2012 MLB Season Preview: Chicago White Sox

1 of 3

2011 Chicago White Sox Season Recap

The White Sox were optimistic at the beginning of the season and pessimistic at the end of the season. Even perpetually supercharged manager Ozzie Guillen gave up on the team, resigning near the end of the campaign with the blessings of owner Jerry Reinsdorf and General Manager Kenny Williams. Things had disintegrated to the point where they didn’t even care that he was moving directly to a new managing job with the Miami Marlins.

Chicago finished 79-83, not what the team and fans had in mind when the season began. The White Sox never adequately replaced closer Bobby Jenks, so the bullpen was out of sorts from the beginning of the year on, and then it got worse. The big free agent signing of the off-season (to be fair it looked like a good idea at the time) was power hitter Adam Dunn. Dunn turned in just about the single worst batting season of any player with as much playing time in Major League history.

Supposedly a good hitting team, the White Sox batted .252 as a bunch. Hopefully a good pitching team, several of the starters had off-years. The rotation was supposed to be a strength, but only Mark Buerhle, always a rock, came through. John Danks went 8-12. Gavin Floyd went 12-13. Jake Peavy, the one-time star, continued to battle injuries and finished 7-7. The trio’s earned run averages ranged between 4.33 and 4.92. A pleasant surprise in forcing his way into the rotation was Phil Humber. He pitched exceptionally well when no one else was doing the job. Though he faltered at the end of the season Humber still went 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA.

Rather amazingly, the White Sox hung around within shouting distance of the top of the American League Central Division, which is in contention to be the weakest division in baseball, because the Detroit Tigers started slowly. When the Tigers caught fire in the latter stages of the season, the White Sox slipped, and that was all she wrote.

While Dunn’s performance bordered on the tragic–and if he doesn’t start hitting immediately at the start of the season this year–he could be run out of baseball, other key players underperformed at the plate, too. Alex Rios was the previous highly touted acquisition a couple of years ago, but he has done little to justify Williams’ faith in him as a regular center fielder. Infielder Gordon Beckham batted .230.

Paul Konerko, who is beloved on the South Side for his everyday production, solid demeanor and reliability year after year, batted .300 with 31 home runs, 105 RBIS, and an on-base percentage of .385. War horse A.J. Pierzynski, who everyone wonders about because he catches so much they feel his knees must be disintegrating, batted a very solid .287. But no one else in the lineup helped them consistently.

So the 2011 season ended with a bunch of questions for the White Sox.