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MLB Chicago White Sox

5 Reasons Chicago White Sox Fans Should Be Thankful Heading into 2014

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5 Reasons Chicago White Sox Fans Should Be Thankful Heading into 2014

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason is in full swing for the Chicago White Sox. The 2013 season was simply not a good one for the team on the south side of Chicago. The campaign came off of the heels of a September collapse to fall out of the division lead and out of a playoff spot at the end of the 2012 season as well. But as the winter meetings are on the horizon, there are a few reasons for White Sox fans to be thankful going into the 2014 season.

In 2014 the Chicago White Sox will likely not be a postseason favorite, but there is room for improvement. Just within their division, the Detroit Tigers still have stock piles of All-Star talent and are still the class of the division. Also, the Kansas City Royals are much improved, and the Cleveland Indians made a surprising run to the Wild Card in 2013. Both of the those teams will look to build on those successes leaving an uphill climb ahead for Chicago.

Like every other team in the league, Chicago will need to make difficult roster decisions before opening up camp next season. The futures of veterans like Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, and John Danks remain uncertain.

Last year prior to the trade deadline, the White Sox had one of the weakest farm systems in all of baseball with only one player ranked in the Top 100 prospects. The club looked to be stuck in neutral before making a key three-team deal at the deadline. Vice President Kenny Williams has never been afraid to make a move to try and help his ballclub. He and general manager Rick Hahn have already made a splash in offseason signings.

Here are five reasons for fans to be thankful heading into 2014.

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5. 2013 Season is Over

Chicago White Sox 2014
Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

One reason for fans to be thankful is that the 2013 season is in fact finally over. With a 63-99 record and a last place finish in the division there were not many bright spots in Chicago.

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4. Avisail Garcia was Acquired Via Trade Last Year

Chicago White Sox 2014
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Then there is outfielder Avisail Garcia. The White Sox received "Mini Miggy" from the Detroit Tigers in the three team deal that sent Jake Peavy from the White Sox to the Boston Red Sox. Garcia has had big league experience both with the Tigers in 2012 and at the end of the season last year with the White Sox. As his nickname notes, he is often compared to star Miguel Cabrera at the plate which is quite a compliment. Having Garcia for a full season should help an offense score more runs.

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3. A Change at First Base Could Be in the Works

Chicago White Sox 2014
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

A welcomed bat in the lineup will be the newly signed first baseman Jose Abreu. Abreu is a young slugging hitter from Cuba who the White Sox signed in somewhat of a surprise move to a six-year, $68 million deal. It is the biggest deal in franchise history in terms of total money and will provide a much-needed jolt for the franchise and organization.

Abreu appeared in the World Baseball Classic for Team Cuba hitting .360 with three home runs and nine RBI in six games. With his bat projected in the Opening Day lineup, he and Garcia could make a formidable 1-2 punch for the order.

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2. Robin Ventura is Proving Himself

Chicago White Sox 2014
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

White Sox fans can also be thankful for manager Robin Ventura. Ventura will be entering his third season at the helm and on the surface appears to be a real players manager. When hired prior to 2012 it looked like he was dealt a really bad hand, but he did have the team in contention in September. With another year of experience and two young hitters, results could be looking up for the skipper.

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1. A Busy Winter Ahead

Chicago White Sox 2014
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, fans can be thankful that the front office does not appear to be sitting back and waiting for tee times. Early on in 2013 the team showed signs of aging, and it was apparent that moves needed to be made. At the trade deadline last year, a few moves were made to clean house and get some much needed young talent. They went out to get Abreu as well for some power. Another free agent signing or two could be in the works this offseason.