With the White Sox loss to the Yankees, and then the Houston Astros winning yesterday, the Chicago White Sox have officially been eliminated from the post-season. This isn't a surprise or shocking in anyway to anyone here, it is merely official.
Sitting at 73-82, the Sox need to win out to be a .500 team. That's fairly unlikely. It's a losing record for us.
As this season winds down, we get to see the Condor Chris Sale attempt to set a franchise record for strike outs with his last start this week. That's about the final thing we can be optimistic about for this final home stand of the season, although the play-offs should be a hoot.
The Blue Jays have my rooting interest, what with Mark Buehrle bolstered by the best offense this league has seen in quite some time. No matter what you like about baseball, the team from Toronto pretty much has it. They have arguably the best pitcher in the league in David Price, they have a knuckleballer in R.A. Dickey, they have a modern day murderers row in their line up- Troy Tulowitzki, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, even Josh Donaldson, who also brings stellar defense to the table if that's your bag. Even if you like a lovable joker on the bench, the Blue Jays have that in Munenori Kawasaki. Pretty much if you are a fan of baseball, Toronto has something for you.
Opposing these challengers in the American League we have the reigning AL Champs and classic heel, those jerks that won the Central Division, the Kansas City Royals. Cocky after two seasons of success despite two decades of irrelevance prior. These play-offs have a bad guy or two. Everyone's favorite evil empire the New York Yankees should be in there, if only for a game. Their opponent has yet to be determined in the wild card game.
Texas has swooped in and stolen the AL West leaving the Houston Astros and LA Angels scrapping for that last wild card spot with the Twins still hanging in there clinging to hope. I still think the Angels get in.
Across town, the Cubs have found themselves in a one game playoff themselves, another club we love to hate along with the Yanks. Right now they line up with Pittsburgh on the road, although I wouldn't be shocked to see the Pirates take the division away from St. Louis at the buzzer and a Cubs vs. Cards game with the winner advancing to Championship Series.
If you like pitching, there is going to be some good stuff for your viewing pleasure over in the National League playoffs. The Mets young staff is something else. Matt Harvey, Jake DeGrom, Steven Matz, all filthy. They are so stacked they will be able to use Bartolo Colon as a pinch hitter. Out west the Dodgers have not one but two Cy Young candidates in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke. The three teams from the NL Central are going to have to bring their bats if they want to make it to the World Series.
I'm hoping for Mets vs Blue Jays for a little Oooribe vs Buehrle action.
So the play-offs should be some must see TV, at least for me, but what do we as White Sox fans have to look forward to in 2016?
The good parts about the White Sox in 2015 should still be very good in 2016, and they are all coming back.
Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon, Erik Johnson, John Danks- the rotation is more or less set. It's a damn good one, too, moving on.
The bullpen should be solid if not spectacular going forward. Robertson is damn expensive, but he should still be effective. Same could be said for Zach Duke. Several of the other pieces are going to arbitration and should all be affordable- Nate Jones, Dan Jennings, Zac Putnam. The White Sox should be ok there.
Adam Eaton, Melky Cabrera, Jose Abreu will all be back, and all should stay fairly useful at the very least and potential All-Stars at the other end of the spectrum. Melky is expensive for what he is, but his big bucks should be the least of our worries, because the bad bits of 2015 were terrible, and those holes are large and plentiful.
Alexei Ramirez has a one million dollar buy out or a ten million dollar club option. Defensively Alexei has fallen off the cliff the over the past two seasons. The eye test says he was bad this year. Mental hiccups were plentiful, and the range just isn't there any more. This is a massive problem because third base was a black hole all season as well. Second base is less than ideal with Carlos Sanchez over there, but at least he can pick it. His problem is he just can't hit. My guess is the Sox keep #10 around for the 10 million, and we have to suffer through diminishing returns while we wait for Tim Anderson to emerge.
Tyler Flowers should be back after an arbitration hearing. His pitch framing is all the rage but this guy can't hit. Matt Weiters is an interesting FA, but the field there is weak.
Another player who disappointed but I expect back via arbitration is Avisail Garcia. Avi! What happened man?! I had such high hopes. Is Trayce Thompson the answer out there? Man, I hope so. I'm not really banking on it though.
A player coming back with no redeeming qualities whatsoever and making that John Danks money is Adam LaRoche. Negative 1.2 WAR according to fangraphs, tied with Avi for worst on the team. Impressive feat for a guy who primarily just hits. The White Sox are stuck with another season of this guy, who will be 36 for the '16 season. Dead cat bounce is all we can hope for really.
Third base has been a problem for the White Sox ever since Joe Crede messed up his back. The free agent pool doesn't look all that exciting either(Bring back Juan Uribe!). I have no idea how the Sox fill this void and I don't have a lot of hope that Mike Olt is the solution.
I don't know. The White Sox have a lot of work to do as DJ would say. In the booth too, for that matter but that's a thought for another day.