5 Chicago White Sox Storylines to Follow During Spring Training
5 White Sox Storylines Going Into Spring Training
The Chicago White Sox had a tumultuous season in 2013. After an offseason that saw a good majority of their team leave through free agency, coach Robin Ventura was there to try to pick up the pieces.
It did not end up working out. The White Sox ended up in last place in the AL Central. Somehow, with the eighth-highest payroll in baseball, they can't seem to put a winning team on the field. The many terrible contracts that were given to players like Adam Dunn and John Danks has held back their entire operation.
This season was even more disappointing when you look at what they did the season prior, as they surprisingly led the division for much of the year. They won 85 games in 2012 and 63 the following year. The dropoff they saw was pathetic.
Now, we are in a brand new year. The expectations are back to being low, so that could help this young team. There are a ton of storylines for all 30 teams, and the White Sox are no different. There are question marks up and down the roster and no position on the team is safe. Even someone who has been with the team since 1999 with 434 career homes runs is not guaranteed a starting spot in this lineup. This team is going younger, and that brings up questions. Those questions will not be answered until they play their first game on March 31. These are the five top storylines for the White Sox going into 2014 Spring Training.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to the site's MLB, NBA and NFL content. You can follow him on Twitter here.
5. Who Will Be The Closer?
Addison Reed was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in an offseason move that brought top prospect Matt Davidson to the Sox. While that is a great move for the future, it does nothing for their bullpen situation now. There are various reports as to who the closer will be. Some people say that Nate Jones and his 99 mph fastball has already locked up the position. Others say that Matt Lindstrom and Daniel Webb still have a shot. Either way, it's a decision that will probably take all of Spring Training to be made.
4. Paul Konerko's Last Season
Paul Konerko has been the face of the franchise for 15 years now. His big power numbers and likability really helped him to be the face of the franchise. Now, he has to accept a smaller role for the first time since he was a full-time starter. He is letting the coach try out some younger players while having a chance to end his career with the team where he spent most of it. This is the swansong for one of the most underrated players in the game.
3. The Rotation Behind Chris Sale
After Chris Sale, the White Sox rotation doesn't look pretty. Danks made over $3 million for every win. Jose Quintana was a nice surprise last season, but god only knows if he can duplicate that. Beyond that, it is anybody's guess. Felipe Paulino could fight for a spot. Hector Santiago could also get a chance. That is, of course, if they don't decide to move any of their big names anyway.
2. Will Adam Dunn Turn It Around?
Adam Dunn is looking like one of the worst signings in the history of baseball. This may sound harsh, but just ask White Sox fans what they think of it. His four-year, $56 million deal is currently in its final year. Maybe with free agency coming up, Dunn could go back to posting great OBP numbers. He found his home run stroke after one of the worst years ever in the first season of the contract, so that's a relief. Who knows, maybe he will retire like he talked about prior to the season. It is hard to believe since he is only 34-years old and only 60 home runs away from 500.
1. Can They Compete?
Can Ventura get these young guns going like they did two years ago, or will it be another disastrous season on the South Side? This kind of question can't be figured out just in Spring Training, but it would be much easier to venture a guess. The Sox have a good foundation for the future, but the lack of attendance numbers shows that their city wants a winner now. It will be interesting to see how the team will go about competing this season with such an inexperienced lineup and pitching staff.