- The Chicago White Sox are midway through their second consecutive season of underperformance across the roster.
- As the trade deadline approaches, the team is expected to be a major seller on the market.
Very occasionally, the Chicago White Sox give fans a brief glimpse of what could have been.
Whether it’s a combined no-hitter through seven innings against the Philadelphia Phillies, five runs posted in a single inning against the Los Angeles Angels, or Luis Robert Jr. launching eight homers just in May, the White Sox love to give a good teaser of what a great team looks like. Unfortunately for fans, a teaser tends to be all it is.
When the White Sox won the AL Central in 2021 with the best record in the league (93-69), expectations were set. Even when they were eliminated by the Houston Astros in the AL Division Series of the playoffs, fans were ready for the next season’s comeback, and the team’s front office was only too happy to encourage the hype. 2022 would be the year of the White Sox, and World Series contention was inevitable.
Well, in case you missed it, 2022 was very much not the year of the White Sox, and the idea of World Series contention quickly became the punchline of every Chicago-related joke.
Then-manager Tony La Russa took the large majority of the heat for the team’s struggles in 2022, and considering he intentionally walked an opposing batter on a 1-2 count twice and allegedly fell asleep in the dugout, it was probably well deserved. Still, La Russa retired at the end of 2022, and the White Sox are struggling even more this season — so what’s the excuse now?
Tony La Russa has intentionally walked another batter on a 1-2 count
The White Sox were already down 5-2 pic.twitter.com/BHnLONyJ3B
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) August 20, 2022
As of June 2, the White Sox are fourth in the AL Central with a rather abysmal record of 23-35. The injured list has become a rotating door for many key players, half the team is proving they’d struggle to hit water if they fell out of a boat, and new-manager Pedro Grifol appears to be one questionable fastball thrown directly over the plate away from bursting into tears.
So is the much-hyped contention window still even remotely open for the White Sox?
Chicago White Sox: World Series Odds
As of June 1, the White Sox have extremely long World Series odds of +20000. During their initial losing streak at the start of the season, their odds moved all the way to +100000, but their slight improvement has seen the numbers change accordingly.
Chicago White Sox: Trade Deadline Predictions
To be blunt, it’s time for a fire sale, and I think the White Sox know it.
From Tim Anderson to Lucas Giolito to the guy who sews the uniforms — if they can get something decent in return, the White Sox need to sell and rebuild from scratch. Protecting a core unit of players who aren’t performing is a waste of time and money, and I expect Chicago to be a major seller at the trade deadline in August.
Unfortunately, the severe level of underperformance across the roster means a lot of players are unlikely to net too much of a return on the market. Unless a team is prepared to take a serious risk on player redevelopment in the hopes of finding a former glory we haven’t seen in a hot minute, I can’t see Michael Kopech or Yasmani Grandal pulling the high-profile numbers they arguably once would have.
Still, the White Sox are stuck in a rut, and a rebuild is the only way out of it. With Jerry Reinsdorf as owner, fans will never see big money being spent to acquire top players, so trading for prospects or young players with potential is really the only option left, even though an aggressive trade strategy has historically never been the team’s style.
The contention window fans were told to believe in has come and gone, and while fans and experts can argue for hours about why that is, it’s time for the team to move forward. I suspect the White Sox roster will look very different after the trade deadline, and even if some fan favorites are moved, I think it’s the only way out of this seemingly never-ending slump.
As for seeing Chicago in the World Series? Maybe 2024 will be the year of the White Sox.
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