Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chicago White Sox Off Season Recap and Storylines Heading into 2014

First off, I just want to say it is great to be back on here after a long long break. It has been far too long since I have been on here talking about baseball.

The Chicago White Sox fan knew that the  2014 campaign started back in July with the trades of Matt Thornton (Boston Red Sox), Jake Peavy (Boston Red Sox), Jesse Crain (Tampa Bay Rays) and August trade of Alex Rios (Texas Rangers).  Acquired in the those trades were future star Avisail Garcia and Leury Garcia along with most importantly, a whole lot of money off the books.  This gave the White Sox a little bit of flexibility heading into the 2014 off season.  These trades were just the beginning for new general manager Rick Hahn.  Hahn was also making noise in July on international signing day by plucking 16 year old Dominican outfielder Micker Zapata (Ranked #2 on international prospect list) for $1.6 million.  While Zapata will not be seen for quite sometime (if at all) it showed that the White Sox were finally back into the international market after being nonexistent for years. 
Not soon after the completion of the 2013 season Hahn was quick at work in the international market again nabbing Cuban sensation Jose Abreu to a six year deal on October 29.  This signing was perfect for the White Sox as they transition from an older ball club to a young new fresh looking bunch in 2014.  Abreu is 26 years old and in the prime of his career.  With the rampant success of Cuban players recently, Sox fans can only hope that Abreu can make an impact similar to what his Cuban counterparts Yoenis Cespedes (Oakland Athletics) and Yasiel Puig (Los Angeles Dodgers) have made on their respective teams.  Hahn still wasn't done revamping the roster as he made a couple of moves with the Arizona Diamondbacks.  He first traded starting pitcher Hector Santiago for outfielder and ultimate grinder Adam Eaton.  Hahn then quickly traded closer Addison Reed for third basemen and one of the top Diamondback prospects, Matt Davidson. 

As pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training in a few weeks I will give you ten story lines to follow through Spring Training and the season:

1. Is Jose Abreu ready to be the every day first basemen and is he ready to compete at the Major League level?

2. Is Gordon Beckham going to put together a full offensive season after getting married and avoiding arbitration this off season?

3. Is Jose Quintana really a number 2 starter and will he be able to put together another good year for the White Sox?

4. Will Adam Dunn stop sucking, or will Paul Konerko or Dayan Viciedo step in as the every day DH?

5. Will Rick Hahn be able to trade Alejandro De Aza before the start of the season? If not, how does the outfield pan out? Viciedo, Garcia, Eaton and De Aza all fighting for starting spots.

6. Who closes and does it really matter on a team this bad? 

7. Is Josh Phegley really the starting catcher?

8. Can the young starters hold up the back end of the rotation?

9. Was the extension of Robin Ventura's contract a smart move by Hahn and Reinsdorf?

10. What is going to happen at third base for the White Sox will Connor Gillespie step into the role, is Jeff Keppinger still breathing, will Matt Davidson step to the front, is Marcus Semien is viable option?

Check back in throughout the next few months to get my opinion on these topics and more.