White Sox Team Preview

Posted by Jonathan @ RGB Cards | Posted in ,

Chicago White Sox
Last season: 79-83 (3rd in AL Central)
This season: 2nd in AL Central

Key acquisitions: Juan Pierre (trade, L.A. Dodgers); Omar Vizquel (free agent); Mark Teahen (trade, Kansas City); J.J. Putz (free agent); Andruw Jones (free agent)
Departures: Jermaine Dye (free agent); Josh Fields (trade, Kansas City); Chris Getz (trade, Kansas City); Dewayne Wise (free agent, Philadelphia)

Last year's White Sox were (to me, anyway) surprisingly a below-.500 team. This year, Kenny Williams revamped half of last year's lineup. Gone are the ancient Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye. In their place are the slightly less-ancient Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones. Dewayne Wise, replacement-level at best, didn't want to go to AAA and caught on with Philly, opening up a spot for Alex Rios.

In the infield, the Sox decided it was time to cut bait on Chris Getz and Josh Fields, packaging them to Kansas City for Moneyball hero Mark Teahen. But wait, Teahen plays third base! Isn't there a certain AL ROY who has that spot for the South Siders? Well, we're getting to that...

Key player (based on the cards I have in my collection): Gordon Beckham

Last year's AL Rookie of the Year faces a new challenge beyond the average sophomore slump - a switch to a new position. Beckham, a natural shortstop, broke into the big last season as a third baseman. But with the acquisition of Teahen, Beckham is facing his third position in as many years, with a shift to second base. Can the former Georgia Bulldog get used to turning double plays from the other side of the diamond? How will he be able to balance the fact that American League pitchers have cottoned on to him with the demands of the Keystone Sack? Can the Bulldogs' all-time home run leader improve on his 15 homers and 63 RBI?  (That last question depends on where in the lineup Ozzie Guillen puts him)

As you can see, there's a lot of questions surrounding James Gordon Beckham III. And the answers will have a lot to do with how well his team performs.

The Bottom Line:
The White Sox' big moves came last year, when they acquired Jake Peavy and, to a lesser extent, Alex Rios. This off-season was about plugging holes, with Teahan and Beckham an upgrade over last seasons Opening Day second and third basemen, Getz and Fields. The Sox need their new look outfield to come up big time - how much do Pierre and Jones have left in the tank?

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