Strong off-season fuels interest, hopes for White Sox

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The White Sox have had a busy and interesting off-season. After a lot of changes spending over $200 million on signing players, they are looking to be a playoff contending team, and fans, including many at Mount Carmel, are noticing.

One of the many signings is Dallas Keuchel, a left handed pitcher with a career ERA of 3.75. He played with the Braves last season and was with the Astros in 2017 when they won the World Series. Keuchel was a two-time All-Star with the Astros as well. He signed a three-year contract for $55.5 million as a free agent, adding to the team’s previous signing of lefty Lucas Giolito.

The Sox also signed catcher Yasmani Grandal for a four-year contract for $73 million. Grandal’s batting average last season with the Brewers was .246 with 28 home runs, as he helped them the Wild Card game even without their best player, Christian Yelich. Grandal was aa All-Star last year as well in 2015 with the Dodgers. He will likely be replacing James McCann as starting catcher and should be an upgrade to the lineup.

Edwin Encarnacion signed a one-year, $12 million dollar deal with the White Sox. He is a veteran player at the age of 37, but doesn’t let his age stop him from being a good player. His batting average with the Yankees last year was .244, with 34 home runs. A big slugger, he w ill be a great addition to the batting order. Encarnacion has been a three time All-Star during his career.

To help out with out in the field the Sox signed Nomar Mazara to a one-year contract for $5.56 million. Mazara is a young player who still is developing and is left handed for batting and throwing. His batting average last year was .268 with 20 home runs. He was the starting right fielder for the Texas Rangers in 2019.

Gio Gonzalez also signed a one-year deal for $5 million. Gonzalez, who played with Grandal last year with the Brewers, was another reason they were able to make the Wild Card without Yelich. His ERA last year was 3.50.  Gonzalez is a veteran pitcher with 12 years of experience and has shown consistent stats. He will probably be apart of the starting rotation for pitching and will contribute a lot this year.

The last new player the Sox signed was Steve Cishek. He signed a one-year contract for 6 million dollars. Cishek is familiar with Chicago because he played with the Cubs last year. He is a relief pitcher who has kept an ERA of 3.00 or lower for the past four years.

I addition to the new players, the White Sox also extended Jose Abreu’s contract for three more years. Abreu has been the face of the Sox for many years, and is loved not only by the team but the fans as well. He is a 32 year old slugger with 33 home runs last year and an batting average of .284.

Coming off of the injury list is Michael Kopech. Before his injury, Kopech had an impressive debut for the Sox in 2018, and clocked in a pitch of 110 mph.  If he returns to form, he can easily hit triple digits for his pitches. He is at the end of his recovery, so he won’t most likely be in the starting rotation immediately, but will slowly make his way back as the season proceeds.

An old face for the White Sox, Nicky Delmonico, also has a chance to return to the Sox. Delmonico only played 21 games with the Sox last year due to injury, and initially the Sox terminated his contract, apparently thinking that he wouldn’t be able to return. Luckily, Delmonico’s surgery was successful and his recovery has gone well. As a result, the Soxhave  offered him a minor league contract.

Finally, minor league prospect Luis Robert signed a long term deal and looks ready to graduate to the majors. Roberts plays outfield and batted .328 last year in the minors, with 32 home runs.  Still just 21, his career is just getting underway..

With all the changes and additions, many Mount Carmel students are excited about their favorite team and looking forward to the season.

Senior Diego Torres is totally on board. 

“I think they did amazing; (spending) about $200 million is what the GM needed to do for a long time. I think this is the first step of a true rebuild this season, and considering last year we were predicted to be in last but grabbed third place, I’m hoping to see the Sox grab at least the wild card this year.”

Torres’ classmate, Xavier Nolasco, is equally impressed.

“The White Sox did a great job this offseason; by far had the best offseason of any team this year.”

Like Torres, Nolasco predicts there are great things in store for the Sox in the near future.

“I know the White Sox will be a force to reckon with for many years to come. I am expecting many championships and great playoff runs.”

Senior Basie Mollett agrees – mostly.

“I think a wild card birth is definitely in the picture. Their offseason moves, (especially) Grandal and Robert, were good. But I’m not a big fan of the Keuchel or Encarnacion moves because of age. Both seem to be on a decline.” 

Finally, like many Sox die-hards, senior Cesar Sanchez measures the success of his favorite team by a different standard.

“Be better than the Cubs. That’s all that matters.”

Batting Order

  1. Yoan Moncada
  2. Tim Anderson
  3. Jose Abreau
  4. Yasmani Grandal
  5. Edwin Encarnacion
  6. Eloy Jimenez
  7. Nomar Mazara
  8. Luis Roberts
  9. Danny Mendick

Pitching Order 

  1. Lucas Giolito
  2. Dallas Keuchel
  3. Reynaldo Lopez
  4. Gio Gonzalez
  5. Dylan Cease

Projected lineups from CBS Sports and subject to change at anytime.