CHICAGO -- Here’s a look at this week’s White Sox inquiries as we open the Inbox.
Have the White Sox missed on FA targets or was this their planned payroll?
The White Sox have improved since the rebuild’s projected end, and you really have to look at the overall picture. They have added Yasmani Grandal (a player many consider one of the best catchers in baseball), Liam Hendriks (a player many consider one of the best closers in baseball) and Dallas Keuchel (a front-end type of hurler for the rotation) via free agency. They also brought in a left-handed bat in Adam Eaton who has been strong against right-handed pitching throughout his career when healthy.
Although it cost them Dane Dunning, a trade for Lance Lynn gives the team three playoff-trusted starters and gives younger pitchers such as Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech a greater chance to develop. Chicago has extended contractual control over key components of the nucleus such as Luis Robert, Eloy Jiménez, Yoán Moncada, Tim Anderson and Aaron Bummer, not to mention two more seasons with José Abreu, the reigning American League Most Valuable Player Award winner and team leader. I’ll defer to Anderson’s recent comments in that it’s more about spending wisely and not just spending.
Every team -- every business -- has a budget, so you operate within or near that limit. With all that said, the White Sox could use another bat to help at designated hitter and another pitcher to give greater depth to the rotation, but the season has not started yet and there’s room to maneuver at the Trade Deadline.
What are you hearing for this year’s team slogan?
"Change the game" will be making a triumphant return, a slogan fitting perfectly with this young core. “Let’s win a championship” might be another unofficial mantra they throw in there.
What will ReyLo’s role look like this year?
When Reynaldo López is on his game, he has top-of-the-rotation sort of stuff. Unfortunately, those impressive starts have not been frequent enough over the past two years. He looks to be the team’s fifth starter right now, with Kopech figuring to open the season in the Minors. López eventually will become a bullpen swing man and could be valuable with the ability to spot start behind Lucas Giolito, Keuchel, Lynn, Cease and Kopech.
Will Garrett Crochet be in the 'pen this year? Will he be a starter next year?
If the White Sox are focused on winning a World Series in 2021, then it makes sense to have Crochet in their bullpen. The southpaw showed his high-octane value in very limited work last season after he was the team’s top '20 Draft pick. The plan still seems to be in place for Crochet to ultimately become a starter, and it looks as though Chicago will be stretching him out during the season while also giving him a chance to work with pitching coach Ethan Katz, assistant pitching coach Curt Hasler and the other veteran starters.
Will the "pause" destroy the good momentum and mojo? Oh, wait, Sox questions ... What do you think is the biggest difference we'll notice between the La Russa era and the Ricky era?
I’m going to wait on predicting a difference between La Russa and former manager Rick Renteria, in that we haven’t seen this managerial incarnation of La Russa in action. Although I have nothing but respect for the job Renteria did, the three World Series championships and 2,728 managerial victories speak for themselves on La Russa’s resume.
La Russa has proven to be extraordinary in handling bullpens, really employing practical analytics before they actually had a name, and the White Sox have a great relief crew this season. Most importantly, La Russa will have a better overall team to work with via the offseason additions and another year for the young talent to develop, with hopefully a return to normalcy as the season progresses.
The good momentum and mojo comment refers to head coach Juwan Howard’s Michigan men’s basketball team, a group well on its way to the first NCAA championship under the Fab Five alum who has really impressed as a coach. They’ll be fine, but the key factor is good health for everyone. That’s the key factor for everyone, in or outside of sports.
Is April too early for a Courtney appreciation night?
I’ve checked with the White Sox, and there is no Courtney appreciation night on the 2021 promotional schedule. But I happen to know Feb. 2 is Courtney’s birthday, so let’s make Tuesday Courtney appreciation day overall. Make sure to check in with her on Twitter. As a side note, this Inbox mention is in lieu of an expensive birthday gift.