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Normally this picture is some goofy photoshop, but in this case it is native Texan and famous Boston TV Cowboy Rex Trailer, who just sort of fits the theme of a Rangers/Red Sox comparison. Rex hosted a beloved western show in Boston between 1956 and 1974. No jokes, just some TV history and culture for you. Photo credit Peter Benjamin/AP.

These are the last licks taken at PECOTA…this year anyway. As a reminder, PECOTA picked the White Sox, a talented team with playoff aspirations, to be a non-playoff team and a distant third place finisher in their own division. Well, as has been the tradition in this space for several years now, a look at the main starters in each position will tell and has told the tale of what team has the greater talent and therefore the greater chance at winning. After showing that PECOTA was definitively wrong about the Guardians and Twins being the better teams in the AL Central, the Sox were shown to be better than what the AL East had to offer, and better than the AL West’s best…or at a minimum on the level of projected winners like the Astros, Yankees, Angels, Rays, Mariners and Blue Jays. The A’s, Orioles, Tigers and Royals are inconsequential. But interestingly, the Red Sox and Rangers were picked as finishing roughly the same as the White Sox, around 79 wins. What’s interesting about that is how they got there. The Rangers spent big last year on Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, among others, and have amassed an expensive rotation around Jacob DeGrom and Nathan Eovaldi, among others. The Red Sox fell on hard times, and have lost or let veteran free agents walk and are largely trying youngsters and bargain veterans to rebuild around Rafael Devers and Chris Sale. One team trying to buy relevance, and one team returning to their decades of futility in a rebuild. And somehow a young, talented White Sox team is right there with them? Poppycock. PECOTA, get that last egg and put your sucking lips on. As always, this is assuming no acquisitions or season-ending injuries. Even though Yoan Moncada has an excuse now that he’s concussed and has a bad rib cage.

Ranking the teams by position:

Rotation: White Sox over Rangers over Red Sox. Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Mike Cleavinger. Jacob DeGrom, Andrew Heaney, Martin Perez, Jon Gray, Nathan Eovaldi. Chris Sale…ummm…Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, I guess, OH! Corey Kluber…and…Garrett Whitlock or Kutter Crawford. The Red Sox are banking on Sale and Kluber to regain a form of dominance that they had before injuries took over. For Sale…maybe. For Kluber…probably not although he isn’t terrible. Pivetta is a never-was and guys like Houck, Whitlock, Crawford and Josh Winkowski are teetering on never-will-be status, though Houck and Whitlock have been really solid relievers. So the Red Sox are not a factor here. Meanwhile the Rangers have tried to build a rotation of veterans at a high cost, a combined $93,150,000 this year not including the $12,500,000 that Jake Odorizzi is getting to not be a starter in 2023. Granted, the Rangers are building around a legit ace in DeGrom. Well…Jon Gray, Martin Perez and Andrew Heaney have all had both middlin’ to decent success and been legitimately bad. Nathan Eovaldi is good. He just rarely stays healthy. But that’s one ace, one solid two and three who knows. Actually, that describes the Red Sox too. Huh. So one ace, one solid two and three unknowns versus the White Sox ace, former ace, the Rangers’ former ace, a former Red Sox guy who is supposed to be an ace and is still on the rise, and the former Cleveland ace now two years removed from Tommy John when form is regained. Advantage White Sox.

Bullpen: White Sox over Rangers over Red Sox. This has been the one thing that maybe PECOTA sees as why the White Sox could be not so great. In fact, the White Sox bullpen hasn’t exactly been stacking up well in the efforts to discredit PECOTA. But that’s why the comparison to the Rangers and Red Sox are so baffling because as questionable as the White Sox bullpen is, there is no question how bad the Boston version is and the Rangers have even more questions than the White Sox. The Red Sox have Kenley Jansen at the back end, but have very little in front of him after taking Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock out of the bullpen. Richard Bleier, Chris Martin (not the Coldplay guy, but maybe the Coldplay guy)…and John Schreiber (definitely not Bo Duke, that was John Schneider) are the best Red Sox relievers. The Rangers are somehow worse while maybe being better. The uneven and unproven Jose Leclerc is the presumptive closer with names like Brock Burke and Josh Sborz leading the way in front of him. The best thing that can be said about the Rangers is that they are young in the bullpen, meaning maybe there’s a chance they can emerge. Meanwhile, the White Sox are a mix of guys that they know what they’ll get and some guys that have proven histories to return to, and some guys that can emerge. Joe Kelly rebounding, Nick Avila and Franklin German emerging, Aaron Bummer, Kendall Graveman and Reynaldo Lopez being themselves would all be stellar even if guys like Garrett Crochet aren’t quite ready. Notwithstanding the White Sox having closer questions, there’s no question that their bullpen is better than the teams that they are allegedly equal to. Advantage White Sox.

Outfield: White Sox over Red Sox over Rangers. This is the part where the three teams become easily separated. Luis Robert, Jr., Andrew Benintendi and Oscar Colas are by far the best trio of this trio. The Rangers, for all the cash they’ve spent, have the solid Adolis Garcia and then a sad trombone. Fangraphs projects Bubba Thompson, Leody Tavares and Robbie Grossman as the other starters. Grossman is a 4th OF that has somehow been starting in recent years, Tavares is emerging as a solid guy but not on Colas’ level. Bubba…yeah. Guys named Bubba can’t be taken seriously and he’s projected to have an OPS of .649, which is bad. They have Dustin Harris and Evan Carter waiting, but they’re not here yet. The Red Sox tried going young but then didn’t, with the solid Alex Verdugo now joined by 30-year-old Japanese import Masataka Yoshida and whatever is left in the near-corpse of Adam Duvall. Verdugo has a power outage against lefties, Duvall is barely more than a middlin’ power source himself these days and Yoshida’s game is more leadoff than middle of the order and who knows if he’ll translate to the MLB. So the rebuilding team goes veteran and pricey, the big spender goes cheap, or young and unproven…and both can’t touch the White Sox. Advantage to the Southside.

Shortstop: White Sox over Rangers over Red Sox. Tim Anderson, bona fide star. Just ask Mike Trout, a guy who knows about being a baseball star. Corey Seager, a star in his own right. Seager can’t touch TA in the batting average department but Seager is a 30-homer guy and TA isn’t that. Power versus overall hitting, middle of the order versus leadoff. TA has the slight advantage in being a better base stealer and therefore more of an overall offensive menace, where Seager hits 30-plus homers and that’s kind of his one trick. The Red Sox lost Xander Bogarts in free agency but had 2B/OF Kike Hernandez, or career backup Christian Arroyo, or now deposed 1B Bobby Dalbec waiting in the wings. So that’s…three role players. Yikes. Advantage to the White Sox.

Third Base: Red Sox over White Sox over Rangers. Maybe Yoan Moncada is better than the Rangers’ Josh Jung or Josh Smith or Ezequiel Duran. Maybe not. All three of those guys are unknowns with varying pedigrees and skill. Smith and Duran weren’t able to seize a job last year as rookies, and Jung had shoulder surgery that lead to an absurd strikeout rate on his return, well above his minors career where he was the Rangers’ top prospect. Yoan is looking to regain something along the lines of league average, with the consensus being that his head is what’s stopping him. The WBC seems to be what the doctor ordered in that regard, letting Yoan be a star amongst his countrymen and play without pressure. Still, he’s well behind Rafael Devers who continues to be among the league’s best. So with a star player in Devers being compared to a guy who is trying to be above average and a few maybes, the Red Sox take this one.

Second Base: Rangers over White Sox over Red Sox. Remember when Marcus Semien was on the White Sox and was deemed expendable, only to become a star in Oakland and then too expensive for the notoriously cheap White Sox? Those are all very recent events and therefore should be memorable. The expensive and overall productive Semien is better than Elvis Andrus, who will be competent and solid for the White Sox but is unlikely to match Semien in power and maybe even steals. So…the ex-White Sox on the Rangers is better than the ex-Ranger on the White Sox, and both are ex-A’s. Huh. The Red Sox have career backup Christian Arroyo, and whoever between Kike Hernandez and Bobby Dalbec isn’t playing short. Ummm…y’all want Leury Garcia to change his Sox? The Rangers have the best of the bunch.

First Base: Pick ’em. Andrew Vaughn is a guy on the rise who could be a star. Tristan Casas is a rookie of the year candidate and a potential star. Nathaniel Lowe is a guy on the rise who could be a star. Lowe has shown more power than Vaughn but only last year. Vaughn has more power to tap into and might be a better overall hitter than Lowe, who still strikes out a lot. Casas has the pedigree that both Lowe and Vaughn came in with, and who knows where he ends up but for right now, ending up a Vaughn or Lowe clone seems like a reasonable thing. It’s a tossup.

Catcher: White Sox over Rangers over Red Sox. Yasmani Grandal is, by both anecdote and visual evidence, possibly in the best shape of his life, and if true, he remains an elite catcher by comparison. Seby Zavala has been solid at the plate last year and into this spring, and solid behind it in his brief career. Jonah Heim and the DH-for-now Mitch Garver are sort of diet Yas and Seby, with Garver being the once elite catcher trying to recapture his health and stroke and Heim being the non-prospect holding the fort. But Garver never quite touched Yas outside of the happy fun ball year and Heim was solid to start 2022 and then flopped hard. The Red Sox have Reese McGuire in case anyone cares, and he might be upended by the ever-underwhelming Jorge Alfaro. Bleh. White Sox win.

DH: White Sox over Rangers/Red Sox. Eloy Jimenez, young power hitter with a clutch gene and potential yet untapped. The Rangers and Red Sox are where Brad Miller and Justin Turner are apparently ending their careers. Turner might still have some juice left, but the fact that the Dodgers moved on feels like a sign that maybe he doesn’t. Brad Miller is somehow still in the league despite never being a star and barely being a starter. In all likelihood the Rangers will use Mitch Garver and others in a rotation until someone sticks, but unless they have an Eloy clone waiting (they kinda don’t) it’ll be a weakspot. Easy win for the White Sox.

Position by position, the White Sox have the top rotation, bullpen, DH, shortstop, catchers and outfield; they’re tied in a good way at 1B, and somehow they are supposedly still equal to a Rangers team that has spent big but somehow not enough, and a Red Sox team that is in deep transition to a rebuild? If not for Rafael Devers and Marcus Semien the Sox would have swept every position. PECOTA. No. Bad.

So without delving into any other advanced analytics, The White Sox are much better than the the two AL teams that PECOTA thinks will equal the Sox in wins and futility. There’s really just no excuse here, because if PECOTA can see that the Rangers’ spending spree is inadequate and the Red Sox’ rebuild is only just underway, then how does a White Sox team that has improved over the team people talked about being a World Series contender a year ago match them? They don’t. PECOTA, GO SUCK AN EGG.


And what, pray tell, is the Staff of Cork and Kerry? Scholars maintain two definitions are valid: first it is the assembled persons who provide the excellent food and drink at Cork and Kerry at the Park and Cork and Kerry Beverly. Also, same said scholars maintain that the Staff of Cork and Kerry is a weapon of mythical and fearsome power, wielded by only those of rare strength and skill or powerful of spirit to rise to greatness.

Oscar Colas was told he could keep the staff of Cork and Kerry until he felt like giving it up. Well, Hanser Alberto is absolutely on fire right now and making a real push to make the team. Since the idea that he would actually be able to get Leury Garcia off the team is unfathomable given that Leury, like Daryl Boston, is forever, Alberto gets to spend a week with the Staff of Cork and Kerry. Smite away, before you end up at Charlotte or randomly starting 58 games for the Marlins.


