Acquisitions: Adam Dunn, Jesse Crain, Will Ohman, Kyle Cofield
Notable losses: Bobby Jenks, J.J. Putz, Freddy Garcia, Scott Linebrink, Manny Ramirez, Andruw Jones, Mark Kotsay, Randy Williams, Carlos Torres, Erick Threets
1.Juan Pierre LF
2. Gordon Beckham 2B
3. Adam Dunn DH
4. Paul Konerko 1B
5. Alex Rios CF
6. Carlos Quentin RF
7. A.J. Pierzynski C
8. Alexei Ramirez SS
9. Brent Morel 3B
LH Mark Buehrle
RH Gavin Floyd
LH John Danks
RH Edwin Jackson
RH Lucas Harrell /RH Jake Peavy
CL LH Matt Thornton
The White Sox lost to the Athletics Monday night in a matter of minutes after having led the entire game. The culprit, as was the case in their one loss against the Rays last week, was shoddy defense and a shaky closer.
In a nutshell, those are the two areas the Sox failed to improve on par with the rest of the team in the offseason. And granted the ChiSox did improve, but after a week or so it’s become clear those two areas may need to be addressed sooner than later.
The blockbuster move was the signing of Adam Dunn to a 4-year, $56MM deal to provide additional power to a line-up that, when healthy, always sits atop the offensive stat categories in the league. Dunn also becomes a solid upgrade at the DH slot, a position that had haunted manager Ozzie Guillen last year after declining to agree for Jim Thome’s return.
The addition of Dunn would not have had as much an impact had Kenny Williams not kept another key link in the lineup, and so the resigning of Paul Konerko to a very creative contract, with a boatload of backloaded money till 2020 is an improvement by retention. The money saved on the front-end also allowed K-Will to keep A.J. Pierzynsksi, who doesn’t figure to be a huge offensive or defensive asset, but has flirted with .300 averages in the past and is a fan favorite.
The rotation remains essentially the same and will see a boost once Jake Peavy returns from injury. Aside from Dunn, the Sox didn’t add much more than a few arms in the bullpen (Jesse Crain, Will Ohman).
The decision to place perennial set-up man Matt Thornton in the closer’s role might prove risky (as it’s already the case). It’s also why relying on Juan Pierre’s stolen bases to make up for his spotty defense will be an adventure. As always, the offense will be solid, and could potentially carry the team all year, but the Sox already lost two games they seemingly had in the bag over defense and the back of the bullpen. At 6-4 after Monday’s game, the Sox could’ve been right there with the Indians who lead the division after a torrid start. Not saying that will be the case all season, but I’m just sayin’.