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Know Your Enemy: Chicago White Sox

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The White Sox will look different this year.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — For the last several seasons, since their last playoff year in 2008, the White Sox have tried, sort of, to compete every year. They signed Adam Dunn, which was good more for entertainment than winning. Jake Peavy’s return from injury helped get them into marginal contention in 2012, but the next year they lost 99 games. Last year signing Todd Frazier was supposed to be the key to contention, but even though Frazier hit 40 home runs, his .225 BA weighed down his year.

This year, the Sox have decided to go “all in” on a rebuild. Or, mostly in. They traded away their best pitcher, Chris Sale, and outfielder Adam Eaton, and got some useful prospects, including Lucas Giolito and Yoan Moncada, who are supposed to lead the next generation of White Sox to the postseason.

Neither Giolito nor Moncada is a proven commodity, though they both have talent. This could be a rough year for the White Sox, with (they hope) better things to come in 2018 and beyond. Giolito already has a claim to fame: his mother, Lindsay Frost, is an actress who’s been in a number of movies and TV series, and his uncle, Mark Frost, is the creator of “Twin Peaks.”

They appear to have the right manager for that. Rick Renteria did a fine job with young players with the Cubs, and only was fired because the right guy to take the Cubs to the next step, Joe Maddon, suddenly became available. Renteria has a good reputation for working with kids, and he’ll surely do the same on the South Side. I doubt, however, that he will be the manager of the next White Sox postseason team.

Charlie Tilson, a Chicago-area native, will take over in center field. If he can stay on the field, that is. He was acquired from the Cardinals for Zach Duke last summer, and suffered a hamstring injury in the very first game he played for the Sox:

Then he suffered a foot injury in spring training, about two weeks ago, and hasn’t played since.

With Eaton gone, Avisail Garcia returns to right field. The Sox keep hoping he’s going to hit, but that hasn’t happened yet.

To replace Sale in the rotation, the Sox signed former Ranger Derek Holland. Holland was good when the Rangers were in back-to-back World Series in 2010 and 2011, but hasn’t quite been the same since he suffered a knee injury in 2014 that he blamed on his dog. (The dog is named Wrigley, incidentally.) He also did a TV weather appearance in Dallas when he was with the Rangers:

So he’ll give the Sox some entertainment value, at least.

The Sox do have two very good players, first baseman Jose Abreu and shortstop Tim Anderson. Anderson is, I think, on the verge of becoming a perennial All-Star.

David Robertson returns to close again, unless the Sox trade him, which has been a persistent rumor all winter. Robertson had seven blown saves last year, including this spectacular one on July 18 in Seattle where he allowed four runs with two out in the ninth.

The Cubs and White Sox will play a four-game series in July, the first two games afternoon affairs at Wrigley (July 24-25), the second two night games on the South Side at whatever they’re calling that park this year.