Just the band Go West singing their hit “King of Wishful Thinking”, which is what PECOTA is for saying there are three AL West teams better than the Sox. Go West/King of Wishful Thinking (c) EMI Records

Oh PECOTA. Thrice this year you have been trashed. As a reminder, you have picked the White Sox, a talented team with playoff aspirations, to be a non-playoff team and a distant third place finisher in their own division. Well, as has been the tradition in this space for several years now, a look at the main starters in each position will tell and has told the tale of what team has the greater talent and therefore the greater chance at winning. Thus far, PECOTA, y’all were wrong about the AL Central, as the Guardians and the Twins have been proven to be wanting. In fact, the best of the AL East went away as well. Ignoring the Tigers, Royals, Orioles, and Oakland as all those teams are in either a rebuild or just aren’t good, the next few looks will be at how the Sox compare to the Rangers and Red Sox who are projected to be as mediocre but for different reasons than the White Sox, and in the following paragraphs the best of what the always over-projected AL West has to offer. The Astros are, at this point, annoying in their success; but how on Earth are the Trout-ruining Angels and the ragtag Mariners better than the White Sox? Spoiler: they aren’t. So grab an unspoiled egg, PECOTA, (there are no monsters here) and get ready for the sucking. As always, this is assuming no acquisitions or season-ending injuries. In Spring and with the WBC, the former is more likely than the latter. Eloy…

Ranking the teams by position:

Rotation: White Sox over Astros over Mariners over Angels. Let’s just get this out of the way: Shohei Ohtani is the best starter on any of these teams, and that includes Dylan Cease who is a close second. From there, the dropoff is bigger than the difference between Lance Lynn and a nun in a creative swearing competition. Without Justin Verlander and with Lance McCullers, Jr. unable to keep his arm attached, the Astros rotation is down to Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Jose Urquidy, Luis Garcia and rookie Hunter Brown. Brown has pedigree, Javier is probably the best of the bunch, while Garcia and Urquidy have long been mysterious in their success. Valdez, a pitch to contact guy, can be lit up. As one might recall. The Mariners have Luis Castillo, who can be dominant and then vanish, along with Robbie Ray who is a consistent underachiever. George Kirby, Logan Gilbert and whatever Marco Gonzales has left round out the Mariners. Kirby and Logan are young and could still improve but their combined Achilles’ heel is not being big strikeout guys. The M’s could go six man, add Chris Flexen into the mix to eat innings along with Gonzales, but both are just guys at this point. Speaking of six guys, five of them in the Angels rotation are not going to impress much. The best non-Shohei is Patrick Sandoval, who started to figure it out last year but had an expected ERA a full run higher than his actual ERA. Reid Detmers, Jose Suarez and Tucker Davidson are guys who have shown moments of competence, while Tyler Anderson was bad until the Dodgers worked their weird voodoo on him last year. He’s no longer a Dodger so weird voodoo may be in the past. Overall, the Angels and Mariners have questionable back ends while the Astros lack a true ace. So the White Sox, with one ace in Dylan Cease, their former ace in Lucas Giolito, two former aces in Lance Lynn and Mike Clevinger, and a once-projected ace Michael Kopech, are really just better in terms of stuff and past success than the rest of these teams. Easily advantage White Sox.

Bullpen: Astros over Mariners over White Sox over Angels. This is where the White Sox typically lag behind, and in this case at least the Angels are so committed to wasting the careers of two generational talents that they have a bullpen that is such a mess that even Rick Hahn couldn’t make worse. The Angels lack a closer and the rest of the ‘pen is just a bunch of ERAs in the 4’s, and Ryan Tepera. The Mariners, meanwhile, are one of those teams that has a no-name bullpen that is pretty effective. Their home park can sometimes help, as Kendall Graveman’s splits as a Mariner can attest, but overall they are solid with Paul Sewald quietly being an effective closer. The Astros ‘pen has largely been together a while and is one of their team strengths, along with their garbage can selection skills. Like that crack wasn’t coming. Ryan Pressly isn’t a flashy closer but he keeps his job on a winning team, while guys like Ryne Stanek, Phil Maton, and Bryan Abreu are reliable and former closers like Hector Neris and Rafael Montero round out the back end. The Sox bullpen will be ok, not a disaster like the Angels but aspiring to be the Mariners or Astros. Even with signs of some better options in Spring. Even with Liam.

Outfield: White Sox over Angels over Astros over Mariners. If there’s any question that Julio Rodriguez and Mike Trout are studs, it better be in the kitchen or at chess or something that they may not be good at. Luis Robert Jr. is right there with them talent-wise and needs to show it on the field rather than the chess board. The problem for Julio and Mike are in their supporting casts. The Angels’ Taylor Ward is pretty similar to Andrew Benintendi, but Hunter Renfroe has never been what Oscar Colas should be. Kyle Tucker and eventually maybe the remains of Michael Brantley are respectively really good and used to be really good for the Astros, but they lack much impact in CF with 80’s teen movie villains Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers. The Mariners are hoping Jared Kellenic has something figured out after an atrocious start to his career, and that AJ Pollack and Teoscar Hernandez have something left. The Sox outfield should prove to be among the best in the league…the Angels aren’t bad but they aren’t as good, and the other two…woof. Sox take this one.

Shortstop: White Sox over Astros over Mariners/Angels. Tim Anderson, bona fide star. Jeremy Pena, possible star. J.P. Crawford and David Fletcher, at best a 1987 Ford Aerostar. TA will, at times, carry the White Sox. Pena showed that the Astros wouldn’t necessarily miss Carlos Correa as much as they thought, but he needs to take another step forward to really be a star. That step isn’t all that high for him. Crawford and Fletcher are really just guys at this point, with acceptable bats and defense, which might be generous. The gap between Anderson, Pena, and the Fletcher/Crawford duo is astounding enough that even an in-his-prime Evel Knievel would say “I ain’t crazy enough to jump it”. Clear advantage to the White Sox.

Third Base: Astros/Angels over White Sox over Mariners. It isn’t exactly a wide chasm that separates Yoan Moncada from the Astros’ Alex Bregman and the Angels’ Anthony Redon. It is hopefully a wide chasm between him and the Mariners’ Eugenio Suarez. Bregman and Rendon have been top-shelf 3B’s in the past and remain really good, even though injuries have slowed Rendon and Bregman’s power output left with the happy fun ball. Between them, Rendon and Bregman are projected by Fangraphs to hit an average of .267 with 21 homers. That isn’t out of the realm of Moncada’s talent at all. He just needs to actually do it. Meanwhile in Seattle, Suarez just hits homers and basically nothing else. He did hit 31 of them, but his .236 average was his highest since he had the double pleasure of hitting in Cincinnati and hitting the happy fun ball. Yoan can easily catch Bregman and Rendon, but until he does, they share the advantage.

Second Base: Astros over White Sox/Mariners over Angels. The sad fact is that Jose Altuve is the best second baseman of his generation, even with a cheater tag hanging off his backside. He’s still a tremendous hitter and good fielder. The Sox and Mariners have long-time professionals Elvis Andrus and Kolten Wong penciled in, and they should be fine for what they are at this point in their careers. The Angels? Brandon Drury and Luis Regifo. Drury’s best was a product of the Great American Ballpark, while Rengifo kind of emerged from nowhere to have a hot run last year. They are likely not what they think they are at this point in their career. Y’all want Leury out there in Anaheim? It’s not really a close in a win here for the Astros.

First Base: Astros over White Sox/Mariners over Angels. Working bottoms up, the Angels will run out Jared Walsh, who was terrible last year. Andrew Vaughn and Ty France profile in a similar way…high contact, high on-base, not really home run guys but good power, not gonna hurt you but not elite. Jose Abreu…will be missed on the Southside. He gets the nod over Vaughn and France because Pito has proven time and time again to be a run producing machine and capable of 30 homers. His 15 dingers last year felt like a Tony LaRussa issue, where the Sox over-corrected their homer-happy 2021 approach by trying for more hits. Hence Pito’s .304 average, something he last did in a full 150-plus season in 2017. He remains the definitive professional first baseman and therefore gives the Astros the advantage.

Catcher: White Sox over Mariners over Angels over Astros. Yasmani Grandal is heavily rumored to be in the best shape of his life, and if true, would remain an elite catcher by comparison. Seby Zavala continues to be overall quite competent at and behind the plate. The Mariners’ Cal Raleigh hit 23 homers last year in spite of injuries, and could be Yas one day if he can get into the best shape of Yas’ life. But there are thoughts that Raleigh sold out hard to get those homers and will regress at the plate. The Angels have promising prospect and possible Easter Bunny Logan O’Hoppe set to get his first taste of the bigs, which means he’s an unknown and history suggests he will have struggles at first. Meanwhile, somehow Martin Maldonado’s glove is so good that he can hit in the low .100’s and keep his job. He can’t be that good. Raleigh and O’Hoppe have arrows pointing up in some ways but Yas is already there and Seby is still more established than both of them. For now, it has to be projected to go to the White Sox.

DH: White Sox/Astros/Angels over Mariners. Eloy Jimenez, Yordan Alvarez and Shohei Ohtani walk into a bar. The bartender says I can only serve beers one at a time now because all the pitchers ran away. Buh dum bump. Seriously, folks…Ohtani is a dominant hitter, Alvarez is the best hitter on the Astros and Eloy can hang with them both over a full season. It feels like Ohtani is the best of the trio, but really his 30-plus homers and high .200’s average aren’t amazing and are comfortable in Eloy’s range, and Alvarez having a plus-.300 average and more homers than Ohtani last year just represents Eloy’s upper limit. They really are all bunched together. The Mariners will use a rotation that will probably fall to whoever isn’t in the outfield between AJ Pollack and Teoscar Hernandez, or Ty France if Evan White ever lives up to the contract the Mariners regret giving him. That group just isn’t in the same air as the others. Sox will take the tie here.

Position by position, the White Sox have the top rotation, shortstop, catchers and outfield; they’re tied in a good way at DH, and are only behind the AL West…well..the Astros…at second, third and first base where they are still equal to or better than the Angels or Mariners. The biggest bad area? The bullpen. So, PECOTA…it seems the Sox and Astros have a pretty equal set of bests while the Angels and Mariners are just worsts. The AL West…psssshhhh. PECOTA….PSSSSHHH.

So without delving into any other advanced analytics, and unless PECOTA was listening to the banging of garbage cans and therefore heavily distracted, The White Sox are as good or better than the top of the AL West. There’s an egg that needs sucking. Get to it.


And what, pray tell, is the Staff of Cork and Kerry? Scholars maintain two definitions are valid: first it is the assembled persons who provide the excellent food and drink at Cork and Kerry at the Park and Cork and Kerry Beverly. Also, same said scholars maintain that the Staff of Cork and Kerry is a weapon of mythical and fearsome power, wielded by only those of rare strength and skill or powerful of spirit to rise to greatness.

Jake Burger keeps hitting homers but also has this thing where he’s struck out at a 37% clip this spring. Oscar Colas keeps raking…so between the two foods the one named for pop has the better pop. Seriously though, .400 with homers starting to come in the spring says something. So Oscar, you keep the staff of Cork and Kerry until you feel like giving it up.


Ah, but the lesson here is never try. Bart, even as a meme, is still (c) 20th Television Animation, a subdivision of The Walt Disney Company.

AHHHHH YES. PECOTA, you wascially-est of wabbits when it comes to prognosticating the MLB season. Once again you have picked the White Sox, a talented team with playoff aspirations, to be a non-playoff team that aspirates ranch dressing on their shirts. Well, as has been the tradition in this space for several years now, a look at the main starters in each position will tell the tale of what team has the greater talent and therefore the greater chance at winning. Thus far, PECOTA’s darlings in the AL Central, those Guardians of nothing and the Twinkies have been cast aside as the less talented squadrons. Ignoring the Tigers, Royals, Orioles, and Oakland as all those teams are in either a rebuild or just aren’t good, the next few looks will be at the Sox vs. the best of the AL West, a look at how they stack against the Rangers and Red Sox who are projected to be as mediocre but in vastly different manners of arriving there, and then here and now with the best of the rest in an overrated AL East. Oh sure, the Yankees have Aaron Judge and the Blue Jays are stacked and the Rays are always weirdly competitive, but they ain’t no White Sox. So a raw egg, if’n you please PECOTA, and let’s get that sucker ready to be sucked. That could have been better stated.

