The Chicago White Sox did not collapse down the stretch as much as run out of gas near the finish line. Robin Ventura’s crew tried to hold off the favored Tigers until a 4-11 finish dropped them from the postseason picture. In charge of retooling the ChiSox this offseason was new GM Rick Hahn who took over from longtime GM Kenny Williams.
Hahn described the signing of starting pitcher Jake Peavy as “the lynchpin of our offseason plan.” Despite his 11-12 record Peavy had a bounceback year reminiscent of his old Padre days. After throwing just 219.2 innings in 2010 and 2011, Peavy made 32 starts and pitched 219 innings in 2012, posting 1.10 WHIP and a .234 batting average against. Peavy was signed to a two year $29 million extension shortly after the 2012 season.
Jeff Keppinger could probably bat around .280 and slug close to .400 in his sleep. The right handed hitting utility player is steady and dependable. He was signed to a $12 million three year deal and will replace the departed Kevin Youkilis at third base. Keppinger had a strong season with Tampa Bay in 2012 hitting 9 home runs and driving in 40 runs with an OPS of .806 in 418 at bats.
The White Sox have been waiting three years for second baseman Gordon Beckham to regain the form of his rookie season in 2009. Apparently his 16 home runs in 2012 bought him one more year at $2.95 million.
The White Sox exercised the $9.5 million team option on starter Gavin Floyd, retaining his services for the 2013 season. Floyd had made at least 29 starts with an ERA between 4.00 and 4.37 each of the last three seasons.
Outfielder DeWayne Wise was re-signed to one year deal to provide depth in center and left field.
Hahn signed relief pitcher Matt Lindstrom for one year $2.8 million. He had solid 2012 between Baltimore and Arizona with a 2.68 ERA in 46 games.
The biggest loss of the offseason is catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski had been the backstop on the South Side since the 2005 World Series season. He enjoyed a great 2012, winning the Silver Slugger with career highs 27 HR’s/.501 slugging/.827 OPS. He will be replaced by Tyler Flowers.
Kevin Youkilis hit only .236 in 80 games with the White Sox, but he did provide power with 15 homers. He signed with the Yankees for 1 year $12 million in the offseason. The bullpen will miss the services of Brett Myers who was acquired midseason. He signed with division rival Cleveland.
Entering 2013, the White Sox will have to overperform to beat out favored Detroit. Chris Sale looked like an ace during the first half of 2012, but faded badly down the stretch. The Sox should be concerned about the 6’6” 180 pound lefty bouncing back from a heavy innings increase over his 2010-2011 workload. Hopefully for Hahn, Peavy has two more years in the tank like 2012, and not like 2010 and 2011.
The lineup is O.K.,lefty-righty sluggers Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko are the cornerstones with Dayan Viciedo providing support. Keppinger was a smart sign, he can start at third or move around the infield. The losses of Pierzynski and Youkilis will be tough to make up for, but Pierzynski had a career year in 2012 and Youkilis’s numbers have been trending down.
The White Sox have the makings of a slightly above .500 team. They will probably be locked in a fight with the new look Indians and youthful Royals for second place in the AL Central.