KEY ADDITIONS: Lance Lynn, Adam Eaton, Liam Hendriks, Tony La Russa
KEY SUBTRACTIONS: Alex Colome, James McCann, Edwin Encarnacion, Gio Gonzalez, Nomar Mazara
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is on the record:
Tim Anderson: "I got to be a little bit more careful with my words. ... We have a chance to be the best team in the AL."@DannyParkins: "Tim, don't become a politician on me. ... Just say what you feel."— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) February 26, 2021
Anderson: "(Bleep) it, we're the best team in the American League."
Well, you know, he might be right. The Sox are laden with right-handed power (Jose Abreu, Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Anderson) and they have young players about to break through (Nick Madrigal, Andrew Vaughn).
They lost their closer (Alex Colome) to free agency but signed another one (Liam Hendriks) who might be better.
Their rotation looks pretty deep, deep enough that they were willing to give Carlos Rodon another shot (I kind of wish the Cubs had taken a chance on Rodon).
The Sox absolutely pounded Cubs pitching last year, 35 runs in six games, including 16 (!) home runs. That’s an .869 slugging percentage allowed, something the Cubs will absolutely have to figure out how to fix when they play the Sox later this year.
The biggest storyline surrounding this team is Tony La Russa, back to managing at age 76 for the first time in a decade. I won’t belabor his DUI case as that’s been done to death; the bigger story is whether a man can manage a team on which not one player was even born when La Russa last managed the White Sox in 1986. A recent example of a manager even older than that having success is Jack McKeon, but McKeon was clearly seen as an interim guy. The Sox are putting quite a bit more faith in La Russa.
As Mike Bojanowski said to me when the Sox hired Ozzie Guillen to manage, “This is either the dumbest thing they’ve ever done, or the smartest.” Well, the Guillen hire one worked, as he managed them to a World Series win. La Russa has three WS titles to his credit. Only five managers (Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, Connie Mack, Walter Alston and Joe Torre) have more.
La Russa needs 36 wins to pass John McGraw into second place all-time among managers (behind Mack). He’ll get there long before the Cubs have the first of their six scheduled games against the White Sox:
August 6-7-8 at Wrigley Field
August 27-28-29 at Guaranteed Rate Field