Usually, the MLB teams who spend the most money on hitting in the offseason get all the hype once Spring Training begins. Take a look at the American League Central for example. The Cleveland Indians pitching was excruciatingly bad last year. Finishing second to worst in team ERA in 2012, the Tribe, somewhat surprisingly, did absolutely nothing this offseason to improve their rotation or bullpen. Instead, they overpaid for both Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn. Although Swisher and Bourn will help enhance a below average Indians offense that finished 22nd in runs scored a year ago, unless they both plan on pitching 150 innings and winning 15 plus games, the Tribe will once again finish near the bottom of AL Central in 2013.
Despite still having one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball, the Indians are now being talked about as playoff hopefuls.
Then you have a team like the Chicago White Sox. Making no real blockbuster moves this winter, the White Sox are projected by most to place 4th or 5th in their division.
However, the White Sox had a lot less of a mountain to climb than teams like the Indians to reach the postseason this year. And rather than overpay for decent, but not stellar bats in free agency, the Sox invested most of their cash in pitching.
The South Siders began spending their wealth on pitching a few years back. In December of 2011, the Sox extended lefty John Danks’ contact with a five-year, $65 million deal. Then, in the fall of last year, the White Sox re-signed veteran starter Jake Peavy to a two-year, $29 million extension. Fast-forward to the present, where the Sox just recently reached a five-year, $32.5 million deal with their young hurler, Chris Sale.
It’s beginning to become obvious what the White Sox front office’s main priority is. While acquiring big bats may create offseason headlines, the Sox understand the best way to ensure a postseason bound squad, is to load up on dominant arms.
I believe this trend will continue on the South Side. With pitchers like Jose Quintana, Addison Reed, Hector Santiago, and Nate Jones emerging as top-of-the-line hurlers, the White Sox will eventually pay them as such.
If you’re a Sox fan, the majority of the organization’s money being spent on pitching is a positive sign. Although it may mean from time to time the front office will pass up the opportunity to re-sign a fan favorite, like they did with A.J. Pierzynski, the Sox are building a staff that has an extremely bright future.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I’m perfectly fine with teams like the Indians getting all the offseason praise, as long as the White Sox are the ones being glorified come October, when it truly matters.
Matt Malecha is a Chicago White Sox writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattMalecha.