They say that great minds think alike. I would add that my own and Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland’s also agree from time to time.
Baseball’s punditry of the penis, fresh off predicting that the Chicago White Sox would be the 2011 AL Central champs, decided ahead of this season that the team from Chicago’s South side wouldn’t fare all that much better than the team on the North side. Could they possibly be wrong?
The White Sox made some curious off season moves.
At first, appearing to embrace a rebuild, they took the loss of Mark Buehrle to free agency in stride, deciding to also jettison their most team friendly contract in exchange for a prospect whose best case scenario likely sees him developing into the player the traded away. They followed this by ridding themselves of a reasonably signed reliever and their best outfielder from last year.
However, while seemingly cutting payroll and accepting their immediate future as also rans in their division, Chicago was also committing to a long term deal with the team’s best pitcher, signing a capable platoon outfielder as a stop gap, and transitioning their best young pitcher from the bullpen into the rotation.
Take into account that it’s almost impossible for Alex Rios and Adam Dunn to be as bad this season as they were last, and suddenly the White Sox don’t seem to be in the predicament in which many thought they would be. While the Detroit Tigers adding Prince Fielder has to hurt, we’ve gone over a few reasons why the reaction to that signing might be overblown, in that it only really adds two wins to a lineup that lacks depth.
Yes, it will require a lot of luck, and a beyond healthy mix of breakout seasons and career years, but this team finding success shouldn’t be nearly as surprising as their lack of it last year.
According to the Replacement Level Yankees Weblog, using Marcel projections, the White Sox will finish with a record of 79 wins and 83 losses. Or, four wins less than the Cleveland Indians and five wins less than the AL Central winning Detroit Tigers. No one is going to crown the team champions of the world, but they’re a far cry from AL Central basement dwellers.