White Sox fading into oblivionBy Matt Verderame
The Chicago White Sox began the season 20-6, and everybody starting whispering talk of title. They were supposed to be the team challenging the two-time defending American League champion Kansas City Royals for supremacy in the American League Central.
Then, as it turned out, that would not be the case. Chicago was riding in the carriage that turned into a pumpkin at midnight, and May was the toll of bells. The White Sox are now heading into the weekend with a dubious record of 57-64, sitting 13.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians. On the good side of things, Chicago only trails the Royals by 4.5 games, so there is that.
At this juncture, it seems obvious that manager Robin Ventura is just playing out the string before being removed after three unsuccessful campaigns. Ventura was given some talent from the front office, but the players are underperforming. In this business, the players are much harder to get rid of than the manager, and so Ventura should have his bags packed and on the curb come October.
The White Sox acquired third baseman Todd Frazier to provide protection in their lineup for Jose Abreu. There was then a trade for second baseman Brett Lawrie, bringing him over from the Oakland Athletics. With Melky Cabrera and Adam Eaton already in the batting order, it seemed the White Sox would finally have the ability to score.
Instead, Frazier has been a huge bust. Yes, the slugger has hit 31 home runs and knocked in 74 runs (both team highs), but he’s also hitting a lousy .207. Frazier has only hit below .250 once before in his career before 2016, so the horrific average is surprising.
Abreu is also having a down season. The Cuban sensation has just 14 home runs while Eaton has swiped just 12 bags. Cabrera is having a nice campaign with a .293 clip and nine homers, but it hasn’t been enough to save the offense. With only 483 runs, the White Sox and Royals are tied for lowest run totals in the American League.
One must wonder if general manager Rick Hahn should blow up the team. Cabrera only has one season remaining on his contract and could easily be moved for prospects. The same can be said for Frazier, who at 30 years old still has legitimate value because of his power. Lawrie is also facing arbitration this year before hitting free agency, and could be sold off for younger parts.
If Hahn really wants to go all in, he could move ace Chris Sale. Sale has three years under team control at a great price, making him an incredible trade chip. Chicago could easily bring in four or five major prospects for Sale.
The White Sox are terrible. It’s time for change in the Windy City.