The first few weeks of the offseason haven't been satsifying, edifying or most other kinds of "-fying" for White Sox fans. The biggest addition has been Scott Hairston on a minor-league contract, the front office is being purposefully vague, and the only decision -- declining Alexei Ramirez's option -- offers no hint about just how Rick Someone plans to go about this whole thing.
On Nov. 20, that's more our problem than theirs. But in the absence of news, those watching have bided their time by reestablishing the plot -- "the White Sox might spend, might trade, might rebuild, but they have to do something, unless they don't?"
So the fact that Dan Hayes found something more specific marks progress:
They haven’t moved on from Avisail Garcia, but the White Sox have let teams know the outfielder can be acquired in the right deal.
With several positions of need, not many big league assets to trade and a replacement lined up, the White Sox have entertained offers for the young right fielder this month, according to major league sources.
At the same time, it's not an earth-mover either, at least for those who talk about it every day. This isn't like the Jose Fernandez rumors coming out of Miami, or whatever Scott Van Slyke's dad is trying to accomplish with Yasiel Puig and the Dodgers. This concerns the White Sox trying to figure out ways to improve a position occupied by an underwhelming player who is physically impressive but is losing a fight to fatal flaws, which is what they should be doing.
In the end, it's not a strong enough story to resist whatever filter you want to place on it. It's another indication the White Sox have ambition at positions where they could have easily settled ... or they're merely trying to fire up a market that will never develop. I'd like to think the White Sox see an outfield solution in free agency and are trying to shape trades to solve problems elsewhere. To that end, this story feeds my vision, and that'll have to do for now.
Meanwhile, in more tangible news, Chris Sale had already added a fourth-place Cy Young finish to go along with his sixth-, fifth- and third-place finishes in his other three years as a starter. It's not often that it's a step in the wrong direction to be considered the league's fourth-best pitcher, but he's raised the bar on himself.
But while Sale might've lost ground in his hunt for hardware, he accomplished something new in another race by picking up his first-ever MVP vote.
In the race that was won by Josh Donaldson, the Condor picked up a single seventh-place nod courtesy of Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register. In the process, he beat Jose Abreu by a single point (he picked up one eighth-place vote).
Taking the narrow view, down-ballot finishes in the MVP or Cy Young races are largely irrelevant. Hell, Jim Johnson finished 14th in MVP voting in 2012, while Sale's one vote was good for only 17th in the results.
But if you're interested in contextualizing players in the bigger picture, the second- to 20th-place finishes can make for convenient shorthand. Now when you go to Sale's Baseball-Reference.com page, you'll see this at the far right: of his stats:
That's what a peak looks like, and it's staggering to think that Sale might not even be done improving.