South Side Spring Training 5: White Sox Win Championship

1. The break Nate Jones and David Robertson took from White Sox camp to help the US win the World Baseball Classic is officially over after the team’s 8-0 win over Puerto Rico in Wednesday’s title game. The two and a half weeks and eight games the US played over that period provided them with less work than either pitcher would’ve had otherwise — Jones tossed four innings and Robertson pitched 4.2, including getting the final outs in Wedneday’s win — but the work they did put in was, of course, much higher leverage than a random inning’s work against a bunch of Diamondbacks minor leaguers on a Monday afternoon.

Given that neither embarrassed himself on the mound, allowing just a run each in four appearances, nor did they say anything stupid, get injured, and wound up on the winning side, it’s fair to say it was a successful trip for the duo. The Sox got both regular work in the few games before the WBC began and we’ll see if the Sox choose to get either into a Cactus League game again during the week of action remaining before Opening Day.

2. We’re closing in on single digit days remaining until the season begins, and the White Sox have made a number of cuts to their Spring Training roster, including sending heralded prospects Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and Carson Fulmer down earlier this week.

Those five were joined on Wednesday by another round of similarly unsurprising cuts, with Adam Engel, Wrestling Enthusiast Tommy Kahnle, Jace Fry, and Roberto Pena being reassigned to minor league camp. The Sox spring roster is now at 37.

3. The one guy who has survived those cuts thus far who may be a bit surprising is Jacob May, who seems to be at least in the mix for the major league roster, if not as the starting center fielder at least for a spot on the bench. The White Sox have three outfielders remaining on the roster who can play center field in May, Peter Bourjos, and Leury Garcia.

May has gotten plenty of playing time this spring and taken advantage of the opportunity, hitting .340/.367/.511 in 47 at-bats (second most on the team). That, of course, means very little, and May is not at all far removed from an underwhelming first pass at Triple-A when he hit .266/.309/.352 in 321 plate appearances. But the injury to Charlie Tilson bumped him up a notch on the depth chart and when you consider the alternatives — a 30-year-old Bourjos or Garcia and his .462 career OPS in 331 major league plate appearances — it makes sense for the Sox to take a closer look, regardless of the outcome.

4. It took some creativity for the White Sox and Tim Anderson to come to terms on the six-year, $25 million extension the shortstop inked on Tuesday. The deal will keep Anderson in Chicago through at least 2022, with options for 2023 and 2024, and showed once again the White Sox’ eagerness to lock up players they think can be major players on their next contender.

The circumstances surrounding the team at the time of Anderson’s deal, compared to those given to Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and Adam Eaton in the past, are obviously different, but this is a clear signal that the White Sox have big expectations for Anderson’s role in their future. And with a plethora of young talent coming up behind him, it’s reasonable to assume they’ll have similar goals as the new core transitions into major league roles.

5. Nick Schaefer and I were given an opportunity to write the White Sox season preview for BP’s main site, which you should totally read here. The theme of this year’s series was “Looking Back on Tomorrow,” meaning essentially, for what will this year’s team be most remembered?

It’s easy to look at this year’s team and feel sanguine. Despite the absence of hope for the 2017 team specifically, there’s been an air of optimism for the future, because of the amount of young talent we’ve all gotten our first glimpse of during camp. But the thing I keep coming back to is “just keep going.” And I don’t mean that in the sense of “get as bad as possible, go full Astros, Cubs, Braves.” Maybe that’s not the path the White Sox take. And maybe it’s not the path they need to take. Having multiple 100-loss seasons in a row isn’t always necessary. What is necessary is that whatever direction the White Sox choose, whatever decisions they make, that they stick to them and continue down that path. The start of this rebuild is important, but it’s seeing it through to fruition that will matter in the long run.

Lead Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo/USA Today Sports Images

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1 comment on “South Side Spring Training 5: White Sox Win Championship”


The season preview was well done except for one quibble: Jon Garland was acquired in a trade sending Matt Karchner to the Cubs.

That is the kind of trade Theo Epstein has been making the last couple years with the Cubs that put them over the top. Of the remaining lesser-value vets the Sox have (Melky, Robertson, maybe Frazier) they need at least one trade that nets that kind of return. It’s one thing to trade all-stars for a package of prospects, it’s another to trade a marginally useful piece for a prospect that eventually pays dividends.

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