Strengths: Young talent. Despite losing 99 games in 2013, the Chicago White Sox have a decent squad. Dayan Viciedo in left and Avisail Garcia are solid corner outfielders that can hold down the positions for many years to come. Adam Dunn is getting near the twilight of his career, but on the rare occasion he makes contact with at baseball, it still go really far. The infield is decent, but the real strength is the ace, Chris Sale, and closer, Addison Reed. Those two are as talented a young duo as there is.
Weaknesses: First Base and future talent. The White Sox have the start of a good team, and the arrow would be looking up, if they had any talent in the minor league system. The trade that sent Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox brought Avisail Garcia and prospect Brandon Jacobs to the White Sox. Currently on MLB.com’s list, Jacobs is listed as the team’s seventh best prospect. When he was in the Red Sox system, he regularly sat in the late twenties and early thirties in terms of prospects….the Red Sox system is good, but that is a massive gap in talent. Now, first base is a mess. The depth chart lists Jose Abreu as the first baseman, a 26 year old player yet to make his big league debut who is not even considered a prospect.
Off-Season Needs: I usually love looking at what teams could do to improve, but I am at a loss here for the White Sox. Clearly they need to add a first baseman, and I can’t even go with my typical Mike Morse move here because he is too much like a right handed Adam Dunn. So I move to James Loney, but Loney just had a decent year and is likely looking for multiple years, but isn’t really the type of guy the White Sox need. If I were the White Sox, I would sign Clint Barmes and Mark Reynolds, trade Alexei Ramirez for upper minors depth, and then look to deal Reynolds during the season if he is having a decent year.
2014 Projection: The White Sox will be the second to last place team in the AL Central. They are better than the Minnesota Twins, and just good enough to not earn a top five pick in the 2015 draft, but they also aren’t good enough to really contend. I see them hanging around at the All-Star break, giving fans in Chicago some false hope, before completely falling apart and dropping fast in the standings.