2017-01-15T06:00:01-06:00The 2010s have been tough for White Sox baseball thus far. How do their troubles stack up against those of other franchises? In the first ten years of this millenium (2000-2009), the White Sox had a decade that I can firmly call “good”. In that time span, here’s where they stood on the franchise wins leaderboard: 1. NYY: 965 2. BOS: 920 ..... 9. CHW: 857 .... 30. KCR: 672 In addition to their standing in overall wins, they were consistently competitive, finishing at or above .500 in eight of ten seasons. They made it to the ALDS three times, which was a shade above the average of 2.86. And finally, they took home the championship hardware in 2005 with a World Series win. Some might say that’s enough to elevate the decade to “great”. I won’t quite go that far since eight different teams at least accomplished that feat, but hey, people waited a really long time for that. Of American League teams, I think the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels had an objectively better decade than the White Sox. All three of those teams won at least one World Series, made more than three postseasons, and won more overall games than the White Sox (from the National League, only the Cardinals meet this criteria). Aside from those three, though, what other AL team would you take over our White Sox in that span? The only team that’s even close is the Twins, who made the playoffs in half the years but were never really able to do much with that. The Twins’ defeat of the Moneyball A’s in the 2002 ALDS was their only series win in all those chances. Possibly my favorite sports talk radio caller ever summed up Minnesota’s postseason difficulties by declaring, “The Twins are a waste of everyone’s time.” Indeed, we had it pretty good. It’s important to look back and appreciate that. Unfortunately, as difficult as it is to think of teams who did better than the White Sox last decade, it’s just as tough to find organizations that have had it worse in this one. Here’s the bottom ten teams by wins: 21. MIL: 553 22. CHC: 546 23. CHW: 542 24. ARI: 533 25: SDP: 532 26: SEA: 523 27: MIA: 510 28: COL: 503 29: MIN: 501 30: HOU: 478 So far, the Cubs, Astros, Diamondbacks, Twins (waste), and Brewers have been to the postseason this decade, with the former two standing a great chance to get back there again next year. That leaves only the White Sox, Marlins, Rockies, Padres, and Mariners as teams that have failed to make the postseason since 2010. By sheer wins, the White Sox have had a slight leg up over the other four playoff-less teams and have put together a couple competitive seasons (2010, 2012). The Mariners have also been competitive twice (2014, 2016) but played some pretty unwatchable baseball at the beginning of the decade, finishing last in the American League in runs for three consecutive years. The Padres won 90 games in 2010, but the lack of a second Wild Card doomed them and they’ve since been the sadder White Sox. The Marlins and Rockies have just one above-.500 season between them and Miami’s 79-win campaign in 2016 was the closest either has been to a Wild Card. I think it’s fair to say that these two fan bases have had the roughest go this decade. Things may change in the coming years, though. Sure, the Padres are probably going nowhere fast and I can’t see the Marlins shaking their mediocrity anytime soon, but the Mariners look to at least be competitive in the near-term and given the strength of the Rockies’ core, they figure to make some noise over the remainder of the decade. Meanwhile, the White Sox are embarking on a full teardown. While the purposeful losing will probably sting less than the accidental kind, the team is likely looking to 2019 as the only realistic shot left to salvage the decade. That’s tough to accept given that they’ve pushed for contention six of the past seven years. In that sense, the new direction should at least be refreshing. The White Sox have had the Reinsdorf-Williams-Hahn brain trust at the top of the organization chart almost since the turn of the ce[...]
Plus: Updates on some hitters at the White Sox mini-camp not named Yoan Moncada
On the major-league site of the roster, all arbitration-eligible White Sox are under contract for 2017. After Jake Petricka and Dan Jennings agreed to terms on Thursday, Todd Frazier, Miguel Gonzalez and Zach Putnam joined them on Friday, preserving for at least one more year Keith Foulke’s legacy as the last White Sox to have an arbitration hearing.
The specific figures aren’t so important these days, but here’s how the salaries compared to their MLB Trade Rumors projections:
I had a feeling that Gonzalez was going to blow up his estimates. He was supposed to earn $5.1 million with Baltimore before the Orioles cut him at the end of spring training, and he threw 135 effective innings with the White Sox. I didn’t necessarily think he would receive the raise that he did, but I expected it to be in the ballpark of the salary he expected in 2016.
And yet the individual discrepancies balanced each other out. The estimated total still came within about $150,000 of the actual, so the projections remain useful as ever, at least in the aggregate.
While Yoan Moncada received the bulk of the attention at the White Sox’ mini-camp for young hitters this week, there is evidence that he had company.
Take Zack Collins, for instance. When the White Sox drafted him with the 10th overall pick, the larger draft analyst community figured Collins wouldn’t be long for catching duties. The White Sox have maintained that they have no such plans to move him, and White Sox catching instructor John Orton went a step further after his first impression:
"I thought his hands work good, and he blocked the ball pretty well. He doesn't look stiff back there," said Orton, speaking about Collins during this week's hitters' minicamp at Camelback Ranch. "So right away I was pleasantly surprised."
“Everyone talked about his bat, which is his strength. But I think he's going to be a very good catcher. I see no reason why he shouldn't be an above-average Major League catcher someday."
The White Sox provided video evidence of Collins’ receiving, if you’re a show-me kind of person: