Offseason In Review: Chicago White Sox

The White Sox invested in John Danks, but said goodbye to Ozzie Guillen, Sergio Santos, Carlos Quentin, and Mark Buehrle.

Major League Signings

International Signings

Notable Minor League Signings

Extensions

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

White Sox GM Kenny Williams has always marched to the beat of a different drum, and this offseason was no exception.  While Williams met expectations by sitting out free agency and trading some veterans, he also authored a surprising extension and bucked industry consensus in the nuances of his trades.

In September, Williams pulled off a rare type of trade, sending allowing manager Ozzie Guillen to join the Marlins for Marinez and Martinez.  Marinez and Martinez profile as a setup man and utility infielder, but it's still a win to get potential big leaguers for a manager who had seemingly already checked out.  I see the appeal of replacing Guillen with Ventura, who might be Guillen's polar opposite but also a fan favorite.  Someone like Davey Martinez might have been a more practical choice, however.

Sergio Santos seemed like a building block for the White Sox, even if they were mostly punting on the 2012 season.  Santos was extended to a team-friendly deal in September, but traded to the Blue Jays in December with no advance warning.  The hard-throwing 28-year-old closer was not known to be available.  In the trade, Williams placed his bet on a lone prospect, 23-year-old starter Nestor Molina.  Despite dominant numbers at High-A and in a short Double-A stint last year, Molina is seen by prospect experts as a back-of-the-rotation type.  It's unlikely the White Sox agree with that assessment.  They certainly had inside knowledge on Molina, having hired former Blue Jays director of Latin American operations Marco Paddy prior to the trade.  Paddy later convinced Williams to spend $250K on 17-year-old Venezuelan Luis Martinez, a big step for a team typically reluctant to spend internationally outside of Cuba. 

It was in response to a question, but Williams took the leap and agreed the Santos trade was "the start of a rebuilding."  The GM qualified that by saying it wasn't a "falling domino rebuilding," because the offers for his starting pitching were lacking.  Williams backed up his words by extending Danks about three weeks later.  Coming off his worst season in quite a while, Danks didn't give much of a discount on the eve of his contract year.  The White Sox made a sizeable five-year commitment, including four free agent seasons at $14.25MM apiece.  Just 27 in April, Danks represented a better investment to the White Sox than longtime ace Buehrle, who had recently signed a four-year, $58MM free agent deal with Ozzie Guillen's Miami Marlins.  

Danks' 2011 season was all over the map, with a reduced strikeout rate against left-handed hitters, an awful May, and strong work from June through August sandwiching a month missed from an oblique strain.  In three seasons prior, he'd posted a 3.61 ERA over 608 1/3 innings.  Danks' extension includes a full no-trade clause only for 2012, so Williams retains flexibility for a future trade.  Danks' rotation-mate Gavin Floyd seems more likely to be dealt in the near future, as a solid mid-rotation starter who can be controlled through 2013.  If the Sox aren't contending but Floyd has a decent first half, he'll be one of the better starters available. 

Quentin, on the other hand, was not extended heading into his contract year.  The 29-year-old right fielder was dealt to San Diego for pitching prospects Castro and Hernandez.  Castro, the headliner, has decent upside even after a lost 2011 season.  Still, no one considers him among the best 100 prospects in the game.  Unlike the Santos trade, I think the White Sox were just taking the best they could find for Quentin rather than bucking industry consensus in their prospect evaluations.  Quentin is good for only 120 games per season, his defense is average at best, and his OBP is respectable by virtue of getting hit by a pitch 20 times a year.  He's not the type of difference-maker for which a team can extract top prospects.

Frasor was an unnecessary bullpen luxury for the Sox even with Santos gone, so Williams shipped him back to the Blue Jays for a couple of prospects.  The deal justified Chicago's earlier decision to exercise Frasor's club option.

Ventura will provide a fresh outlook for the White Sox, especially since he has no prior coaching experience.  His hire signals a youth movement, and the White Sox need results from Dayan Viciedo, Brent Morel, Gordon Beckham, and Chris Sale.  However,  the team's 2012 chances still hinge on disappointing well-paid players such as Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, and Jake Peavy.


