Chicago White Sox
2015 Finish: (76-86)
Fangraphs Projection: 81-81 2nd place
Last season, the Chicago White Sox were a trendy pick to overtake defending AL Champion Kansas City Royals and AL Central division winner Detroit Tigers. Despite adding pitcher Jeff Samardzija, LF Melky Cabrera, and DH Adam LaRoche, the 2015 White Sox wallowed despite ace Chris Sale and cleanup hitter Jose Abreu.
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Undeterred, team president Kenny Williams again loaded up this offseason in hopes of competing for the division crown. If nothing else, the White Sox lineup should boast considerable more pop with the additions of Todd Frazier (35 HR) and Brett Lawrie (16 HR).
However, the White Sox will need to overcome a player rebellion caused by Kenny Williams banning Adam LaRoche’s tween son from the clubhouse. LaRoche had negotiated permission for his son to hang around the Sox clubhouse on a daily basis when he signed his free-agent deal last year, but Williams considered him a distraction. Williams reneged on his promise, and demanded that LaRoche’s son spend less time with the players.
LaRoche promptly retired with $13 million left on his contract, which won’t really hurt the team because he looked like an albatross after his bat collapsed last season. In fact, LaRoche’s departure allowed the team to sign OF Austin Jackson. Yet, the White Sox players liked Luke LaRoche and enraged that Williams broke his promise.
In the end, Kenny Williams has to hope the controversy was worth it.
Closer: David Robertson
- RF Adam Eaton
- SS Jimmy Rollins
- 1B Jose Abreu
- 3B Todd Frazier
- LF Melky Cabrera
- DH Avasail Garcia
- 2B Brett Lawrie
- C Dioner Navarro
- CF Austin Jackson
Aside from the potential team chemistry issues, the White Sox will need bounce backs from veteran free-agents like Mat Latos, Austin Jackson, and Jimmy Rollins to contend in 2016. Todd Frazier will have to show his second half slide was a mirage, while the lineup can score enough runs to overcome what figures to be a poor defensive team.
While the White Sox could be dangerous, they simply don’t have team unity and overall cohesive fit to truly threaten the Kansas City Royals in 2016.
Next: Detroit Tigers?