The Guide To The 2015 Tigers: Considering The White Sox

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

This might seem contradictory, but I think the White Sox had a great offseason but they still won’t be that good. I loved pretty much every move they made, but they had such a vacant lineup that it still probably wasn’t enough to make them a playoff team. Obviously, they’re good enough that contention is within reach if fate smiles upon them, but on balance the team is short of a meaningful run.

The White Sox have Jose Abreu lined up to mash, and he’s cheap. They got Melky Cabrera at a good price. They extended Adam Eaton, whom I like in theory but hate when he’s playing the Tigers. Adam LaRoche should be a nice fit and Alexei Ramirez isn’t special, but he’s a totally viable major league shortstop.

That’s a nice contingent of players, but they’re surrounded by a rough group. At catcher, second base, third base, and right field, they project to be a pretty awful team. Maybe Flowers breaks out or Avi Garcia finds some discipline, but that’s potentially four trouble spots in the starting lineup alone before you think about injuries or depth needs.

So, yes, they made some sharp moves, but there was just too much work for a single offseason.

On the pitching side, they have Chris Sale, who is a very real candidate for “best pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw,” but he’s also been slowed by a foot injury that might cost him a little time. Jeff Samardzija and Jose Quintana are a great 2-3 punch but the rotation depth behind them is an issue. Danks, Johnson, Noesi, and Brad Penny are going to vie for time and there’s nothing there to get you excited. Of course, Carlos Rodon is coming at some point and that could really minimize the rotation issues if he hits his stride early. Teaming him with Sale and Quintana long term is going to be fun, but he might not be polished enough to save the day this year.

In the pen, they added David Roberston and Zach Duke which will serve as a nice back end punch, but there’s no one else out there who is a really good bet to deliver. Of course, relievers can pop up, but you don’t have a lot of positive history to lean on.

In general, it’s a team moving in the right direction and they will probably be a serious contend in the 2016-2018 window. It’s just a little too early for them to get you for an entire season. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be pesky given the starting pitching they can offer 3/5th of the time or the bats they can call on at the top of the order.

  • Hitter to Watch: Jose Abreu
  • Pitcher to Watch: Chris Sale
  • NED Projected Record: 79-83, 4th in the AL Central
  • Big Moment: Carlos Rodon strikes out 14 in his third MLB start.
  • Piece of Data: -57 DRS, -39.1 UZR in 2014, only a hair better than the Tigers

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