It's Monday so we all want to suck off an exhaust pipe with the garage door closed. That said, this isn't a typical Monday. We're 4 short days away from opening day in baseball and that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.
I go on my friend Sean Roberts radio show out of Des Moines IA like once a month to talk baseball and he brought up an interesting point - that there doesn't seem to be a 'buzz' around opening day this year. I agree, and blame nobody else other than baseball. They locked the players out, the whole CBA negotiation was a complete disaster and ownership seems intent on gutting our great game. I still think opening day should be a sort of holiday where every game is televised nationally with staggered start times throughout the day like opening weekend for March Madness. That, and give a centralized NFL Red Zone type feel on one channel that is totally centered around gambling.
I just made baseball a *little* more interesting for the casual fan.
But let's talk White Sox - I sent out the bat signal this morning and got some great questions from the twittersphere. Let's start here:
It is and it isn't. Last year the division was grade A dog shit. This year, it won't be. While it's nice having a 10 game lead in July and being able to coast to a division title, it's also takes a lot of the fun out of it. I embrace competition and this year will be much different than last year. The Twins are better. The Tigers are REALLY starting to make a charge and will have all-world prospect Spencer Torkelson in their opening day lineup. I look forward to a budding rivalry between the White Sox and the decrepit, rundown city of Detroit.
That said I fully expect White Sox to win division by 10+ games again. If they don't, they fucked up and fucked up badly... or got gutted with injuries.
Moncada is the most polarizing player on the team by far. Some people love him and will reference his wins above replacement figures (which are good) and say those outweigh his power output (which isn't good). I'm somewhere in the middle. I do think he should be WAY better. Like… 25 HRs and a .290/.390/.500 slash line paired with his great glove at 3B. I don't think WAR is the end all, be all of baseball statistics and do think he's underperformed. This is a huge year for him. For me, I hate unrealized potential more than anything. Moncada has left a LOT of potential on the table and because of that, I understand some fans being frustrated with him even though he's a 4+ win player.
If he has a 2019 year, awesome. I expect that from him and you should too. The raw tools are all there. It's up to him if he taps into them or not and if he doesn't, he's done getting the benefit of the doubt from me. Whether or not he does, we will see. I could see another 2021 type season from him, which isn't bad, but it's not "good" either.
And again… please don't reference his war. I'm talking strictly offensively.
There's only one answer here and it's those disgusting, greasy, dego T wearing scumbags from the northeast… the New York Yankees. I HATE that organization. Not so much because of their team, which is completely "meh" and has been for over a decade now, but because their fans are the worst in all of sports. I thought Cubs fans were bad but Yankees fans are the spawn of satan. They make me want to puke my intestines out through my asshole.
If the Sox curb stomped the Yankees on their way to winning a pennant, I would never let those greasy scumbags hear the end of it. My trolling would be biblical. The only issue is I don't see the Yankees making the playoffs this year. They weren't that great last year and had to ride like a 13 game winning streak to even make the wild card game.
That, and they didn't get better. Their catching still stinks. Their 2-5 is still littered with question marks unless you count Monty as a 2, which is bad. Cole has been brutal in big games. Their MIF blows. Their CF is expensive and oft-injured, and their payroll is clearly already making Hal uncomfortable. Also - the Jays, Rays and Sawx are all much more well rounded clubs.
If you're a Yankee fan and reading this, I'm sorry. Just kidding. I'm not sorry at all. You deserve this. Have fun fighting for 4th place losers!!!
Sheets 100%. Vaughn would absolutely net the bigger package, but that's because he's going to be a fucking stud hitter. Think Paul Goldschmidt. That's Andrew Vaughn. I'm not trading him unless he's headlining a deal for a STAR in return. Someone like Luis Castillo or like I said before, Ketel Marte, though that's not happening now.
Sheets is a fine ball player. Looked great last year in the 2nd half. He also was put in position to succeed, as he only hit against RHP, and had a normal development path, which is something Vaughn didn't. I'm buying all of the Vaughn stock in the world right now because I'm not gonna get it at a cheaper price. Come July I'll be able to cash in big because he'll be RAKING.
That's a guarantee from me to you.
This is a sad question. 2022 will be Pito's 9th year in a Sox uniform and he's been productive in every goddamn one of them. Last year wasn't a GREAT season, but I don't think it was an aging thing or anything. More just had bad batted ball luck - his BABIP was about 60 points lower than it was in his MVP season. If you look at his stat cast profile, he was still scorching the ball last year, more just right at people.