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47 Comments on "Offseason In Review: Chicago White Sox"


eck78
3 years 4 months ago

I know a lot of so-called experts are down on the Sox touting 95 losses, but I cannot see that happening in that division. I’m not seeing the Twins or the Royals having better seasons and the addition of Prince/subtraction of V-Mart seems to me to be a wash. Detroit’s pitching isnt all that and that D is horrendous. Do I think the Sox will win the division? I’m not sure, but I do think they will compete.

rockfordone
3 years 4 months ago

You are correct. Sox had and return the 2nd best infield defense in AL. Pitching is o.k. Keys are the same (Peavy, Dunn, and Rios). Look for big years out of Morel, Hummber, and Sale. Reed is a stud.
The division is wide open. Detroit’s starting pitching isn’t that great after their stud. D is bad. Leyland will change lineup fast. 
Other three teams not in race. 
Your comment about the so-called experts is correct. They are clueless. In 2005 Sox picked for fourth and remember the Cards from last year. East coast writers for SI. Angels and Rangers best two teams in AL not NY and Boston. It kills them.

101andCounting
3 years 4 months ago

Detroit’s starting pitching isn’t that great after their stud
Have to disagree. Verlander, Scherzer, Fister, Porcello, Oliver/Turner/Smyly is better than any rotation in the AL Central by a mile. Probably in the top five AL rotations as well.

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

you cant say anything about oliver/turner/ smyly because they have yet to be in the bigs they are prospects so they do not count towards the current rotation. Scherzer is good but not great, porcello and fister pitched out of their minds last year look for regression to their norms. They are good pitcher but not great. The tigers have a good rotation, but not great. Top 5 in the AL is easy becuase out of the Rangers, Angles, Yankees, Healthy Bosox there isnt much there.

As for the best in the Central by a mile thats a stretch..if Peavy is healthy and danks does not have another bad year the sox 1-5 have a very good rotaiton..YES I KNOW THATS ASSUMING A LOT BUT STILL…

lolpods
3 years 4 months ago

saying it’s better by a mile is pure exaggeration. the sox rotation was one of the best in the league last year, and could be better this year if sale is as good as he looks right now.

inleylandwetrust
3 years 4 months ago

“the addition of Prince/subtraction of V-Mart seems to me to be a wash”

Lol

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

its not a wash at all..but its not an extreme upgrade. I think me and you have actually agreed on this before. this signing was reactionary this year yes but if they can get V-mart, Miggy and prince in the line up full time eat year its going to be a crazy line up…Its only a slight up grade for this season…

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

they will not win the division. The only way they do it is if Sale pitches as a starter as he did as a reliever..ie a beast. If Danks FINALLY takes the next step. Dunn rebounds(by the look of him he is healthy, in better shape and seeing balls well), Gordon finally remember how to it. And either Rios hits again or Lilibridge continues to play out of his mind(this spring) and is inserted into the every day line up…

Yes the whitesox are returning one of the best defensive infields and Flowers will get more time behind the plate, he is a defensive up grade over  AJ. De Aza seems to be a good defensive centerfielder, and Rios is an upgrade over Quentin, Vicedio should be a wash that was Pierre.

Defensively the sox have the tigers beat even without miggy at 3rd..

bullpen is close to a wash. I dont think anyone in their right mind thinks Valverde will come close to what he did last year.

the rotation assuming the sox are 100% healthy are close. Obviously the sox cant come close to verlander but 2-5 the sox match up pretty well AGAIN IF HEALTHY

Offensively even if the sox get good to great or even average years from dunn, rios and beckham the tigers obviously have that.

Will the tigers win the division? more than likely

will the sox by a 95 loss team doubtful. They were close to a .500 team last year with career low years from beckham, pierre, alexi, dunn, and rios, plus not having a legit pitching staff untill half way through the season

citizen
3 years 4 months ago

the white sox have no closer. they traded theirs for a low level prospect.
Even if their starters were to go deep, there is no one set to close games, thus some loses there. Guien did leave the starters in too long in his sox career so it would be interesting to see how ventura plays out. intangibles show more loses with ventura having no managerial or even coaching experience. facing teams like the rangers, ventura and the sox will be no match, like when ventura charged the mound against nolan ryan, stopped, then got pummeled.

Joey Doughnuts
3 years 4 months ago

Sox have a closer, his name is Addison Reed.

3 years 4 months ago

Thornton, Crain, Reed, Santiago, you’re right, no closer. I guess Konerko is gonna have to take the mound in the 9th.

