The Chicago White Sox have slumped a bit recently, dropping six of their last 10 to fall into fourth place in the AL Central, a half game behind Detroit.
But this division is incredibly tight and the ChiSox’s recent moves suggest this team is definitely in go-for-it mode for 2016.
Bear in mind that the Pale Hose got off to a 23-10 start and at one point had a 10-game bulge in the division. That’s gone now, but hasn’t stopped the club from making a series of changes that lead us to believe it’s taking a win or go home approach.
In early May, the first sign was the release of struggling veteran southpaw John Danks (who was being burned in effigy by his fans as you can see in the video below), who was replaced by Erik Johnson. But Johnson would be a short-term replacement for the rotation, getting farmed out just three weeks later and the packaged up in a trade that was the team’s biggest move yet — the acquisition of James Shields from San Diego.
Shields sure hasn’t worked out yet (in fact, with a 16.71 ERA through his first two starts, he’s been even worse than Danks and Mat Latos), but he’ll get plenty of rope given his salary and track record.
Last week, Chicago continued to trim the fat, DFAing both Latos (replaced by Miguel Gonzalez) and shortstop Jimmy Rollins — a move which signalled the beginning of the Tim Anderson era (which we discussed on the weekend), a youngster that seemed to have sparked the team (5-for-10 with four runs in his last two games alone) and could really help turn things around.
Further, the team has signed Justin Morneau to beef up the1B/DH slot… once his elbow has healed enough to allow him play, that is.
Given owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s stated goal of winning now, it’s clear the Sox are not done. Rumours suggest they are after another left-handed power bat (Jay Bruce keeps getting mentioned), and could probably use even more pitching help given how much the bullpen has been overworked lately.
But really, if this team doesn’t start winning again soon, it will all be moot.
In fact, Manager Robin Ventura is coming under a ton of fire right now and could soon be shown the door if all these moves don’t start translating into the kind of success this team had over the first six weeks of the season.
As an aside, is this the end of the line for Rollins? If so, that was one hell of a fine career: 16 season, nearly 1,500 runs, almost 2,500 hits, over 500 doubles, over 225 homers, over 925 RBI, nearly 475 steals with a career slashline of .264/.324/.418. Rollins made three All-Star teams, won the 2007 NL MVP award and accumulated four Gold Gloves and one Silver Slugger. He’s no Hall of Famer, but should make a bit of noise once he makes his way on to the ballot.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below what other moves you think the White Sox will make and if it will wind up leading them to the playoffs this fall.
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