White Sox In Review: Done and Dunn

2011 Expectations:

Coming off a 2010 second place finish, the White Sox made a splash by signing perhaps the second biggest everyday name on the market in Adam Dunn.  Going into this season, the White Sox were expected to challenge the Twins and perhaps the Tigers for the division crown.  Several famous bridge salesmen also told us that ace Jake Peavy was 100% healthy, and he was expected to anchor a strong staff that included John Danks, Mark Buehrle and Gavin Floyd.  The bullpen was supposed to be solid with Matt Thornton, Chris Sale and the addition of Jesse Crain.  It seemed that Ozzie Guillen had a team that was poised to make a serious charge at the division.

What went right:

The White Sox started out fast, then slumped terribly before halfway getting themselves back in the race subsequent to the Tigers historic run.  Paul Konerko had his typical solid season, proving to be one of the leagues most underrated stars.  He batted .300 with 31 HR and 105 RBI.  A.J. Prierzynski, Alexi Ramirez and Juan Pierre all had moments, and Carlos Quentin was having a decent season before missing the last month due to injury.  Mark Buehrle was as dependable as ever, leading the staff in wins and ERA.  Reclamation project Phil Humber showed some flashes, Chris Sale improved late in the season.

What went wrong:

Adam Dunn epitomized the season for the White Sox, proving he wasn’t ready for prime time (aka The American League) to the entire world.  After signing a bazillion dollar contract, Dunn proceeded to take a proverbial dump on the sacred US Cellular field nearly everytime he played.  Let’s put it this way…he was envious of Brandon Inge’s batting average.  Dunn batted .159 with a mere 12 HRs and 42 RBI before being mercifully benched, thus preventing him from getting enough qualifying at-bats to have the worst season ever for a hitter.  White Sox fans, however, know it existed.  Not to be overlooked, the White Sox counted far too heavily on Jake Peavy being an ace.  Relying on Jake Peavy for anything more than advice on who the best doctors in the Chicagoland area are, is sheer madness.  They paid for it.  Peavy was in and out of the rotation, but it didn’t matter cause when he was in he stunk.  Gavin Floyd and John Danks failed to elevate their games and the bullpen was beyond awful, especially early in the season as an epic quest for a closer was underway.  All current and former top prospects (Gordon Beckman, Brett Morel, Dayan Viciedo) failed to provide much oh, and Alex Rios was really crappy too.  The White Sox played terrible at home and the fan base rightfully gave up as Ozzie Guillen was mercifully shown the door.

Team Strengths:

They still have Paul Konerko under contract so at least there’s something.  I’m fully convinced that Chris Sale will develop into a top end closer in the league.  He consistently got better during his first full season in Chicago.  Past that, there’s not too much to like about the White Sox going forward.  It got really ugly, really quick.  Look for them to try to make another splash in free agency, this time for a starter.

Team Weaknesses:

A lot.  Adam Dunn is on the hook for a long, long time, as is Alex Rios.  Outside of Buerhle, the staff is filled with a bunch of bottom of the rotation type guys and their young players haven’t developed yet.  For a team that had World Series aspirations six months ago, it doesn’t look very pretty at all.

Pending free agents:

Signing Mark Buerhle should be a priority, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him leave to a National League team where he may shine.  Calos Quentin still has value if he’s healthy, but might be another guy who’ll leave for greener pastures.  Phil Humber will be a free agent and definitely warranted some looks with his season.  Juan Pierre will be gone.

Team Needs:

Youth is the biggest need.  The White Sox are old.  Very old.  They need Morel and Viciedo to live up to their potential and Beckham needs to have an Alex Gordon-like awakening.  Outside of that, they need dependable help for Konerko in their lineup, who was a one man wrecking crew this season and somehow, they need to find an ace.  It’s time to give up on Peavy.

Outlook:

Time to rebuild.  The White Sox need a new face, which will come in the form of a new manager.  Still, without some massive improvements, it’s hard to predict a contender for at least a couple of years on the south side of Chicago.

Tags: Adam Dunn AJ Prierzynski Alex Rios Alexi Ramirez Carlos Quentin Chicago White Sox Chris Sale Gordon Beckham Jake Peavy John Danks Juan Pierre Mark Buehrle Ozzie Guillen Paul Konerko

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