Ranking the teams by position:

Rotation: Yankees over Blues Jays/White Sox over Rays. Rotation is always where the Rays seem to have weird dark magic and the Yankees and Blue Jays have spent oodles of cash. Oodles. This year the Jays will roll out the fantasy baseball rotation of Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassitt, Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi (and I say Kukichi). Manoah is legit ace material, but the rest are guys that were bought for what they did last year but not necessarily what they will do. Berrios hasn’t been as good as when he was a Twin, Bassitt has been reliable, Gausman has had a recent good run later in his career and Kikuchi hasn’t translated to the US. Or Canada. Too many exchange rates maybe? Meanwhile Gerritt Cole and his spider tack grasp of reality is still the ace of the Bronx, followed by mound dancer Nestor Cortes, the solid Luis Severino, either CPA Clark Schmidt or the not-very well liked Domingo German, and…oh crap that’s where Carlos Rodón ended up. Meanwhile the dark arts hath yielded lefty fire conjurer Shane McClanahan, mysterion Jeffrey Springs, the likely disappearing Yonny Chirinos, a standard-issue Drew Rasmussen and Phillies castoff Zach Eflin, who has spin rates and things like that in his hat. Working from the bottom up like a gentleman, the Rays rotation just isn’t all that frightening. Eflin feels like 2023 Vince Velasquez, a failed Phillies starter that ended up in the bullpen in his walk year. Rasmussen and Springs are middle of the road and the fifth spot, nominally Chirinos, is where maybe a *poof* magic ace comes in but maybe not. McClanahan is legit, but no more than Dylan Cease or Alek Manoah. Meanwhile, Lynn, Kopech, Bassitt, Gausman, Clevinger and Kikuchi feel interchangeable. But they are all kinda looking up at Cole, Rodón, Severino, Cortes and whoever. Really, Carlos is the difference here. He and Cole form a 1-2 that Cease and Giolito/Kopech/Lynn are supposed to form but those three are still behind Cole and maybe equal at best to Cortes and Severino. It is really, really close though and if Kopech takes a leap or Giolito rebounds hard, it could actually go either way, especially if Nestor’s tricks fall flat or Cole starts to regress. The Yankees have the advantage, but the Sox aren’t far behind, and they are right there with the Jays and ahead of the Rays.

Bullpen: Pick ’em. If you’re looking for brand-name relievers here, look elsewhere. Without Liam Hendriks, no team is currently committed to a top-end closer unless Clay Holmes, Jordan Romano or everyone guesses mostly Pete Fairbanks makes the needle jiggle. The Rays always end up squeezing orange juice out of Cheez Whiz when it comes to bullpens, but the idea that they should be counted on for that alchemy is a little much. Basically, there are some good and some questions in each bullpen, as there are in the league generally, but gone are the days of the Yankees having four legit closers and the Jays have had their bullpen hurt them the past couple years. If Pedro gets the leverage guys right, and Liam strikes out cancer, maybe the Sox take this. But maybe not. See? Questions.

Outfield: White Sox over Blue Jays over Yankees over Rays. Yes, results are early and Arizona-tainted, but Oscar Colas is the real thing (stick it, 70’s Coke). Combined with ex-Yankee Andrew Benintendi and Luis Robert Jr., the Sox have a really top-end OF. The Jays counter with George Springer and Daulton Varsho, but downgraded at the plate by adding the eternally overrated Kevin Kiermaier and likely playing Cavan Biggio out there. The Yankees have Aaron Judge. They have him standing next to Harrison Bader and and Aaron Hicks…so…that could be better. And the Rays had the eternally overrated Kevin Kiermaier with the eternally blah Manny Margot and the currently overrated Randy Arozarena, and now the Rays have…Jose Siri? Josh Lowe, who strikes out more than he hits? It isn’t great out there for the Rays. Judge, Springer and maybe Varsho or Arozarena match up to the Sox’ talent, but only the Sox have three legit outfielders. This is all White Sox.

Shortstop: White Sox/Blue Jays over Rays over Yankees. It is really hard to say where Bo Bichette ranks in the shortstop world. He can rake and field, he can also be a dope and cost his team games. He needs his head squarely in the game to succeed. Tim Anderson is not much different, though Bichette has greater power when TA is like EA Sports and is in the game, he’s the straw that stirs the entire bar. The Rays have Wander Franco. Some who are Wander are lost, and thus far Franco hasn’t quite made the leap to superstar as he was predicted. But he has been solid. The Yankees are going with a rookie, either Oswaldo Peraza, the unrelated Oswaldo Cabrera, or Anthony Volpe who is completely unrelated to anyone. Maybe. For now, Bichette and TA feel like they are neck and neck, in that whoever has their head attached to said neck correctly will be great. The others might be there eventually. Sox get this in a tie.

Third Base: Pick ’em. Instead of a murderers row, the 3B’s in this group are gently killing their fans. Matt Chapman of the Jays hasn’t been the same since his glory year in Oakland. Josh Donaldson at this point is past his prime and is that bulldog that always lost to Droopy in the cartoons…a jerk that ends up not performing up to his potential. Isaac Paredes is a carbon-based lifeform that the Rays will roll out. And Yoan Moncada is also here. Just not good all around. The X-factors are whether Moncada has the ability to progress to a different approach and find himself, and good bat/bad glove Curtis Mead who the Rays have stashed in AAA. A dead cat bounce from Chapman or Donaldson, a reinvention by Moncada or a surprise by a Ray would leave the rest in the dust, but walking into it for now…yeesh.

Second Base: Rays over Yankees over Jays over White Sox. Let’s assume that Brandon Lowe is healthy. He’s a 30-HR guy. Gleyber Torres isn’t that, even though the happy fun ball made him look that way, but he’s a good all-around player. Whit Merrifield is on the back nine, as is Elvis Andrus, and both come in with questions about manning the position everyday. No real mirth to be had here. Just kinda got one guy that’s really better than the rest, and he isn’t on the White Sox. Take it, Rays.

First Base: Jays over White Sox over Yankees over Rays. Just let’s say Vlad Guerrero Jr. is not really touchable by the mere mortals run out by the other teams. Andrew Vaughn is better than Anthony Rizzo at this point, and not because Rizz went from one set of loathable pinstripes to another. Rizzo has had age and injury sap him. The Rays have the maybe underrated Yandi Diaz at 1B, but underrated often means “better than you thought” moreso than “great but no one notices”. No matter, it’s a Vlad, Vlad, Vlad, Vlad, Vlad world.

Catcher: White Sox/Jays over Yankees/Rays. Yasmani Grandal might still be the most overall talented catcher in this group is he is, in fact, in the best shape of his life. Alejandro Kirk is a potential hitting machine but the Jays seem desperate to keep Danny Jansen in the lineup and aren’t using Daulton Varsho behind the plate. Meanwhile, Seby Zavala on his own is better than Christian Bethancourt and Jose Trevino. Also, any two names typed there could have represented the Yankees and Rays at this position. Yas/Seby at their best might edge out Kirk/Jansen, who in turn might have another gear to edge out Yas/Seby. Meanwhile Jose Bethancourt and Christian Trevino aren’t even real guys. So Sox take another tie.

DH: White Sox over Yankees over Jays over Rays. Eloy Jimenez at this point is more trustworthy to show up and hit than Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton was once one of the best hitters in the game but even as a DH he’s been chronically hurt and last year wasn’t really all that good beyond hitting 31 bombs. Eloy has been hurt too, but while fielding which he won’t be doing much of anymore. The Jays are apparently using Brandon Belt, who is on the downslope of a decent but not great career, and the Rays have Harold Ramirez who is really just a guy. Eloy is on his way up, at 33 years old Stanton feels like he might be on the way down. Maybe by a thin margin, but the Sox have this one.

Position by position, the White Sox are right there at the top at DH and outfield, tied in a good way at shortstop and catchers, and are tied in mediocrity and madness at third base and the bullpen. They’re really only behind the AL East at second base, as at 1B and in the rotation they’re an easy second, where at second it is easy to see the Sox just aren’t…good. So, PECOTA…explain yourself. The Sox stack up to these teams pretty well. Are you really drinking the Yankees Kool-Aid? Are you vexed by Canadian exchange rates? Are the Rays using their dark magic on you? All three? Evidently it’s all three.

So without delving into any other advanced analytics, and unless PECOTA was compelled by magic to drop a twooney and a looney on some red sugar water in a pinstriped cup, what in the name of East Coast bias was PECOTA doing here? There’s no way that the Sox are worse than New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays or the Toronto Blue Jays. Git that egg to the suckin’.


And what, pray tell, is the Staff of Cork and Kerry? Scholars maintain two definitions are valid: first it is the assembled persons who provide the excellent food and drink at Cork and Kerry at the Park and Cork and Kerry Beverly. Also, same said scholars maintain that the Staff of Cork and Kerry is a weapon of mythical and fearsome power, wielded by only those of rare strength and skill or powerful of spirit to rise to greatness.

Yes, small sample. Yes, not representative of his past stats. Yes, Oscar Colas can hit. The hot start has Oscar grabbing the Staff of Cork and Kerry and showing that it can just smite with contact rather than just power. Besides, you’d need mythical powers to make hot Colas in the Arizona sun into something refreshing.

(no promises that there will not be more beverage-related gags in the future)


He doesn’t wear hats but he’ll kick the Twins…yeah. Picture (c) United Artists 1989, Sox and Twin logos (c) MLB, the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins.

So ONCE AGAIN the revered PECOTA deigned to release their preseason projections and put the White Sox at 3rd in the AL Central behind Cleveland and Minnesota, who as cities and states go are behind Chicago and Illinois in several key areas, namely wet sandwiches and bitching about payroll. The Twins, of which there is only one, are especially irritating to project ahead of the Sox since they weren’t all that great last year and it’s hard to see why they’d be better this year. Twin models were once used to tout double the fun for gum chewers, should Minnesota’s MLB installment be double the mediocrity?

Regardless, since 35th and Shields is now the capitol of infighting and incompetence…no wait that’s the nation’s capitol. Now that 35th and Shields is the epicenter of unrealized dreams, after the alleged rebuild has yielded one playoff game win and the awfulness of 2022, the projected blahs are reflective of fan pessimism more than baseball talent. And that just isn’t the way mathematical models should work, even if they’re twins and gum is available for chewing. So, tradition being the dom of this blog since 2021’s bold PECOTA prediction that the Sox would suck, over the next four posts the Sox will be compared to, in order: The Minnesota Twins, The AL East contenders, The AL West contenders, and the similarly rated Rangers and Red Sox who are an interesting case study in anti-Jerry and post-modern Kennyism. The Guardians have previously been determined as fraudulent. The Sox should easily outclass the retooling Royals, Tigers and Orioles so no words will be wasted on them. With that in mind, PECOTA get yerself an egg, get ready to suuuuck it and let’s see why the White Sox are better than the Twins. As is the typical assumption, there are no major changes on the horizon to either team, unless Rick Hahn has actually cloned prime Ben Zobrist and “Face/Off”‘d him with Romy Gonzales. And there’s no reading into early Spring Training lineups so say NOTHING of Leury Garcia at 2B or Eloy in RF. Just…no.

Ranking the teams by position:

Rotation: White Sox over Twins. Let’s just start this with the fact that the Twins have no ace, and the Sox have the Cy Young runner up as theirs in the well-‘stached Dylan Cease. What the Twins have is Sonny Gray, who hasn’t been a true ace or reliably healthy in years. The Twins also have the inconsistent Tyler Mahle, and possible rebound candidate Kenta Maeda who hasn’t pitched in forever after TJ surgery. The creamy middle of the Twinkies rotation is Joe Ryan, who is largely a pitch-to-contact guy and innings eater, and Pablo Lopez who was a solid two in Miami. Not bad. But following Cease with Lance Lynn, former ace Lucas Giolito, once touted as an ace Michael Kopech, and deposed and somewhat disgraced former Cleveland ace Mike Cleavinger, is the better bet. That’s five aces…beats a pair (twins joke!). Advantage Sox.