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

Addison reed a top 100 prospect is more than likely going to close. Also there is thornton who might get a better shot this season(ozzie miss used him last year and he was crazy unlucky) Crain was awesome last season and might close and there is a dark horse in Hector santiago. He has a plus fast ball a good change up and his out pitch is a screw ball

LeylandsLung
3 years 4 months ago

you homers have drunk the kool-aid. As far as Detroit goes, Fielder for VM is not a wash, Cabrera’s numbers will improve. Pitching after JV very solid including the BP. Defense is average, not “horrendous”. Detroit will win the Division by Aug. 15. 
Sox = 88 loses.

klassic
3 years 4 months ago

Sox could finish .500 and still lose the division by 10 games.  Sox = Bad, Detroit = Very Good.  Going to be a long season being a Sox fan.

3 years 4 months ago

Defense is average, not “horrendous”.Talk about homerism.

eck78
3 years 4 months ago

Yes, your pitching is solid with 3 guys each with ERAs of 4.43, 4.75 and 5.30. Your defense is brutal. Just look at your corners.  You gain more pop with Fielder, but V-Mart is a better average hitter. He also was a switch hitter. How are Cabrera’s numbers going to improve? He has been producing consistent numbers the last 5 years.

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 4 months ago

Max Scherzer had a 3.70 xFIP and 2.7 fWAR. Doug Fister had a 3.16 xFIP and 5.6 fWAR. By no means am I defending LeylandsLung, but pointing out their deficiencies while ignoring the bright spots is very narrow-minded.

lug
3 years 4 months ago

No look over here at SIERA not over there at ERA :)  We need to enhance the metrics and throw a few more vowels on there for it to matter on the field.  Some people are just to traditional I guess :)

eck78
3 years 4 months ago

You’re probably right. IMO the whole sabermetrics thing is a overrated. The great Billy Beane hasnt won anything. Theo uses it, but do we need to go over his free agent signings?

CHendershott
3 years 4 months ago

Not that I expect the Sox to win the Division, but with Cabrera and Fielder at the corners and the fact that Brandon Inge is even being considered to play second base is a testment to the fact the Detriot has the worst defensive infield in the division.

There is a steep dropoff after Verlander, but only because Verlander was the best pitcher in MLB last season. Tigers are good, but not perfect. Definitely don’t stack against the Rangers. I’d put them even with the Angels (Angels don’t have any real guaranteed offensive threats after Pujols), although the Angels starting pitching is way better even when you consider Verlander. They could be better than Yanks or BoSox, but the Yankees’ starting staff could end up being better than Detroit’s as well.

Bottom line is the Tigers need to be better than they were last season to go further in the playoffs. I personally agree that Fielder inplace of Martinez is a wash. You lose a significantly higher batting average and a threat from both sides of the plate for more home runs and maybe a bit of fear factor.

I will say this though. If both the Tigers and White Sox performed to the max of their potential, White Sox could definitely win the division. They are already better defensively. With a .260/35+ HR season from Adam Dunn, 15+ win seasons from Peavy and Danks, Konerko being his usual self and all-around better production from Rios and Beckham, that would be more than enough to match if not beat the Tigers.

The problem with the White Sox is just that. The team’s entire hope for success is riddled with “Ifs”.

inleylandwetrust
3 years 4 months ago

“and the fact that Brandon Inge is even being considered to play second base is a testment to the fact the Detriot has the worst defensive infield in the division.”

Inge would play an above average 2nd base defensively, it’s his offense that is putrid.

“There is a steep dropoff after Verlander”

No there isn’t.

“Definitely don’t stack against the Rangers.”

They may not be better, but they absolutely can stack with the Rangers.

“I personally agree that Fielder inplace of Martinez is a wash. You lose a significantly higher batting average and a threat from both sides of the plate for more home runs and maybe a bit of fear factor”

You are 100% wrong on this, and it isn’t a matter of my opinion vs yours. Every statistic says otherwise.

“I will say this though. If both the Tigers and White Sox performed to the max of their potential, White Sox could definitely win the division.”

If both teams played to their MAX potential, Detroit would destroy the division worse than last season.

eck78
3 years 4 months ago

Every statistic huh? I guess a career .280 hitter in the NL is better than a .303 hitter in the AL.

The Tigers already saw their season flash before their eyes or should I saw Miguel’s eyes when he caught the ball with his face. If it wasnt for his sunglasses, his season and possibly his career could of been over. How many shots do 3rd basemen see in a year?

There is no proof that Inge would play an above average 2nd. How does he turn the DP? Its not an easy transition by any means.

Rotation is not steep drop off? Stats prove otherwise, no?

inleylandwetrust
3 years 4 months ago

So you would take a .300 batting average and a .370 OBP over a .280 batting average and .400+ OBP each of the past 3 seasons? Your alone in that boat. Why don’t you check wOBA and wRC+ so you can further prove my point? Saying Prince and Vmart are equal hitters is nothing short of laughable.

