag, who would actually let the GM finish the damn rebuild with good players instead of the nonsense we’ve seen, and have any functioning adult under 70 who wasn’t a spiteful prick manage this team rather than the Russa.

HallofFrank

I think we’re losing the thread a bit.

What I’m talking about is a hypothetical world in which this team stays reasonably healthy and performs at a level that we expected them to—do they have enough talent to win it all? I’m not even talking “best case scenario” here. In that world, the White Sox absolutely have a team that could compete with any AL team. That’s what the projections said. That’s what national pundits said. That’s not just wishful thinking. Of course, it’d take several things to break right for them to win it all. But that’s necessary for any team that wins it all.

You keep referencing their bad defense. Their defense was never going to be a strength, sure. But it’s a lot worse because of the aforementioned injuries. When everyone is healthy, the OF is Eloy – Robert – Pollock. Thanks to injuries, we’ve seen a Vaughn – Pollock – Sheets OF. Those are…. worlds apart.

Here’s where you’ve definitely misunderstood me. I’m not criticizing the Astros. They’re the class of the AL and it’s not close. I only pointed out that they start several players that are worse than Josh Harrison. This was in response to your claim that the Sox would never win with “no RF” and a “mediocre 2B.” The point is simply: yes, they could, because teams do it all the time.

The point we can agree on is TLR. You may be right that this team could never with TLR at the helm. It’s really hard to overcome bad managing in the playoffs. But, again, all I’m talking about is whether this team had the talent, in house, to win it all on opening day. I’m saying, yes they did. And it hasn’t materialized, for several reasons. But the talent was/is here.

patrick

I think some of the issue is that the priors for this team are hard to pin down. If you’re building a projection for the 2022 White Sox in the preseason, do you count on getting 2019 or 2021 Moncada, or somewhere in between? Do you count on getting 2021 Giolito or whatever year he was the worst qualified pitcher in the AL? Do you assume Abreu is going to hit a bunch of homeruns or not? Realistically you could project Robert to be a 6 WAR player if you give him 600 ABs, but clearly that’s a world that likely doesn’t exist. Same with Eloy. All of their prior distributions are so wildly bimodal you have really no idea whats coming. Recency bias can’t even help you with guys like Grandal.

So, its not that the projections or flawed or this team doesn’t have potential on paper, it’s that certain players swing so wildly from All Stars to mediocre to even bad. Projections has Giolito being the most valuable player in baseball this year. Based on the last couple of years I agreed with it being close. But he’s now somehow closer to his 2018 and 19 days. Moncada is back to being a pumpkin offensively, but somehow for different reasons. And your “elite” guys can only play 25% of an MLB season. The team was constructed with too much varaibility and not enough certainty. Kelly was another example. In theory he’s great, but no one had any idea what they’d get coming off injury.

Hahn needed to sign a dude(s) that was projectable with some modicum of certainty. He did not.

HallofFrank

You’re overstating your case. It’s simply not true that “all of their prior distributions are so wildly bimodal you have really no idea what’s coming.” Take Giolito or Moncada, for example. Both have been varying degrees of “very good” from ’19-21, but “very good” is a constant. That’s a three year stretch of being very good. Their projections were good. But they’ve been awful.

You also must be mistaken about some of these guys’ seasons. ’19 Giolito was a 5.2 fWAR year and his best year. 2021 Moncada was a 4.0 fWAR player. I take either of those in a heartbeat.

So, for expectations coming into the season, let’s say something like: look at their ZIPS projection, look at their 3 year average, and expect roughly that—except for guys over 32, expect them to be ~10% worse. But, also, expect some jumps forward from the younger talent. Expect one major injury and several minor ones. That’s, generally, what I expected. It’s not even close to what we got.

I agree with you that there’s more uncertainty on this team, and there was coming in. But that’s almost exclusively because of injuries. And the case I’m making is that when healthy this team is talented enough to stick with anyone.

soxygen

I hear you.

The Twins lost like 1/2 of their pitching staff for really long periods of time. I don’t know how any team would recover from that. You may be right about the fWAR lost, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Teams still need to cover innings.

Also, I’m generally not that confident in the assessments of the Sox talent level. I’ve mentioned this before, but I think we need to stop thinking we have a team of good baseball players that is underachieving, or injury bitten, and start acknowledging that some of these guys aren’t as good as we thought they were. Part of that is that they spent the 2020 season playing against AAAA talent in a significant portion of their games against ALC and NLC opponents and therefore the individual statistics of a lot of Sox players that year, which are inputs into projections, are somewhat inflated.