Bullpen: White Sox over Twins. This would be a runaway if Liam Hendriks was healthy. Alas, he isn’t. The Twinkies have some…guys. Jorge Lopez figures to close with Emilio Pagan or scary arm Jhoan Duran in the wings. The rest of the guys in the not-St. Paul pen are fine, but nothing special. Reynaldo Lopez or Kendall Graveman closing is bolstered by the still potentially nasty Aaron Bummer, the possibly back to nasty Joe Kelly, the return of who knows what Garrett Crochet will be. True, Jake Diekman and Jose Ruiz exist, but Jimmy Lambert is solid and Nick Avila is a person. There is more potential from the best four Sox than the best four Twins, so the advantage is with the White Sox.

Outfield: White Sox over Twins. Byron Buxton is talented. But he makes Eloy Jimenez look like Cal Ripken Jr. in armor. After Buxton, the falloff is precipitous for the Twins, like how parents ignore the younger siblings of twins. Max Kepler hasn’t been much to write home about outside of the happy fun ball year. Joey Gallo remains overrated, frankly. He’s a career .199 hitter and yet because he thrice hit 40-plus homers in eight chances he’s somehow considered good. Meanwhile Andrew Benintendi is a solid, legit MLB outfielder and Oscar Colas has a chance to be much better than Gallo or Kepler; even if he K’s at their level he has Gallo’s power and a better potential average than both. There’s just not much to compare…even Gavin Sheets is better than Gallo or Kepler if you ignore defense. So all that and there hasn’t even been a mention of Luis Robert Jr., who has every bit what Buxton has talent-wise if not more. This is all White Sox by a mile.

Shortstop: White Sox over Twins. Depending on which doctors are to be believed, Carlos Correa is either a star SS or a star SS who has an ankle that will explode at any moment. Since two other teams said ‘splodey ankle and the Twins didn’t, the takeaway is likely bad ankle. That aside, Correa is typically a .280 guy with 20-plus homers, which is good. Tim Anderson is always a threat to contend for a batting title, with fewer homers but y’know…batting title. A healthy and ready to roll TA is a force that carries the team. A healthy and focused Carlos Correa is a righty Corey Seager. That’s good, but TA is just better. Advantage, White Sox.

Third Base: Pick ’em. Technically the Twins plan to rotate some guys here. But for the sake of who it should be mostly, the compo is Yoán Moncada vs. Jose Miranda. The fact that Miranda shares his last name with Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hollywood and Broadway fame, as well as familial DNA, gives him musical cred by proxy. So there’s no guarantee that Moncada can even win a rap battle here. In baseball, Jose Miranda is a guy who has a good bat that did decently after a slow start to his rookie year. His defense isn’t great, but the offense can carry him. YoYo has the glove but the bat needs to come back to something resembling league average. Last year, even with the suspect D, Miranda had a better fWAR and bWAR than Moncada and the arrow is pointing up. Moncada’s arrow was lazily popped out to right years ago, but if he gets back to that Joe Crede-esque .265 and 15-20 homers at the plate, he’s fine. Either of these guys can get better or worse this year. Maybe by the end of it Jose can introduce Yoán to Lin-Manuel and he can embark on a music career? Just anything can happen at the hot corner!

Second Base: Twins over White Sox. Jorge Polanco is pretty good. Elvis Andrus is…playing out of position and Romy Gonzalez is diet Ben Zobrist? Polanco is that which Rick Hahn was supposed to find this offseason, instead he signed his former emergency SS and overly talked up a guy who had a pedestrian minor league career. Sooo….yeah. Twins take this one.

First Base: White Sox over Twins. Again the Twins are being non-committal about naming an “everyday” first baseman, but projections guess that Alex Kiriloff will be there primarily. So rather than Vaughn against the field, Vaughn against Kirilloff makes sense. This could be close if the pedigree of Alex Kirilloff is legit and his wrist is healed. Then again, Andrew Vaughn’s pedigree is similar to Kirilloff. Fact is that while Kirilloff could be just as good as Vaughn, he has yet to arrive in the majors. Meanwhile Vaughn has arrived and seems primed to take the next step and become a lineup cornerstone. After all, Vaughn has had two years of learning on the job while his manager napped, and improved last year. And…yes…if the Sox kept Jose Abreu this would be a massive landslide. But they didn’t, so bet on the guy ready to bust out in his third year over the guy just hoping to keep his hands healthy and on the bat. Advantage White Sox.

Catcher: White Sox over the Twins. Yas was, at the time of his contract, a premier catcher in the MLB. Christian Vasquez is kinda that steady dude that always is the same middle of the road guy…average. So if Vasquez is the baseline, and Yas is a fading star, then their cohorts in Seby Zavala and Ryan Jeffers who were, respectively, better than Vasquez in ’22 and worse than Vasquez in ’22, tilt it to the Sox. An advantage of bleh proportions, but an advantage White Sox.

DH: White Sox over Twins. Eloy Jimenez, a bona fide stud when healthy, is going to be protected from himself to a degree and left to hit. Meanwhile, the Twins have the fearsome DH known as….whoever they have left over. Trevor Larnach? Nick Gordon? Kyle Farmer? Gilberto Celestino? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Fry? Fry? If Ben Stein is just calling out names of potential DH’s for the Twins, they don’t have it covered. Advantage Sox by maybe 30 dingers.

Position by position, the White Sox have the better rotation, bullpen, DH, outfield, shortstop, first baseman and catchers, and are tied at third base (at best). They’re behind at second base but Jorge Polanco isn’t exactly all-world. He’s just better than average at a position where the Sox are suspect (at best). This just doesn’t make sense. Was PECOTA going on flavor? Twinkies are far tastier than socks. But Twins better than Sox? C’mon man…spellcheck.

So without delving into any other advanced analytics, and unless PECOTA was comparing Hostess to Haines, what in the name of piranha poop was PECOTA doing here? There’s no way that the Sox are worse than the Minnesota Twins. Get that egg sucked.


And what, pray tell, is the Staff of Cork and Kerry? Scholars maintain two definitions are valid: first it is the assembled persons who provide the excellent food and drink at Cork and Kerry at the Park and Cork and Kerry Beverly. Also, same said scholars maintain that the Staff of Cork and Kerry is a weapon of mythical and fearsome power, wielded by only those of rare strength and skill or powerful of spirit to rise to greatness.

Only being one game into spring, there isn’t much action to choose from. Gavin Sheets hit the first homer. Remember him? Remember when he and other Sox players hit the ball out of the field of play in fair territory? Look, it isn’t exactly smiting the evils of the multiverse, but popping the first tater of 2023 is worth at least a twirl of the Staff of Cork and Kerry. Congrats Gavin, take your twirl.


Kinda didn’t want to run afoul of the mouse so maybe there’s a Chris, a former WWE wrestler, and anthropomorphized sequoia and others under that hat, or maybe not. Hat is (c) 47 Brands and logo Cleveland Guardians and Major League Baseball.

So ONCE AGAIN the revered PECOTA deigned to release their preseason projections and put the White Sox at 3rd in the AL Central behind The Cleveland (not really the) Guardians and the Minnesota (has only ONE metro area) Twins. Sure, at this point, nothing less than crushing mediocrity is expected from 35th and Shields, after the not a rebuild has yielded two playoff cups of coffee and the mass mind numbing of 2022. That doesn’t mean that Sox fan pessimism should carry over to actual projections. So, as has been the wont of this blog since 2021’s bold PECOTA prediction that the Sox weren’t gonna be nuthin’, PECOTA will be proven wrong by comparing the various position groups of the Sox and their rivals. Over the next five posts the Sox will be compared to, in order: The Cleveland Guardians, The Minnesota Twins, The AL East contenders, The AL West contenders, and the similarly rated Rangers and Red Sox who are an interesting case study in trying to spend into mattering and returning to the Red Sox of the 80’s and 90’s. In all likelihood the Sox are better than the once again youth-oriented Royals, or the Tigers and Orioles…so further we sayeth naught as we have so many times before. Therefore, without further ado, PECOTA please grab an egg, get yer sucking lips ready and let’s see why the White Sox are better than the Guardians. Even though the Guardians were better than the Sox last year. Oy.

As usual, and notwithstanding bringing Elvis back in the building on the eve of spring training, there is an assumption that Rick Hahn has nothing of impact up his sleeve. Based on the rest of the offseason, he doesn’t own sleeves.

Ranking the teams by position:

Rotation: White Sox over Guardians. This is almost a tossup because the top three Guardians in Shane Bieber, Tristan McKenzie and Cal Quantrill are pretty good. Bieber as the ace was not the strikeout guy he had been in the past, and McKenzie and Quantrill had career years last year. Keep in mind, neither had much of a career prior to that so the bar was really low. If they regress at all the Cleveland rotation goes from tough to serviceable. Meanwhile, Cy Young runner-up Dylan Cease is still joined by Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn, who have, respectively, a desire to earn a giant contract and has a permanent chip embedded in his shoulder (rumored to be sour cream and cheddar). You have a feeling that a slimmed down Giolito can and will rebound, while Lynn will be fairly reliable when healthy (and he says he’s healthy). Where things go the Sox way the most is at 4 and 5. Michael Kopech as the Sox’ 4th starter is in a make-or-break year to show that he is a top-end rotation option, and he really actually truly has the talent to do it. The x-factor is Mike Clevinger, who regardless of what anyone thinks of him as a person, is in Sox camp and is set to be in the rotation. If he isn’t suspended and pitches close to his old self…that’s a big plus for the Sox as the 5th starter. The Guardians have issues at both 4 and 5, where Aaron Civale and Zac Plesac are trying to show that they belong in an MLB rotation at all after injuries and mediocre stuff caught up with them. It may come down to a minor leaguer making the leap for each team, which for Cleveland always seems like they have several options are available while the Sox have Davis Martin. And Martin was fine last year. The Sox run four to six deep at a higher talent level over Cleveland, with two to three fewer question marks. The Sox have the advantage.

Bullpen: Guardians over White Sox. Liam Hendriks is the best closer in the game that won’t pitch this year. Emmanuel Clase is the best closer in baseball who will pitch this year. The Guardians had as solid a pen as anyone last year and this year seems no different with most of that pen retained and an elite closer. The Sox will be returning with the same group as well, but it is one that had questions last year and has all-new questions this year. Namely, who closes? How quickly will Garrett Crochet return and find his stuff? Is Joe Kelly finished imploding? Inquiring minds want to know. Until the Sox get good answers, their bullpen is suspect. Guardians advantage.

Outfield: White Sox over Guardians. Luis Robert Jr. can basically begin and end this discussion. The best the Guardians offer in the OF is Steven Kwan, who is what Sox fans thought Nick Madrigal would be at the plate in terms of getting on base and never striking out. What Kwan is not is MVP talented like Robert. All La Pantera needs is sustained health to really show what he can do. As a result, Robert will likely show up to camp in “the best shape of his life”, as will about 20 other guys on the team. Flanking Robert is solid MLB LF Andrew Benintendi and the Sox’ top(ish) prospect Oscar Colas. Colas should show a lot of power and and decent average, and decent D to boot. Well, to not boot. To stage left of Kwan is Myles Straw, who the Astros traded to Cleveland because he couldn’t hit. Straw has largely proven them right. The Guardians of right field are a mashup of youngsters likely to be lead by Oscar Gonzalez, who played well last year in a way that Oscar Colas could at a minimum meet but should surpass. The Sox have the better Oscar, maybe for best picture as opposed to, say, best supporting actor. And the Sox have Luis Robert Jr. And the Sox win this position.

Shortstop: White Sox over Guardians. Tim Anderson remains a star player until further notice. Amed Rosario remains a fairly average player until further notice. Rosario won’t hurt the former tribe with his bat or glove, but he’s never really shown that he can transcend anything. Nice and solidly…average. On the other side, TA has a way of carrying the Sox at the plate for long stretches and doesn’t hurt the team in the field when his head and health are in it. This really isn’t close. Sox advantage by a mile.

