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White Sox Tue Feb 19 2013

White Sox Begin Spring Training After Quiet Offseason

Sox_200.pngThis offseason, I waited for the White Sox to jump into the hot stove action and make some moves. Then, mid-February suddenly rolled around. Not exactly a flurry of transactions on the South Side.

Not like I expected the Sox to turn into the Dodgers, or even a half-decent facsimile of them. I knew Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton wouldn't be heading here (no one did), and even when Michael Bourn was lingering for eons on the open market, I knew the Sox wouldn't pounce on him either. The Sox never really pursue big-name free agents.

I thought they might jump on a sneaky free agent signing, though. Like grabbing an innings-eating pitcher who might be due for a breakout season, or an outfielder who isn't flashy but has a solid batting eye and high OBP. I even thought they might go after a guy on a down year, a reclamation project with low risk and a high reward. Someone under-the-radar, on the cheap.

Nah.

New GM Rick Hahn made a splash by giving Jake Peavy a two-year, $29 million extension and picking up Gavin Floyd's $9.5 million option. Other than that, and inking Jeff Keppinger to fill a hole at third base, the Sox did nothing.

The story was whom they lost. Longtime clubhouse leader AJ Pierzynski signed with Texas, and the ChiSox lost every in-season acquisition from last season - Kevin Youkilis, Brett Myers and Francisco Liriano.

Each offseason move the Sox did make was defensible and understandable. AJ had a career year in 2012, so his numbers could dip this year. Youk got a nice payday from New York (Keppinger will get one-third of Youk's $12 million salary annually), Myers wanted a chance to start again, and Liriano could be considered a bullet dodged after his Christmas shenanigans.

The Sox are fine with what they have. Their rotation (Sale, Peavy, Danks, Floyd and Quintana) is solid if John Danks is healthy and if Jose Quintana can repeat his solid output (6-6, 3.76 ERA) from last year. The bullpen (Reed, Thornton, Crain and Jones) is good, and if fireballer Nate Jones gets a bigger role, even better. The lineup is virtually the same squad that scored 748 runs last year.

There is some room for improvement with this roster, but no glaring holes... yet. As we move into Spring Training, the focus will be on who the Sox have as opposed to who they might have gotten.

 
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