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Terrerobytes: More about the White Sox's fateful dinner

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Plus: A look at Cuba on the verge of change, the strike zone's downward expansion, and updates on old friends

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If the PECOTA projections bummed you out (and they shouldn't), Albert Chen at Sports Illustrated has the antidote with a look into the White Sox's productive offseason.

The anecdote at the center of it -- the dinner in San Diego during which Rick Hahn finalized the Jeff Samardzija trade and David Robertson signing -- had already been detailed by Chuck Garfien, but Chen's account offers a little more of Jerry Reinsdorf's perspective:

Rewind to a few days after the conclusion of the 2014 season. It had been a dreadful year for the White Sox, who finished fourth in the division with a 73-89 mark and saw their home attendance drop for an eighth straight year. A small group that included Hahn, owner Jerry Reinsdorf, executive vice president Kenny Williams and assistant GM Buddy Bell hunkered down in a room for a series of extended meetings to assess where the organization was, and where it was headed. There was no way around it: The White Sox had more holes to fill than a Chicago highway construction crew. "I’m a little disappointed," Reinsdorf, the 78-year-old owner who is never one to mince words, said to the others at the summit, referring to how far his team appeared to be from contending. Reinsdorf had another message: I don’t want to hear about a rebuild. Do what you need to do to make this team a contender in 2015.

Also, here's Hahn going back to the Jay-Z well:

Before anyone could hail the waiter for the Veuve Clicquot, Reinsdorf said, "But what about the other guy?"

Jokes Hahn, "I don’t know how much Jay-Z he listens to, but Jerry certainly understands the concept of ‘Onto the Next [One].’"

Terrerobytes

Jorge Arangure Jr. opened a promising series on Cuba, starting with an overview of the country and how some locals get cable.

As for right now, Cuba is a nation in transition, redefining its identity while clinging to a sense of self; a vacation island bombarded with free-spending tourists while its citizens can barely afford to live; a place racing toward an uncertain future in an old beat-up car in the middle of the night without a clue as to what will happen when it gets there.

Before Rob Manfred tries creating new rules to "inject offense" into the game, Ben Lindberg suggests that umpires should first stop the strike zone's downward expansion.

But that’s not where the current strike zone’s impact ends. A larger zone means more areas the hitter has to defend and fewer he can ignore, as well as fewer opportunities to feast on a pitch he can easily anticipate. The pitcher, meanwhile, has more leeway to explore the space, disrupting the batter’s timing by changing locations and eye levels with lower risk of throwing a ball. Although the hole that puts the hitter in is difficult to quantify, it’s not a negligible factor.

The zone’s recent plunge compounds the problem for the batter. It’s not just that there are so many more pitches he has to be prepared to fight off; it’s that they’re all so low, and thus difficult to drive.

The White Sox have three players on MLB.com's top 100 prospects list: Carlos Rodon (No. 14), Tim Anderson (No. 76), and Frank Montas (No. 91).

Neal Cotts found a home with the Milwaukee Brewers on a one-year, $5 million deal, while Ronald Belisario still can't close.

A tough month for Chicago sports legends and a tough year for the Blackhawks continues. This time, it's Stan Mikita facing "serious health issues" after being diagnosed with "suspected Lewy body dementia."