Third Base: Guardians over White Sox. Yoán Moncada is increasingly looking like a bust at the plate. The talent could still be there and he could reinvent himself a bit with the shift rules, but unless he develops a TA-like approach and gets those TA-like results, Yoán will remain a good glove with sporadic offense. José Ramírez remains a star player and there’s not many that can touch him. There’s no real chance YoYo beats Ramirez on the field. Now in a rap battle…hmmmm. But on the field, Guardians with a clear advantage.

Second Base: Guardians over White Sox. Andrés Giménez will always win the game of most diacritical marks in his name over Lenyn Sosa, Romy Gonzalez, and Elvis Andrus. Elvis isn’t really the player the Sox got late last year and hasn’t been a star in years, and his competition (if they are) are unknowns. Giménez spent last year sporting an .837 OPS over 146 games…so diacritical marks aren’t the only thing giving the Guardians the advantage. Don’t get any ideas, Ĺéûřŷ Ɠãŕĉĭä. Guardians win this round.

First Base: Pick ’em. Josh Naylor or Josh Bell will be joshing around with opposing players at first base for the Guardians, while Andrew Vaughn gets the Sox’ base at the Improv. In addition to Josh Naylor (and his bro Noah “Bo” Naylor) having the best porn names in baseball, Josh Naylor is coming off a breakout year where he showed significant home run power, but also platoon splits that compelled the Josh Bell signing. Bell has been maddeningly inconsistent in his career, sometimes aflame like 12 suns and sometimes colder than a pile of frozen halibut. Vaughn, meanwhile, is someone Sox fans seem to have lost their love for. It’s odd, too, because he has shown improvement every year and is now back to his more natural position portending greater comfort at the plate, thus portending greater results. By year’s end this could easily be tilted towards the Sox and heavily so. For now it is Bell’s established but inconsistent bat and Naylor’s potential versus what could/should be the best of Andrew Vaughn, and that’s a wash to start the year.

Catcher: White Sox over the Guardians. Yasmani Grandal is not dead. In fact, he’ll certainly be one of the multitudes of Sox players showing up to camp in the “best shape of his life”. Knee and back issues have plagued Yas, but when healthy he should still hit decently and benefit from the shift changes, and he still frames pitches well. Last year’s Sox starter Seby Zavala is not a fully known quantity but had been serviceable and startable. The Guardians are the latest team to roll out Mike Zunino, who is all or nothing with the bat, known for homerun power and naught else. Think Yas in 2021 but without the walks. That’s at Zunino’s best, but his best is likely past at age 31. Rookie Bo Naylor has some pedigree and should be the starter for Cleveland at some point. Naylor could be the best of the bunch here eventually, but there isn’t any guarantee that his rookie year could surpass a Yas rebound or some growth from Seby. Yas “in the best shape of…yada yada yada” and a Seby who won’t suck as hard as he’s projected are better than a rookie and a career backup. Sox win for the moment.

DH: White Sox over Guardians. Josh Bell/Josh Naylor versus Eloy Jimenez is not really a contest. Bell, as noted, has been frustratingly inconsistent as a Pirate, National, and Padre, so why wouldn’t that carry over to Cleveland? Naylor, as noted, may be Gavin Sheets with swagger and a better average. Swagger and consistency are hallmarks of Eloy when healthy, and health is the only thing that keeps Eloy from regularly being the force that he is at the plate. The best way the Sox can figure to keep him healthy is to keep him from being tempted to jump into walls, nets, other players, crashing zeppelins, etc. Hands down and feet planted, Eloy is far more complete and dangerous than Bell has ever been or that Naylor seems to be. Advantage Sox.

Egg Sucking Time? Without delving into any other advanced analytics, position by position the White Sox have the best rotation, DH, outfield, shortstop and catcher, and are tied at first base with an arrow pointing way up. Where they are behind, bullpen is the one that could hurt the Sox the most. Being behind at third base and second base on a lineup scale is mitigated a bit by the drop off between Andrew Benintendi and Myles Straw, and the possibility of the gap between Yas/Seby and Zunino/Naylor. Given the unknown of Lenyn or an allegedly re-imagined Romy, or even an Elvis comeback special, 2B or not 2B is a legit question. Maybe it is just third base and the bullpen that the Sox are really behind on. Toss in having a Cy Young runner up at the top of the rotation and a potential MVP in CF, it stands to reason that the advantage goes to the White Sox.

So what the absolute hell is PECOTA doing here? There’s no way that the Sox are worse than the Cleveland Guardians. PECOTA, go suck that egg.


And what, pray tell, is the Staff of Cork and Kerry? Scholars maintain two definitions are valid: first it is the assembled persons who provide the excellent food and drink at Cork and Kerry at the Park and Cork and Kerry Beverly. Also, same said scholars maintain that the Staff of Cork and Kerry is a weapon of mythical and fearsome power, wielded by only those of rare strength and skill, or possessing a power of spirit to rise to greatness. So hath the White Sox some such person? Not yet, anyway. The season hasn’t started, and Rick Hahn didn’t exactly overwhelm in the offseason. So out of hope, Liam Hendriks shall wield it against cancer and smite it. The fact that he’s in camp and throwing is proof that he is fighting the fight and worthy, therefore, to wield the Staff of Cork and Kerry. Good luck, Liam.


I love Southpaw, but this might be the better mascot for the Southside.
Panda image (c) Y-Van/, Sox Logo (c) MLB/Chicago White Sox

Mismatched Sox is the official companion blog to Sox in the Basement and is the ramblings of co-host Ed Siebert. Things written here are based on facts but are mainly just the opinions of one guy who has been a fan of the team for a long time and doesn’t always get a word in edgewise on his podcast. Take the ideas herein as food for thought. Salty food, usually.

As White Sox fans there is a certain level of frustration that has become expected, as with seemingly most Chicago franchises, where the team doesn’t seem to sustain success and championships are scarce. The Cubs ended a cursed drought in 2016 and are wondering if Dansby Swanson can still join Jameson Taillon to end the 2017-present drought. The Bears are trying to sell Jack Sanborn as the next great middle linebacker while hoping no one notices that Justin Fields’ career could be exciting, but much like Michael Vick and Randall Cunningham, one with no championships. The Blackhawks are a tattered remainder of their glory years, which came after a 50-year blackout. The Bulls are…is there a Jordan curse? A Krause curse? The Bulls are an annual disappointment.

But the White Sox are still, somehow, the neglected middle child of the Chicago franchises. Sox fans tend to be passionate and knowledgeable, not because of outstanding genetics or anything, but just because there are few casual Sox fans. Cubs fans range from the passionate to the people who just have happy, albeit largely fuzzy, memories of partying in Wrigleyville. Bears fans run from the diehards to people who just like day drinking on Sundays. Bulls fans still have leftovers among them who are still there long after the dynasty was killed, same with the Hawks. And each team treats their fans accordingly.

Knowing that Bears fans run a gamut, the team will always focus on a few stars for the current casual fan and remind diehard fans of the toughness and ruggedness of playing in Chicago by showing grainy slowed footage of the ’85 Bears doing things, 70’s-era Walter Payton crumpling DBs and Dick Butkus generally ragdolling QBs. The Bulls do largely the same thing, just with footage of the ’90’s Bulls using Patrick Ewing and the Knicks as their version of the Generals. The Blackhawks are still clinging to the 2010’s, and why not. The Cubs, for reasons, are still clinging to Harry Carey and his party vibe while building up their stadium and the “wait ’til next year!” mantra that served them through much of their fandom’s lives. Without sustained success, these teams can keep the casual fans coming and only need to show that there are still stars on the team, and with those stars…hope.

And there’s a fine line between marketing to a range of fans, and pandering. Pandering is trying to indulge the needs while marketing is merely promoting a thing. The Sox don’t market to their fans, not really. They have catch phrases and promotions like all teams, but they don’t market an identity like the Bears or Cubs, or history of dynastic success like the Hawks and Bulls. They don’t try and attract new casual Sox fans because unlike Wrigley, new fans aren’t going to view the White Sox game as a unique experience. Not a criticism but a fact that the White Sox stadium isn’t all that special or unique and a Sox game is much of a sameness with other MLB games. The team itself isn’t a Yankees-esque dynasty where frontrunners can bolster the fan ranks, and the players, like in all MLB teams and major sports, are fleeting. To quote Jerry Seinfeld: “You’re actually rooting for the clothes when you get right down to it.” And while the current Sox uniforms are classy as hell, and everyone looks good in black, dropping money on a Southside shersey doesn’t mean that a person is tuning in or coming to 35th and Shields.

Instead, what the Sox do, is pander to their passionate fans. Credit to Jerry for knowing that Sox fans care, but Christ on a crutch is it infuriating sometimes. And the recent winter meetings are no exception. The biggest “news” to come from the meetings was that Rick Hahn was possibly shopping Liam Hendriks. Rick himself said in a statement that basically described his job, that he has to be open-minded to roster-shaking trades. Of course he does. Even last year with the predictions of winning the central, Rick needed to be open-minded. There was a void, the fans were getting irritated, and Rick pandered by suggesting that he would consider a major trade if there is one out there to be made. No duh. He didn’t say one will be made. He didn’t commit to making one. He just said he’s going to give it due consideration. It would have been more satisfying to have Rick just say, ‘I talked to agents and the other GMs, I wasn’t able to get anything done, I’ll keep working.’ Instead, Sox Twitter and media outlets jumped on “roster-shaking trade” like there was something brewing.

And maybe there is, maybe there isn’t, it’ll be a while until we know. The closer market needs to fully form before Liam is a viable trade piece. The free agents need to be picked over in general before the trade market becomes focused. And the Sox may not match up with the teams that have needs or have surplus to trade. It isn’t as straightforward as signing free agents.

But the Sox have pandered there too. “The Money Will Be Spent” was basically tattooed on Sox fan’s foreheads as the remake of the team was in it’s lowpoint, where the MLB squad wasn’t as exciting as the minors promised to be. And when the team had Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease on the precipice, the team made their move in free agency. They did spend money, but mostly they pandered.

They pandered by not quite offering Manny Machado the contract he wanted, but crafting their offer in a way that made it sound better than it was with more potential money that they could tell to the fans, but fewer guarantees that they had to know Manny would balk at. Somehow, at the same time, they didn’t even talk to Bryce Harper, the left-handed masher they so desperately needed. But pandering to the fans, the official statement that offseason was that they were all in on Manny and were screwed out of his services.

They pandered with Zach Wheeler, a legit ace-level starter that would have been a huge addition to a rotation that had a rising Lucas Giolito and promise on promise in Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease and a healthy Carlos Rodon. As fans recall, the soon-to-be Mrs. Wheeler wanted to stay East Coast-ish and the Wheelers took less to go to Philly. A million less per year, maybe. Could the Sox, going 5 years $120+ million gone 5 years $140 million? Really blown the Phillies away? Made a Godfather offer? Yes. Did they? No. But they made a point of saying that there was at least $2 million left on the table.

They pandered with the signings that they did make. Edwin Encarnacion wasn’t needed at $11 million per year, but the name was established even though it was an old name. Dallas Keuchel was a rapidly fading star that no team would give up a draft pick to sign for the 2019 season, but he was once a Cy Young winner even though he was a shell of that in 2019. Gio Gonzalez cost $4.5 million for a player that was almost a punchline in 2019 after having been the prospect that went back and forth between the Sox and Phillies in 2005-2007. Steve Cishek cost $6 million off a dead cat bounce on his career. Money was spent, ended up being poorly spent, but at least it was spent on name brands.

In fairness, could Rick have predicted that $39 million in free agents would fail that badly? Yes, at least he should have. That’s among his jobs, to scout players before he acquires them and see if Encarnacion’s bat is slipping, see if Kuechel really has lost velocity and movement, see if Gio has anything left, and see if Cishek was lucky or somehow back to being good. And if, from a baseball standpoint, lesser free agents made sense in the 2019 offseason the GM can say we think these guys will compliment our young players, and we will try again next year to add a premium free agent. Instead, the team panders by spending because the fans wanted spending.