Verlander: 2.99 SIERA
Fister: 3.67 SIERA
Scherzer: 3.63 SIERA
Porcello: 4.14 SIERA

Rotation is in good shape to me. Stats prove it, no?

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

youre taking a steep drop off as a crazy thing..the fact is there is a steep drop off.. Verlander was crazy good, MVP CY, fister or scherzer are nothing more than 2’s or 3’s on most other rotations, if it were halladay, cain, lince, haren, weaver, CC, there is no steep drop off but it is steep…its not an insult its still a good rotation but thats a big drop off

inleylandwetrust
3 years 4 months ago

I took it as him saying the rotation isn’t good

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

if he truly thinks that he knows nothing about baseball the fact is they have a good rotation, which shows flashes of being great at times but tends to be above average. I’m speaking 2-5 obviously nothiing is average about Verlander

CHendershott
3 years 4 months ago

Thank you for clarifying JW.

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

there is a pretty steep drop off after Verlander. But than again Verlander on any rotation with exception of the yankees, phillies, Giants, Dodgers, and the angles there is a steep drop off. and please how do they stack up well with the ranger?

1st base Prince Vs. Moreland. Moreland when healthy is one of the most under rated 1st basemen but clearly prince takes it

2nd base Santiago/inge vs. kinsler  No contest Rangers win

SS Peralta v Andrus…In my opinion peralta wont repeat and andrus is better all around

3rd. Miggy v Beltre  offensively miggy wins defensively beltre wins…close to a total wash but miggy wins

LF- Dirks v Hamilton…clear win for the rangers

CF Jackson v Burbon..Jackson wins

RF Bosch V Cruz wash

C Avila V napoli  Nap wins

DH Young V young..michael wins

Rotation ACE tigers win 2-5 rangers win but Yu could be crazy good

Bullpen is close to  a wash but the rangers depth takes it…

over all tigers get 4 out of the 12 rangers get 7 of the 12 with a wash in right field  

inleylandwetrust
3 years 4 months ago

Detroit was 6-3 vs Texas during the regular season, and took it to 6 games while being injury riddled. I didn’t say they are better, I said they certainly can matchup with them.

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

I would take the Angels over the tigers. And for those that are going to point out that I’m a whitesox fan, I’m doing this as a baseball fan. The angles top to bottom 1-25 are a more complete team than the tigers. there are maybe 3 teams that can match up pitching with the Angles. The entire lineup just got a ton better by adding the best hitter in a generation in Albert. Also people forget that the Angels got chris Ianetta, he may not hit for average but he gets on base at a .370 clip and hits for power..trumbo actually seems half way decent at 3rd(along the same lines defensively as Miggy) even Wells still has some pop to his bat. And Kendrys is healthy and seems to be back in form. Also look for their Outfield to get even better about mid way through the season when they either DFA wells or trade BobbyA and call up trout…

As for the yankees rotation right now I would take it over the tigers. Pineda will be back soon and should pitch even better with some offense and defense behind him. CC and Verlander are pretty close to a wash. And i think the Pettit signing is a great one. Their bullpen is also better than the tigers.

the fact is that if everyone is healthy for the entire season, and I mean every player on every team, and plays to potential. The tigers are the 4th maybe 5th best team in the AL..

CHendershott
3 years 4 months ago

Believe me, I definitely do not undervalue adding one of the best hitters to ever play the game to your lineup. That said, the Angels are riddled with ‘ifs’ after Albert. They’re expecting a monster return from Morales in his first year off the DL, Trout and Trumbo to fully live up to potential straight off the bat, and their outfield to all of a sudden not be old and bad. Subtract 7 years off Wells and Hunter and the Angels would be hands down best team in AL.

With all that said, they DID add Albert Pujols, which provides protection for other people who have the potential to be major offensive threats (Morales, Trumbo, et al), and they have an absolute monster of a rotation. I’m a fan of what the Rays have going on, but the difference with the Halos is they have a 1-4 of PROVEN guys, all with Ace qualities.

The pieces are all there for that team, but after Albert and the rotation it’s a lot of ‘ifs’, like I said. And they are facing a Rangers team that has been denied it’s first WS Championship two years in a row and is out for blood. Going to be a close and exciting race in the LA West for sure.

You know it’s bad when White Sox fans are talking about the Angels and Rangers in the comments section of an article about the White Sox.