I think we'll see an Abreu that's somewhere between his 2020 and 2021 seasons and still get 30 bombs and 100 RBIs. He also has a lifetime contract with the club, so I could see him playing out this year and then getting 1 year with a player option for a 2nd on a new deal at a little price cut. He'll have made over $100MM in his career so money ain't an issue. Only thing is, is I'd like to see him shift to DH and Vaughn to 1B. Doubt that happens but it SHOULD happen. But I think Abreu has 10 total years in him before he hangs it up and starts coaching or rides off into the sunset.
Oh yeah, and build the man a statue. Dude's earned it and then some.
Yes. 100%. Health is the only thing holding him back. He's the most tooled up player I've ever seen don a White Sox uniform. It's absurd how talented he is and if he plays 140 games, will be RIGHT THERE for the MVP this year. He shits on the ball, plays a gold glove caliber CF, can run, make contact and if spring is any barometer, is starting to use ALL fields. Watching him pepper the R/C gap this spring made my loins swell.
The Big Hurt is obviously the best player in franchise history, but he was a DH. He was an all time great hitter but Robert can do it all and then some. I cannot wait for him to become a household name this year.
And no, this isn't bias speaking. Chris Castellani said Robert has a "multiple MVP ceiling" and he's not lying. He's the most exciting White Sox player perhaps of my entire lifetime. He was nothing short of incredible when he came back from his yanked hip flexor last summer:
Those numbers aren't even THAT fluky. A .375 BABIP is high, yes, but when you're shitting on the ball like Robert was, that's what will happen. I can't wait to see him over the course of 162 and if you're a baseball fan, you should know that Luis Robert is a "drop everything you're doing and watch him hit" type player.
Rodon. I still stay in touch with Los and he's as healthy as can be. The White Sox not offering him the QO, though great for him, was one of the dumbest moves of all time. It will never not make sense. He wouldn't have accepted it, which is obviously the right move for him, but the White Sox are now not only out on a comp pick, but out on the extra pool $$$ as well. It was just stupid.
People try to say his arm is cooked because he was out at the end of the 2021 season. Uhhh… no. He ran out of gas. That's what happens when you are ramped up for the first time in years. There's a difference between "injured" and "exhausted". I think Los gives SF 150 stud IP this year and will be right in the thick of things for the NL Cy Young.
That said, I still love Kopech. If they get 120-130 IP out of him this year, it's a win, and I think he still has a chance to be the very best pitcher on the staff. Yes, better than Gio too, who I think is gonna have his best year to date.
I like Clevinger from SD. Yes, he's starting on the IL and coming off TJ, but that's sorta the point - he shouldn't cost THAT much and the Padres need offense VERY badly. The IL thing ain't a big deal either - minor knee soreness, NBD. I think there could be a trade that makes sense between the two parties and a healthy Clev would slide into this rotation perfectly. He's got low mileage on his arm and could be a major difference maker.
Other guys I've seen thrown around are Mahle, Castillo and Montas. Both awesome for different reasons, but also will be very expensive. I'd guess all of them would require Vaughn as the piece going back and I'm not sure I'm willing to do that. We'll see. The White Sox WILL add a pitcher of great significance though - that I guarantee. They won't rush a trade or make one just to make one, but come July it will be Gio-Lynn-Cease-Kopech-new addition and that new addition will be a "fuck you let's win the World Series" type pitcher.
Mark it down. And no, Sean Manaea, though fine, is not a "fuck you let's win the World Series" type acquisition and I am fine with the White Sox not overpaying prospect capital for him.
Adam Engel 100%. He's turned into a force offensively on top of being the all world defender. He just hasn't been healthy for extended amounts of time. I would love to see Engel play 5x a week, spelling all 3 outfielders. Just be a Swiss army knife that gets 400 plate appearances. If what we've seen the last 2 years are the true Adam Engel, he's a PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT 4th OF. Ya know, someone like… Chris Taylor.
Robert and TA.
I know people like to say "batting average doesn't matter!!!" but I don't really abide by that. If you're hitting .300 you're doing well. The power will come from those guys. Sure, OBP is more important but .300 ain't an easy feat or anything to sneeze at.
I think Romy Gonzales has a chance to really surprise people. Former late round pick out of the U and he has GREAT power, all things considered. Can play anywhere too. I think he should have been the new Leury Garcia with Garcia's money/years allocated elsewhere, but it is what it is.
Negative? Hendriks right now. He has looked kinda shaky this spring. Command has been off for whatever reason. Hope he turns it on once Thursday arrives though.
I'll go with 90. Assuming they are all healthy for the duration of the season (a MASSIVE assumption from these 3), and Lu/Eloy should count for 35 a piece with 20 more coming from Pollock. Anything more is obviously gravy.
We'll wrap up there. I cannot wait for Thursday's opener and next Tuesday's kegs and eggs party at my new crib (that I own, not rent). If you're invited, see you there. If not, you can watch in envy on social media.
Let's get this show on the road!