Even the next year, when Liam Hendriks signs, it becomes clear that Liam forced it to a degree because he wanted to be here. But Adam Eaton? Name recognition. After that, bringing back Leury as a playoff hero? Pandering. Spending all the money on Kendall Graveman, who helped oust the 2021 Sox, and Joe Kelly, who was viral for doing the crybaby motion to an opponent? Needed for the ‘pen, or signing names the fans would know?

Even the recent trades have been pandering to a degree. Lance Lynn made sense as a trade target, Cesar Hernandez was a necessity. Craig Kimbrel felt like a response to clamoring for a bigger deadline deal than Ryan Tepera, and then trading Kimbrel for A.J. Pollack felt like Rick trying to make good with angry fans.

Pandering rather than winning is a hallmark of the Jerry Reinsdorf regime. Tom Seaver in 1986? A name to show the fans who were still watching the “Winnin’ Ugly” team get slowly withered into 4th-5th place mediocrity. A post-injury Bo Jackson? A high-profile dart that worked out. Fading veterans like Jerry Reuss, Cory Snyder, Scott Sanderson, Rob Dibble, Doug Drabek, Danny Darwin, Dave Steib, Ken Hill, Ken Griffey Jr., Robbie Alomar, and others that are now forgotten were attempts at using a name to hide the shame of seasons where the team wasn’t ready to compete with youth or spend to get players at or near their prime.

When the Sox are comparitively successful, they are put together the way truly successful franchises operate. In the early 90’s, the team combined young stars with solid veterans, and even splurged on Albert Belle when it made sense. The Sox operated in the 90’s like a mid-market team by using good drafts to offset the cost of key veterans, and until the stoppage in 1994 the team was in great shape. In the 2000’s, Kenny was able to get good but not necessarily star players assembled as veteran rosters that were pretty competitive from 2000-2004, 2006 and 2008. They were really competitive in 2005 when the proverbial lightning was caught in the bottle. Those teams had no superstar per se, but rode solid guys like Paul Konerko and Mark Buehrle who were maybe underrated but definitely consistent. In the early 2000’s the team didn’t make a splash if they didn’t need to, culminating in the World Series win. But after that, the pandering to improve on the championship lead to a disappointing 2006 team that desperately needed more pitching depth and a CF, the latter of which was a hole created by sending Aaron Rowand off for the big name in Jim Thome. In 2008, the team grabbed Nick Swisher for personality and it went poorly at the end, and that was the last playoff run until 2020.

Fans have been told over and over again how the team thinks big, and how they just came up short. Occasionally the Sox bring in something exciting, but they never quite build on it. Carlton Fisk was a huge get for the team on the heels of Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn buying the club. But the 1980’s White Sox were terrible outside of 1983. The late 90’s saw Albert Belle get the biggest contract ever (at the time) and join a team that had incredibly weak pitching, which wouldn’t be fixed until 2004-2005. Even Jim Thome, a fan favorite and deservedly so, toiled from 2006-2009 on teams that were never quite good…not bad…but just not good enough.

And as Rick burned it down to model the Cubs rebuild, fans were promised sustained success and championship talent. Here, after the winter meetings of our discontent, the question is whether that was just talk. Indulge the needs by giving just enough to satisfy. So maybe, maybe there is a trade waiting that will bring it all together. Maybe one starter coming off a down year and rumors are all fans will get. Right now, all Sox fans have is the knowledge that they are being pandered to.

At least if it was done quickly it would be Pander Express.

Mismatched Sox: Anger Management

A note for those of you reading: Mismatched Sox is a weekly blog hastily thrown together by Sox in the Basement Co-Host Ed Siebert and is written to present you with White Sox and baseball thoughts in a manner that, frankly, thinks it is funny in the way that a techno remix of Tony’s postgame pressers would be funny. While there will be facts here that will be factual, the opinions and other nonsense are neither reflective of anyone at nor believed or intended to cause any harm, but consult a sleep doctor and ask if this blog is right for you.

We feel ya, bro. (C) Pixar and MLB/Chicago White Sox

As the season drifts away from the questionably fire-having 2022 White Sox, there’s a simmering anger burning deep within the loins of White Sox fandom. This loin-warming fury that is building up to frothy rabid wrath from the fans currently has multiple targets. But pitchforks and torches for multiple targets aren’t efficient. Imagine if the villagers went to Castle Frankenstein and were looking for the Baron von Dr., the monster, Igor, a handful of the castle staff, the undertaker who originally buried the corpses, the corpses’ families, and Leury Garcia. Once they found out that not everyone was at the Castle and that Leury was batting third again, there would be in-fighting among the angry mob as to who to go after and Leury would end up getting extended for two more years while the rest of the targets got away scot-free.

So for Sox fans that are building that loinal rage need to agree right here and now at whom to be mad. There’s no point in storming 35th and Shields and then standing there arguing about the culpability of ownership versus Lucas Giolito’s inability to throw back-to-back quality starts.

Speaking of ownership, let’s start with the vitriol towards Jerry Reinsdorf. It can be very easily justified given that since 1981, 41 entire years of Jerry as the Chair-y, the team has had 1 championship and 7 overall playoff appearances. That’s not…great. But then that’s also not entirely uncommon in the MLB. The Dodgers, Yankees, Braves, and a couple of other teams had runs of success where contending was the norm. Ask a Mariners fan how things were pre-Griffey Jr. and post-Griffey Jr.; the four playoff appearances the franchise has had since 1977 are still fewer than Jerry has produced on the South Side. But the narrative is that Mr. Reinsdorf won’t spend enough to woo the top-end talent and win year after year. In reality, payroll is a factor but not a guarantee. The Padres have spent like a kid who stole mom’s credit card and Amazon login, but are presently chasing the wildcard and hoping for their 7th ever playoff appearance as a franchise. And that’s the team that stole Fernando Tatis from Rick Hahn and shocked all the Kenny Williams the Sox have by signing Manny Machado. So spending and letting a GM run free isn’t always a recipe for success as an owner. As fans, the anger towards the Reinsdorf era should be the strange inability to make cold business decisions in favor of never having a former player or employee leave because they are family. The loyalty keeps players around that shouldn’t be, lands the same coaches and brain trust year in and year out, makes saying anything critical of the team a risk, and is the reason Tony is dozing his way to a third-place finish. Jerry Reinsdorf shouldn’t necessarily be the sole target of the fans’ vitriol, but he’s on the list.

On the subject of lists, the Injured List has been littered with White Sox all season. The latest? Tim Anderson and his hand. But at various times the team has been robbed of Lance Lynn, Liam Hendriks, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada, Yas Grandal, plus a number of relievers and contributors. If there is an actual injury bug, that thing needs to go. Fans could easily dispatch an actual injury bug, though there would be injuries sustained in the process. As there is no actual injury bug, then maybe the Sox training staff should wear the anger. After all, with a sustained run of full health maybe the team isn’t constantly hovering around .500 and is running away with the division. But injuries don’t explain some of the underperformance of hitters on the team. Also, some injuries are freak-like, such as Tim Anderson tearing a ligament on a check swing or Danny Mendick’s knee tearing from a collision. Some were inevitable, like the knees on Yas and Lance that are just giving up the ghost because that’s what joints start doing after 30+ years. The nagging-type things like a pulled hammy are common, but aggravating when the team is suffering multiple injuries at once. No doubt the Sox need to review their training regimens for next year, but it is hard to be mad at the injuries or blame faceless trainers for the Sox woes. That said, if the trainers are truly faceless then Jerry should be applauded for inclusive hiring but seriously, get trainers who can see and speak.

Among the Sox fans’ likely targets for unbridled irritation is a guy that seems to have his eyes closed often and mumbles a lot. Yup. Tony “Legit Hall of Fame Baseball Person” LaRussa. And Tony is a very legit hall of famer. He is one of the best to ever manage a baseball team. But he’s also a guy that looks utterly spent every game. And he makes decisions that seem…off. He makes statements about the game, the players, the clubhouse, and the greater White Sox universe that seem…off. Frankly, the ability to defend the Tony LaRussa experience is starting to wear…off. Fans will bristle at weirdly timed intentional walks and the ever-changing lineup, the maddening overuse of some players and the frustration of watching some players rot, and even decisions like not letting Michael Kopech go longer while chasing a no-no. But then, not all the moves are without some logic, and managers take the heat every year that the team doesn’t win. So getting mad at Tony is as natural as sleeping. But fans chanting for his ouster are as justified as those who, uhhh, well seeing as how firing Tony has become a point of agreement across most of MLB, there’s plenty of justified anger at his continued employment. Rather than anger, maybe some compassion is warranted. This is a once-legendary manager that has clearly lost a step from his heyday. Sometimes grandpa needs the license taken away before things get really bad. Getting mad at a guy for aging and not being what he once was is like screaming at a mirror for not showing a better-looking reflection. Tony deserves the usual anger reserved for the manager, but maybe not all of what fans are feeling. After all, Tony doesn’t have to manage next year. He will if no one in the organization says something.

So that’s Rick Hahn, right? Maybe Kenny Williams? After all, Rick is the brains behind the team and Kenny is the brains behind the Sox’s only World Series team this century. They can, at least by most understandings of an MLB front office, fire the manager and change the roster. There are always rumors that Jerry meddles in their affairs and they can’t fully act on their best-laid plans. But a true set of brains finds a way around that if it is true. Rick Hahn, in particular, is the target of fans’ vitriol and he should be. After suffering through the rebuild, fans were promised a young, hungry team that was going to have sustained success as the team maintained control of the core and would be able to spend money to fill in around them. But the team isn’t all that young, having an average age of just under 30 years old. By contrast, the division-leading Guardians have an average age of 26 years old. The difference? Only one Guardian is 33 or older, that being reliever Bryan Shaw. Meanwhile, the Sox roster has 10 guys that fit that description. Hahn has nothing much immediately ready to help from the minors and the overall farm system is low-rated. The Guardians got here in part by making hard trades of Francisco Lindor and Mike Clevinger in recent years while having their own prospects come up. The Sox made trades like that after 2016, but that was with a longer-term rebuild in mind. In a year like 2022 when the team might not go anywhere, a trade of one key player for a couple of MLB-ready prospects or controllable MLB players could set the team up for 2023 and beyond. Maybe Rick tried that, but then again maybe not. He expressed frustration at the inability to get anything going at the deadline, but that would mean that he either couldn’t part with players that other teams would give real value to get, or there are no players that Rick can get any real value for. Either way, that’s a big failure on the front office. Of course, beyond the nagging lack of a real 2B option coming into the season, fans were genuinely excited by the team as spring sprung. And there is real talent on the 40-man roster, at least on paper. And while the games themselves are played on paper, Rick’s game is all on paper. Rick Hahn isn’t in uniform and can’t make the team perform up to their potential. He deserves an office full of anger, but there’s no point in being mad at him for the players not playing.

Which brings this around to where the anger should be directed. Every time a Sox player loafs down to first or the team makes a guy with a 1.68 WHIP look like prime Randy Johnson, or a sloppy error opens up floodgates, fans should be seething. Fans will adore a try-hard team of mediocre players, but a hyped-up team of potential stars that play unfocused and sometimes lazy baseball will absolutely earn the fans’ ire. Fans can forgive the aging and relatably-bodied Lance Lynn for having a bum knee and struggling with it, but fighting hard to be better. But an arrogant and totally ineffective Dallas Keuchel should be the fans’ punching bag. To the extent that the Sox, as a whole, resemble Dallas’ attitude and not Lance’s attitude, fans are more than justified in their anger, they are downright entitled to it. But the anger shouldn’t be blanket anger. No sense in being mad at Jimmie Lambert because Lucas Giolito has seemingly regressed towards his 2018 debacle, or booing Seby Zavala each time Yoan Moncada grounds out. It isn’t fairweather fandom to be mad at the team and the players. Anyone who says otherwise probably lollygags. And no one likes a lollygagger.