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

not to be that guy but i doubt cabbs numbers can get better…will they get worse not even close but they will more than likely stay the same which is still something every single team would want and make room for.

defense is below average at best

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 4 months ago

@LeylandsLung

Cabrera’s numbers will improve.

I believe you said it best here:

you homers have drunk the kool-aid

There’s almost no way his offense will improve from the tier it’s at to bother noting it, and his defense will undoubtedly tank at 3B.

Reply Scores

Disqus: 1, Indestructible: 0.

inleylandwetrust
3 years 4 months ago

Seriously? People in here actually believe that replacing Vmart with Prince is a wash? What is wrong with you people? I’l just have to do your homework for you

2011

Vmart: 12 Home runs, .380 OBP, .850 OPS, .368 wOBA, 130 wRC+
Prince: 38 Home runs, .415 OBP, .981 OPS, .408 wOBA, 162 wRC+

Prince’s wOBA was 5th IN ALL OF BASEBALL last season. His wRC+ was 5th IN ALL OF BASEBALL last season. Which is AHEAD of guys like Votto and Gonzalez, and only behind Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp, and Jose Bautista.Vmart’s wOBA? 34th. His wRC+? 33rd, among the likes of Michael Young and Ian Kinsler.

Victor Martinez was great for the Tigers last season, but he isn’t Prince Fielder. Not even close. The only thing Vmart does better offensively is hit for singles. Sure his batting average was 30 points higher, but even with that deficit Prince still managed a 35 point higher OBP which is way more valuable. (his OBP was good for 4th in MLB). 

The White Sox won’t be as bad as last season, but they aren’t even in the same class as the Tigers.

eck78
3 years 4 months ago

Do you want to look at Dunn’s numbers over the years throwing out last year?

inleylandwetrust
3 years 4 months ago

Adam Dunn has eclipsed a .400 wOBA one time in 10 seasons throwing out last year. Prince has topped that 3 times in 6 seasons. Dunn’s highest wRC+? 142. Prince has topped that 3 times as well. Dunn was a very good hitter, but no Prince Fielder. Your point of that was….?

lug
3 years 4 months ago

Seems your point is to gaurantee success with Fielder.  Captain obvious says you cannot gaurantee it no matter what metrics you throw at it.  Changing leagues is tough.  Also outside of Verlander the rotation is pretty pedestrian and nobody looks at the bullpen and shakes their knees.  Great D though ha ha yeah right.  Also the loss of VMart = ouch.  You have agreat punch in the middle no one can contest it but they start rolling the ball out there in a few days I think you may find yourself a little let down considering your lofty stats.  I guess though all you need is two big bats and your set, right?  Wrong Boston would disagree and they have even more offense.  You would have to agree this may get ugly quick.

CHendershott
3 years 4 months ago

I really don’t see how adding one (albeit great) hitter all of a sudden puts the Tigers in a whole other world than they were in last season. The rotation is pretty much the same, they didn’t upgrade any positions on the field and while Prince is great to have they still have the worst defensive infield in the division (at least). They are deservedly the favorites to win the division and more than likely will, but Tigers fans need to come down from the clouds. They are not better than the Angels, Rangers, or Yankees.

cachhubguy
3 years 4 months ago

The White Sox will come in second place and will not make the playoffs. Better than last year but where do you go from there? 

RiosFan
3 years 4 months ago

I dont know but i see fielder the same direction dunn went last year, just expect sox to compete it will no be a piece of cake for the tigers

inleylandwetrust
3 years 4 months ago

Hmm so you expect the 5th best hitter in MLB last season to copy arguably the worst offensive season OF ALL TIME? Ok then.

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

I actually like the santos trade. The sox had 2 guys already in place in thronton and crain that can close plus with Reed and Santiago coming in to their own that makes 4 guys who can close that makes him expendable. Plus a starter is always more valuable than a closer

Fishing Bill
3 years 4 months ago

The White Sox are still a solid team and should have a SHOT at a .500 season if their moving parts and vets have solid years. I know they lost a GREAT starter, but I think they’ll still be competitive. Especially in a BAD division.

redsx968
3 years 4 months ago

How do you remember your username?

3 years 4 months ago

Still not a meaningful evaluation.

3 years 4 months ago

No need to get testy. Just saying a team will lose 80-90 games, means nothing. A whole division can fit in between 80-90 loses.

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

dunns year had more to do with him being hurt and rushed back than switching leagues…before his surgery he was on his way to having a solid year