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Jerry Reinsdorf, surrounded by all of the White Sox fans who adore him. Every single one.
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WAR, WAR, what is it good for?

What team but the White Sox could be so Seinfeldian?

This is the time when articles are expected to be about proposed deadline trades, but the day of reckoning is now so close that it’s possible one’s brilliant plan to trade Rick Hahn and Ken Williams to the Angels for Shohei Ohtani has already come to fruition, so it’s best to move on to other things.

“I’m disappointed. This is on me. It’s simple.”

Thus spake White Sox manager Pedro Gridol, earlier this week. It was what a manager of any collapsing enterprise is pretty much required to say, unless, of course, he’s a Hall-of-Famer Baseball Person.

Still, it is a break from the Three Stooges who run the operation. Rick Hahn did acknowledge some responsibility for the horrible start in April, apparently forgetting that he had previously said that if he thought he was part of the problem he’d resign. Either that, or the resignation letter got lost in the mail room, which is entirely possible if the mail room’s as ineptly run as the rest of the organization.

Nonetheless, much as all we fans would like to blame Larry, Curly and Moe, as well as Grifol and the coaches, for the horror story that is the Chicago White Sox, it does come down to the players to do things like throw and catch and hit and run (thinking would be a step too far), even if poorly trained and prepared to do any of that.

Which brings us to the verge of WAR, bWAR in this case (everything herein is from Baseball-Reference, for continuity and ease of handling).

WE ALL KNOW THE BIG PICTURE

But, just as a reminder, on the batting side the White Sox are 22nd in MLB in runs per game, despite a more or less average batting average, thanks to being tied for last in walks and thus 29th in OBP and 27th in OPS. We shall avoid getting into plate discipline, which could make even a slow-pitch softball coach cry.

On the pitching side, the Sox are fifth-worst in runs allowed despite striking out more opponents than any team but the Twins, in large part because they walk more batters than any team except Oakland. They’ve also given up more homers than any team but the A’s, but there’s bound to be some excuse for that.

As for fielding, once again thank goodness for Oakland, the only team worse in defensive runs saved. No other team is even close to the bottom. Just to be different, in rTot, which is a zone coverage stat like UZR, the one team below the Sox is the Cardinals.

OKAY, ALRIGHT ALREADY, LET’S GET THE HELL AWAY FROM THE BIG PICTURE BEFORE I’M ILL

Good idea. But perhaps not as much of a help as you might hope.

B-R has a handy table, where it lists every team’s bWAR by position. That way, it includes everyone who played that spot, all rolled into one so as not to name names and out the guilty. It breaks the lists down to all pitching, starting pitching, relief pitching, all position players, and then each lineup spot, plus overall outfield and pinch hitters.

Get ready to weep.

Base Ball Scene 1864
Last time Larry, Curly and Moe really took responsibility for anything
Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images

FIRST THE GOOD NEWS!!!!

There’s actually a position where the White Sox are No. 1! And it’s not even close!

Yeah, yeah, you already know that’s center field, but we need to get in there anyway.

And there’s another one where the Sox are better than average! Starting pitching ranks a very solid eighth! And that even brings pitching overall up to a nearly average 16th, what with relief pitching being 25th!

OK, SO MUCH FOR JOY

So as not to end this in the absolute gutter, let us now venture to the bottom and work our way up to merely bad. Hint: Non-pitchers as a group come in 29th (give another cheer for Oakland!).

Second base Dead last. But you already guessed that. Even Zach Remillard’s 20 games there haven’t helped the keystone out of the mire, in part because Remillard’s fielding is way behind his hitting so far.

Shortstop Dead last. Tim Anderson’s two weeks or so of being good hasn’t made up for his earlier awfulness, or that of the guys who filled in. Plus there’s his defense, which was last good, or at least adequate, in 2018.

Right field 29th. Bet you were surprised it’s that high, even though Oscar Colás has given it the old college try lately. Here’s a twist, though — last place doesn’t go to Oakland, but to Kansas City.

Pinch-hitting 28th. ’Nuff said.

Catching 28th. Surprised? Maybe a little, since Yasmani Grandal can hit a little? Yeah, but he can’t field at all any more. And Seby Zavala can catch OK, but as for hitting? Fuggedaboutit. (Which is why the Sox really need to get a good catching prospect right now, and what ho, late Wednesday Edgar Quero was delivered to the White Sox.)

First base 22nd. Why does Hahn say Andrew Vaughn is untouchable? As horrible as José Abreu’s April and May were, he hit better than Vaughn in June and waaaaay better in July. And Vaughn tends to get worse as a season wears on.

Designated hitter 20th. Another spot where the primary participant was deemed unavailable for trade. Of course.

Left field 19th. Something of a negative surprise, since Andrew Benintendi has 1.0 WAR on his own. Shows how terrible the subs in the 11 games he didn’t start in left have been.

Which brings us up to overall outfield, at 16th. Tells you how awful everyone else is when a group that includes Luis Robert Jr. comes in below average.

ENOUGH OF THAT! BACK TO TRADE DEADLINE DREAMS!

And hoping Hahn doesn’t sleep his way through the rest of it.


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