For the uninitiated, The Staff of Cork and Kerry refers not just to the people who work at the premiere place to pregame and post-game and otherwise celebrate Soxdom in the shadow of the ballpark and in Beverly, but it is also a mythical weapon that can smite thine enemies faster than they can recreate the lollygaggers speech from Bull Durham.

So which White Sox was worthy enough to wield the Staff of Cork and Kerry? Andrew Vaughn’s .903 OPS shows how consistent he is in a good way. But, surprise! Yasmani Grandal has a .353 average and a 1.088 OPS over the last week. Yeah. Weird how that slid right on past everyone.

Yas, you have successfully wielded this mighty weapon of lore. Stealthily too.

Follow us @SoxInTheBasemnt for more throughout the season!

Featured Image: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Mismatched Sox: Miracle(s) Max(ed)

A note for those of you reading: Mismatched Sox is a weekly blog hastily thrown together by Sox in the Basement Co-Host Ed Siebert and is written to present you with White Sox and baseball thoughts in a manner that, frankly, thinks it is funny in the way that you can only laugh through tears. While there will be facts here that will be factual, the opinions and other nonsense are neither reflective of anyone at nor believed or intended to cause any harm, but consult a sad clown and ask if this blog is right for you.

“G’Bye! Have fun storming the playoffs! Think it’ll work? It’ll take a miracle. Bye!!” Photo (C) Buttercup Films/20th Century Fox, Sox logo (c) MLB and Chicago White Sox

Not to be too pessimistic, but the Sox seem to be in the Pit of Despair and having years of fans’ lives sucked away with every series that takes a step forward and a step or two back. They aren’t all dead, which if the team was all dead there is nothing left to do but go through the roster for loose outfielders. They may not even be mostly dead. But they are living to bluff, continually making everyone wonder if this season is a mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich (where the mutton is lean and the tomatoes are ripe…so perky) or if this season needs a miracle pill.

Here are a few miracles to ponder. Chocolate coating makes it go down easier:

THE SAVING TRADE: This would really be a major miracle. This is the opposite of the 1997 White Flag Trade, a trade that turns the team around and sparks a winning campaign. Why is this a miracle? It doesn’t always work. Generally, teams that need to drop 3-4 cards from their 5-card stud hand aren’t going to win any chips. Most effective trades aren’t along the lines of what the Sox would purport to be doing, getting multiple relievers and another starter. In 1997, the Giants did that courtesy of the White Sox and saw Wilson Alvarez and Danny Darwin be fairly pedestrian down the stretch while Roberto Hernandez was good. It led to the Giants losing in the NLDS. Last year, the Sox grabbed a decent veteran reliever on a heater in Ryan Tepera for really nothing much at the moment. Tepera was among the Sox’ most reliable pitchers. By contrast, the splash of getting Craig Kimbrel was a disaster, and Cesar Hernandez was below bleh.

The teams that benefit the most at the trade deadline are one player away from feeling whole. The 2022 Sox are not that. Can Rick Hahn trade his way into a pennant? Inconceivable.

THE BIG WIN STREAK: Waiting. Waaaaiiting. Waiting! Fans have been waiting for the Sox to go on a run of, say, 10 wins in a row to get rid of the .500 stench that has surrounded the season and grab the AL Central lead. Well, on one hand, if you rush a miracle, you get rotten miracles. On the other hand, proverbially Buttercup is marrying Humperdink in little less than half an hour. There’s a lot to do in that timeframe, and the Sox need to get going on any win streak before the Twins or Guardians run away with it. Inconceivable? Hardly. Getting on a winning streak isn’t like getting into a land war in Asia. But this team seems hard pressed to get themselves started, unable to string victories together. Maybe it is time that they admit that they are not left-handed and start trying to win.

THE REVENGE BUSINESS: In “The Princess Bride,” Inigo Montoya spends his life trying to right a wrong, namely the needless death of his father over a matter of ego, basically. He spends his life chasing the memory of a six-fingered man. Jerry Reinsdorf has a little Inigo in him…at a young age in terms of his ownership he saw a Hall of Fame manager sacked over a matter of ego, basically. He’s been chasing his revenge ever since, and finally feels like he can get the six-fingered man, a championship with Tony LaRussa. But in the movie, Inigo found his prey, but still needed multiple feats of superhuman strength, master strategy from a genius tactician, plus a large cloak and a wheelbarrow. It isn’t enough to put Tony in the dugout, as the team is finding out; they still need tactics that seem missing and they need their stars to perform some major feats of strength to succeed. So far, they haven’t shown any signs that they know where to get a cloak and a wheelbarrow.

Will getting Tony to the promised land in a Sox uniform take a miracle? Not inconceivable, but a lot of things have to come together quickly and improbably, and other people might have to take a larger role.

THE FIRE SWAMP: “We won’t survive!” “You’re just saying that because no one ever has.” Metaphorically, the playoffs are a swamp filled with flames, quicksand, and rodents of unusual sizes. And the Sox haven’t survived the past two attempts. They also have never had a third consecutive run into the playoffs in their history.

The metaphor is getting mixed here, but if the past two years were taking on a deadly terror of the swamp, then the question is whether they’ll avoid those and survive the third. The three terrors of the playoffs? The Sox so far have fallen prey to them: watching their pitching fall short, failing to get clutch hits, and having their defense fail at key moments. A third crack at it is also slipping away for this year, but if they can develop a way to dodge the things that have killed them in the past two playoffs, they can live comfortably in The Fire Swamp for some time. And then other teams can visit them if they wish to die.

Will it take a miracle to get into the playoffs, and then win in the playoffs? Not really, but the team is going to need to be vigilant and ready at all times because there’s no room for error. To think, missing the playoffs going into this season was…inconceivable.

When it comes to miracles, there’s reason to believe in them. There’s reason to doubt them. And while rushing a miracle can lead to rotten miracles, they need to hurry. Fans are coming upon the cliffs of insanity awfully quick.


For the uninitiated, The Staff of Cork and Kerry refers not just to the people who work at the premiere place to pregame and post-game and otherwise celebrate Soxdom in the shadow of the ballpark and in Beverly, but it is also a mythical weapon that can smite thine enemies faster than they can say “as you wish”.

So which White Sox was worthy enough to wield the Staff of Cork and Kerry and would make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts? Andrew Vaughn bracketed the All-Star break with a .324 AVG and .971 OPS, but Dylan Cease. The staff ace has a 0.85 WHIP and 0.00 ERA in his last two starts, with 12 K’s being somewhat muted for him, as he’s now just behind Corbin Burnes for the MLB lead, but still leads the AL in strikeouts. Should have been an All-Star too.

Dylan Cease, you have successfully wielded this mighty weapon of lore. Actually, jeez…he wields both the Mustache of Menace and the Staff of Cork and Kerry…inconceivable.

Follow us @SoxInTheBasemnt for more throughout the season!

Featured Image: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Mismatched Sox: The Fall Star Game

A note for those of you reading: Mismatched Sox is a weekly blog hastily thrown together by Sox in the Basement Co-Host Ed Siebert and is written to present you with White Sox and baseball thoughts in a manner that, frankly, thinks it is funny in the way that Savage Steve Holland made suicide attempts funny in the movie “Better Off Dead”. While there will be facts here that will be factual, the opinions and other nonsense are neither reflective of anyone at nor believed or intended to cause any harm, but consult something with raisins in it and ask if this blog is right for you. You like raisins.

Play along at home! Who are you throwing under the bus like so many dice? Fall Guy board game (C) Milton Bradley, Sox logo (C) MLB and Chicago White Sox

The Fall Guy. A TV show in the 80s starring Lee Majors as a stuntman who is also a bounty hunter. Cool truck, solid theme song sung by the show’s star. A visit with that show is a throwback to a time when Lee Majors could sing a song about making Burt Reynolds look good and it made sense. It also largely coincided with the first time Tony La Russa managed the Sox. Rumor has it that Hawk Harrelson had a hand in the show ending its run too.

The term “fall guy” is a way of saying “scapegoat.” The guy that takes the fall so that the rest of the gang stays clean. Someone has to have their head roll when things go bad, but that head has to roll in a way that has real impact and can’t just be a low-level wonk. And for the 2022 White Sox, things have gone bad. So bad, in fact, that approaching the All-Star break the biggest news wasn’t Tim Anderson starting, but the announcement to the locker room being met with the excitement usually reserved for having one’s name called at the oral surgeon. The team needed to come out battling against the Guardians, then took two meek losses before the All-Star snubbed Dylan Cease salvaged a game and Lucas Giolito returned from the upside down. The other headline? Whispers. The clubhouse is fractured. No leadership. The divisiveness reserved for the “taste great, less filling” commercials that would have filled time during The Fall Guy or the endless debate over whether a hot dog is a sandwich.

So here the 2022 season stands. Things have gone bad. It is falling apart. And either the whole team needs to fall, or a fall guy is needed. And since Lee Majors is in his 80’s and not doing stunts or bounty hunting, at least in all likelihood, the fall guy for the 2022 Sox needs to be one of them.

Looking at the contributors to this disappointment, there’s gotta be more than a few candidates. Maybe a few heads will roll. Maybe one. Here’s a case for and against each.

The Front Office

Rick Hahn, GM: On one hand, he built the team, and to the extent that there are holes in the lineup or rotation or bullpen, that’s on Rick. On the other hand, rumor has long had it that Tony and Jerry overruled Rick on some moves and capped his ability to bid on certain players.

IS HE THE FALL GUY? 50% chance. GMs get fired all the time as a scapegoat, and Rick has his hands dirty here but could be given a chance to finish the job in the second half, or 2023.

Ken(ny) Williams, Exec. VP: On one hand, he has some pull in the team’s operations. On the other hand, he’s been awfully quiet.

IS HE THE FALL GUY? 10% chance. Maybe if Hahn gets the boot and they clean house, but Kenny’s been behind the scenes too much to make a statement.

Jerry Reinsdorf, Owner/Chairman: BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no he won’t be going anywhere until he’s called to the great beyond.

Chris Getz, Asst. GM: On one hand, he is tasked with player development and the farm system has been less than helpful this year beyond Seby Zavala and Davis Martin; blaming the player development for wrecking the plan seems plausible. On the other hand, the upper minors are a somewhat expected trash bin while there are better prospects down below, so what’s he supposed to do? He develops the players, he doesn’t Getz them.

IS HE THE FALL GUY? 40% chance. Could be the type that Getz “reassigned” as a sacrificial lamb to show that the team is doing something.

Coaching Staff

Tony La Russa, Manager: On one hand, he’s the guy that has made the weird choices and lineups, may have lost control of the clubhouse, and is the legit hall of fame baseball person that was supposed to do for the Sox what Joe Maddon was for the Cubs (be better than Ricky Renteria). On the other hand, he’s Jerry’s guy; there’s a chance that he gets to manage out the lost season and then step down under his own steam.

IS HE THE FALL GUY? 50% chance. Firing the manager is the layup move in a disappointing season (see the Blue Jays, Phillies, and Angels this year), but Tony has something that most managers don’t in the love of the owner.

Frank Menechino, Hitting Coach: On one hand, the offense has been bad, and early season oddities like Gavin Sheets trying to ground one towards third instead of lifting the ball to right smacks of the hitting coach. On the other hand, injuries and Leury Garcia, so the deck was stacked.

IS HE THE FALL GUY? 90% chance. He’s not a beloved former Sox player and an easy scapegoat.

Ethan Katz, Pitching Coach: On one hand, he has been the guy credited with turning around Lucas Giolito and developing Dylan Cease into his current dominance, though Giolito is struggling. On the other hand, the struggling pitchers may be suffering physically more so than mechanically, as Lynn and Kopech might have worse knees than is being discussed while Joe Kelly spent a decent amount of time hurt, and Giolito seems more physically off than whatever he was in 2018. Katz is a coach, not a doctor.

IS HE THE FALL GUY? 65% chance. He’s a guy that could be fired easily, but he’s actually helped some guys and may not be able to fix what’s ailing the team.

Miguel Cairo, Bench Coach: On one hand, he could be propping up Tony better and has a big hand in being able to right the ship regardless of Tony. On the other hand, he may be a hologram.