Last edited 28 days ago by soxygen
a-t

The Twins’ issues is of their own design. They knew Maeda would be out the whole year and had the entire offseason to plan for it, but their answers to the rotation were 1) Sonny Gray and 2) Dylan Bundy, Chris Archer, and Paddack, none of whom are known for durability, and then 3) Dobnak, Ober, and Ryan, all of whom’s talent to be more than a 5th/6th starter was questionable before injury. I hated how they addressed the rotation from the outset, I’m only surprised that it’s taken till after the ASB to really suck.

jorgefabregas

I believe Baseball Prospectus has a projected WARP lost due to injury leaderboard. And from what I recall, the Twins have been at the top all season.

a-t

Of course the Twins are leading there; they were always expected to be. They knew Maeda was going to be out all of this year bc he had TJS on Sept. 1. To replace him they acquired Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer.

On the position player side, they also decided to cement in their two best players as the notoriously fragile Buxton and moderately fragile Correa, who for the previous 4 years have played in 39.3% and 71.6% of their teams’ games. Acquiring/extending injury-prone players is a different issue from a conditioning staff in evident disarray.

calcetinesblancos

I would see if they can get something for Giolito in the off-season, and if not I would non-tender him. He can go have his tantrums on some other team.

Joliet Orange Sox

As a rule of thumb, I think it is a bad idea to non-tender a player who will get a call from all 29 other teams immediately after he is non-tendered. Giolito is have a bad year but he just turned 28 in July and finished 6th in Cy Young voting in 2019, 7th in Cy Young voting in 2020, and 11th in Cy Young voting in 2021.

I think non-tendering Giolito is a very hot take.

calcetinesblancos

I’m fine with whatever as long as he isn’t on the team next year.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Funny how when guys show emotion they are having “tantrums”, and when they don’t they are “disinterested”.

a-t

Overreacting just for the sake of overreacting. This isn’t even an interesting hot take, let’s spice it up

Last edited 28 days ago by a-t
Esteban

Perhaps I’m wrong, but TLR suddenly sick means for me cat closed. May be he won’t be back. The best way for JR to take him away without recognizing his big mistake with this designation. So the story is TLR sick and JR’s ego is safe. This team goes nowhere if Cairo’s going to be the sustitute.
I’d like to acknowledge the quality of Margalus’ articles as well as comments in this forum. Everyday I’m entering in Sox machine, and no comment from me cause you said all clear. Many thanks to all

Esteban

I see condensed games of Guardians among others. This team plays hot baseball, hit and run well the bases. They understand that every game matters. This attitude is absent in WSox, lack of enthusiasm.

soxygen

I think folks are really overestimating the depth of the trade market for Andrew Vaughn.

There aren’t that many teams that want to trade for a guy who will start making real money soon and who aren’t planning to compete. And the Sox aren’t going to be looking for someone who needs a couple of years of seasoning, they will want someone who can step in right now. So what is the universe of teams that, say, plan to compete in the next 4 years, have an excess of outfielders or starting pitching, and want to acquire a right handed 1B/DH?

Sure, we could do a 3-way trade or multiple moves (trade Vaughn for prospects, trade prospects for veterans), but the number of additional complications there means that the chances of success are lower.

Last edited 28 days ago by soxygen
a-t

Houston is the most obvious fit. Gurriel looks cooked and is a FA. They have an excess of pretty good starters, and Vaughn’s RH great hit/merely good pop combo plays very nicely with the Crawford Boxes in Houston’s LF, it’s much like Bregman’s profile. They could stick with Mancini for next year, but Vaughn is younger and clearly a superior talent.

San Diego and Milwaukee are other fits as far as contenders with need go. SDP has a power outage, are close to the lux tax, and Bell will be a FA. Some combo of Ha-Seong Kim and prospects for AV might be a good value play.

MIL’s need isn’t as bad this year based on performance, but Hiura’s 137 wRC+ with a .370 BABIP and 42% (!) K rate is practically begging for regression, and Rowdy Tellez certainly isn’t blocking anyone of AV’s talent. They manufacture starting pitching and middle infielders.

All that said, I would rather keep AV and see if a Burger & Sheets combo would be of interest to the first two. They’re lesser hitting talents than AV, but they’re cheaper and there’s two of em instead of one.

soxygen

So, who would Houston be willing to give up that would improve the White Sox next year?

You may be right that Houston and San Diego are options. Maybe also Miami? But my point was simply that there aren’t many teams that fall into that bucket.

Last edited 28 days ago by soxygen
a-t

Urquidy or Luis Garcia would be the main guy coming back, probably. Maybe a more involved deal could involve Cristian Javier? They have more credible starters than rotation spots, in any case, with Verlander, McCullers, Valdez, Javier, Garcia, and Urquidy, plus their current top prospect Hunter Brown in AAA and whatever the current version of the mercurial Forrest Whitley looks like now.

There aren’t a ton of teams in that bucket, it’s true, but there only needs to be one team in it to make a deal. The Sox are in no way forced to trade any of the younger 1B/DH guys.

soxygen

While technically true that there only needs to be one team to make a deal, it is a lot harder when both sides have all the negotiating power (and zero negotiating power).

Last edited 27 days ago by soxygen