IS HE THE FALL GUY? 50% chance. The biggest issue is that firing Cairo might not be enough of a splash because “Bench Coach” isn’t sexy or public enough to satiate fans’ desires for blood.

“Super Joe” McEwing, 3B Coach: On one hand, he has gotten more guys thrown out at home than Tinder. On the other hand, he may be using his mental powers to keep Tony going.

IS HE THE FALL GUY? 75% chance. He goes if Tony goes and maybe gets the boot to save Tony.

Daryl Boston, 1B Coach: On one hand, he’s Daryl Boston. On the other hand, he’s Daryl Boston.

IS HE THE FALL GUY? 0% chance. He’s Daryl Boston.

Curt Hasler/Howie Clark/Jerry Narron: These guys are probably safe as their roles are too small to make a difference, but if there’s a culling they’ll be caught in the net.


Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Johnny Cueto, Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease, Davis Martin, Starters: Dallas Keuchel was already sacrificed to the altar of fan disappointment. Cueto, Cease, and Martin have done all that can be expected of them or more. Lynn was hurt and has struggled in his return but has only a small sample to look at. Kopech was nasty at the start and has cooled off but there’s a chance he’s hurt. That leaves Giolitio, who has struggled but without any obvious injuries or changes to his approach. But the Sox aren’t releasing Giolito and a trade now seems like it wouldn’t maximize the return.

ANY FALL GUYS? No, but Lynn, Giolito, and Kopech could all see the IL to protect them.

Liam Hendriks, Joe Kelly, Kendall Graveman, Reynaldo Lopez, Jose Ruiz, Tanner Banks, Relievers: There are others, but these are the guys that have been either key players or at the very least, the guys that have been the constants to start the year. Of them, Hendriks, Graveman, Lopez, and to a degree Banks have all been at their best or at least their norms. Kelly was prepackaged with an injury and hasn’t been what his baseball card would say he ought to be. Ruiz has been, well, himself…for whatever that is.

ANY FALL GUYS? Kelly, maybe. But there’s more likely another stay on the IL than a DFA.


Yasmani Grandal, Reese McGuire, Seby Zavala: Grandal has been hurt and ineffective, McGuire has been as advertised for better or worse, while Zavala has been solid all around. Hard to lay the blame when a catcher in his 30s has physical issues, or when a guy shows that he is a good defender with an okay stick, or when a fringe prospect puts it together to act like a legit starter.

IS THERE A FALL GUY? No chance. McGuire could be gone just because Zavala took the gig from him, but that’s routine rather than sending a message.


Leury Garcia, Josh Harrison, Jake Burger, Yoan Moncada, Jose Abreu, Andrew Vaughn, Tim Anderson, Danny Mendick: Lenyn Sosa wasn’t here long enough to matter. TA has been himself at the plate, by and large, but a bit less himself in the field where some spotlight errors were at issue early on. Jose Abreu was cold early but has been on fire of late. Vaughn has been among the team’s best players along with Jake Burger. Mendick was having his best year before getting knocked out in an unfunny comedy of errors. That leaves the big off-season signings and Yoan Moncada. Leury is a favorite of Tony’s and has been in the rough situation of being put in big spots where he was set up to fail, along with getting a huge contract for a utility guy. Harrison was cold early but has been better lately, and was always one of the best gloves on the team. Moncada is in the throes of his second straight down year after the Covid-truncated 2020. His glove is sound but the hitting breakout of 2019 is starting to look like a product of the happy fun ball and less like a breakout.

IS THERE A FALL GUY? Dropping Leury off to another team would send a message, but a trade involving Moncada would shake up the team’s core in a way that could be a wake-up. The problem is maximizing value, but Moncada would make a heck of a fall guy.


Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Adam Engel, Gavin Sheets, A.J. Pollock: Adam Haseley’s biggest contribution was ruining Danny Mendick, but his departure wouldn’t be impactful enough to be a fall guy. Eloy’s injury has him looking like a man of glass, but in his return, he’s been fine. Engel and Sheets have been off and on effective, with Gavin spending time on the farm. Robert hasn’t been as dominant as projected but has been one of the team’s best. Pollock…a streaky guy who has been streaky, and possibly used improperly. But he was the last piece of the puzzle, improbably acquired from the Dodgers for Craig Kimbrel.

IS THERE A FALL GUY? A.J. might be a guy that gets moved even if the team is somehow still in it at the deadline. His trade wouldn’t have the impact of trading, say, Eloy. But it would be moving a useful veteran off of a supposed contender.

Fall Guys Finale

Tony and the coaching staff would seem to be the obvious choices, but then this team has seemingly become allergic to making an obvious choice. Instead, they could decide to fire Rick and have Kenny or Chris Getz take over the GM role and try and salvage the second half. That seems unlikely too, given that the team values a guy like Rick more than any player. So, if there is the definitive Fall Guy, who is it? A supposed core of the team, a member of the flailing offense, a key guy on the roster…coming soon to a TV near you, The Fall Guy, starring Yoan Moncada.


For the uninitiated, The Staff of Cork and Kerry refers not just to the people who work at the premiere place to pregame and post-game and otherwise celebrate Soxdom in the shadow of the ballpark and in Beverly, but it is also a mythical weapon that can smite thine enemies faster than they can say “the Sox waste another opportunity”.

So which White Sox was worthy enough to wield the Staff of Cork and Kerry and put down the opposition? Jose Abreu continues to rake after continuing to rake, .375 avg with an OPS of .957, which is just Pito being Pito in the warm months. There, lurking like an oncoming storm, is La Pantera. Luis Robert pounded a 1.043 OPS over a .357 avg. over the past week, a key week at that.

Luis Robert, you have successfully wielded this mighty weapon of lore.

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Featured Image: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Mismatched Sox: A Hump Day to Get Over the Hump

A note for those of you reading: Mismatched Sox is a weekly blog hastily thrown together by Sox in the Basement Co-Host Ed Siebert and is written to present you with White Sox and baseball thoughts in a manner that, frankly, thinks it is funny in the way that a double entendre is funny. While there will be facts here that will be factual, the opinions and other nonsense are neither reflective of anyone at nor believed or intended to cause any harm, but consult a camel and ask if this blog is right for you.

Get over a different hump, fellas. Photo by John O’Neill, original sans Sox bling (logo (c) M:B and Chicago White Sox).

On a hump day in early July, the White Sox were still a team that some said just needed to get over the hump. They needed a key win, or to get healthy. They needed something that would just get them past the malaise that had been the 2022 season.

If they could just get over the hump. The hump, of course, is a mythical thing. There’s no real hill to climb or bumps in the road to a championship. There’s no actual road. There’s just a string of games, and prior to the 10-inning win over the Twins on July 6, more of those games had been poorly played losses than not. But that hump day win was a change from those earlier losses. Maybe…juuuuuuuuuussst maybe…that mythical hump was hopped over. Here’s how they may have done it.

THE POWER. Home runs were not supposed to be a problem for this team. But, to date, the team had been bad at hitting them. Even after three clutch bombs, the team has 65 homers through 80 games. That’s bottom five in MLB. One player, Jose Abreu, is in double digits with 10. Luis Robert has nine. Andrew Vaughn and Jake Burger each have eight. But Yas Grandal has two. Eloy has two in 12 games. Reese McGuire has nada in 46 games. Yoan Moncada has only three and Gavin Sheets has five. The Sox are top five in batting average and over 80 games are just outside the top five in hits, but there’s no power. A team SLG of .380 is bad. In fact, the White Sox as a team are basically Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo. If that name fails to inspire any confidence, well, so have the White Sox. The return of a healthy Eloy Jimenez and Yasmani Grandal adds a potential combined 60-homer duo to the lineup, replacing, in particular, a lack of reliable power in Reese McGuire and Seby Zavala, and lesser power in Adam Engel or A.J. Pollock. Does it bode well that Robert and Vaughn joined the parade on the hump day hump hop? Only if they sustain.

THE ‘PEN. There was a curious issue with the Sox through the first ten extra inning affairs. As the home team, they always gave up that top o’ the 10th run. Or a few runs. When they did win, it was either after some give and take in the 10th on, or they were the visitors, and a score at the top led to Liam at the bottom. But Jose Ruiz, faced with a hump to hop, did something smart that had been missing in the prior games, most recently days before against the Twins. Ruiz didn’t give leadoff hitter Jose Miranda anything to hit. That walk, a K, and a double play, and the inning ended. More often than not, that top of the 10th had been a quick base hit, scoring the ghost runner and then either more or shutting it down. And where there was more, like against the Twins when they lit up Joe Kelly, that’s just a loss. But giving up that cheapy in the 10th to the visitors was unneeded, especially when the opponents would do things like intentionally walk a White Sox hitter to set up a double play. Or with the Sox’ base running, maybe even a triple play. Matt Foster getting hit, Kendall Graveman giving up a run both hurt. But overall there needs to be a clutch gene with a bullpen and strategy and going forward that needs to continue. Guys will get knocked around by good teams. But at the end of the game, when time is short and the opportunities to win are short, that’s when the team needs to be smart. Maybe Jose Ruiz got lucky, but hopefully, this hump day hump hop happened not haphazardly.

THE RESILIENCY. After Tim Anderson struck out in the 10th to end the July 4 festivities, he didn’t try and run to first even though the ball had kicked clear of Gary Sanchez. The team looked defeated in both run differential and mental fortitude. But come hump day, there was an energy. The Twins kept charging, but the Sox came back until they finally plated that winning run. There was fortitude. Attitude. No interludes of ineptitude. The Sox didn’t brood. And in the end, they weren’t screwed. Dude. Was that all there for the entirety of the season? Not really, but not entirely no. They had walked a few teams off and had extra inning wins. Not every victory was easy. Tony had talked about the team being together early on and that they cared. But the perception that they didn’t have any resiliency came from moments like TA not running it out, the stupidity of the 8-5 triple play, or the myriad of losses that looked like the team was sleepwalking because their talent was superior. If the talent is there, then the effort must be to blame in a below .500 team.

Either way, the impact of the hump day hump hop is either emergence of the team’s heart where the heart had been missing or validation to the team that their resilience, when tested, can be rewarded instead of another loss being served. Either way, a potential mental kick in the sliding shorts. A heartened hump day hump hop happy happening.

THE HEALTH. So can a back-and-forth walk-off notable for the return of one of the team’s biggest stars and personalities be a catalyst to a winning streak and a return to contention this year? Yes, yes it can. In 2005 the Sox were 35-17 at the end of May, four games up. Frank Thomas came back June 1 and went nuts, and by the end of June, the Sox were 53-24 and 10 games up. So can Eloy coming back on July 6 have the team go from under .500 and in third place to over .500 and pushing for first place? Depends on how often he publicly says hi to his mom in July. The injured list remains crowded for this team, but Eloy’s return seems like the biggest one that the team could ask for. Happy hi mom hump day hump hop health.

There is, gasp, reason for optimism after all. But this is just conjecture that a hard-fought game over the division leader in the midst of a season-defining run can be the catalyst to make a championship run. It could just be a fun game in a lost season. Here’s hoping hump day hump hop holds happiness, however, heed heartbreak’s harbingers.


For the uninitiated, The Staff of Cork and Kerry refers not just to the people who work at the premiere place to pregame and post-game and otherwise celebrate Soxdom in the shadow of the ballpark and in Beverly, but it is also a mythical weapon that can smite thine enemies faster than they can say “Hi Mom”.

So which White Sox was worthy enough to wield the Staff of Cork and Kerry and give what for to his baseball opponents? Jose Abreu continues to rake, .375 avg with an OPS of 1.006, which is just Pito being Pito in the warm months. However, his gaze of disbelief is either leveled at his team’s brainfarts or at Seby Zavala going bonkers and hitting .500 with an OPS of 1.154 over the last week. Yas who? Bless you.

Seby Zavala, you have successfully wielded this mighty weapon of lore.

Follow us @SoxInTheBasemnt for more throughout the season!

Featured Image: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports