Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

White Sox News

Growth a key for Sox (but trophies are nice, too)

@scottmerkin
June 26, 2020

CHICAGO -- There’s a chance the White Sox won’t end up in the playoffs at the conclusion of the 60-game 2020 Major League schedule. There’s a chance they won’t even finish .500, a mark they haven’t hit since the 2012 season. But the White Sox won’t be making any apologies

CHICAGO -- There’s a chance the White Sox won’t end up in the playoffs at the conclusion of the 60-game 2020 Major League schedule. There’s a chance they won’t even finish .500, a mark they haven’t hit since the 2012 season.

But the White Sox won’t be making any apologies if they jump up into the postseason from a .447 winning percentage in 2019. Not when they have painstakingly gone through a three-year rebuild to arrive at a point of potential contention.

White Sox FAQ: Details on the upcoming season

“I want to win more games than everybody else,” White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told MLB.com during a recent interview. “I want to get to the playoffs. I would like to see if we can win the playoffs in whatever shape, form, league, schedule they have.”

“The short answer of … 'Is it a legitimate season?'” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “Absolutely.”

Hahn is of two mindsets when it comes to the 2020 season. He understands the talent now possessed by the White Sox, moving them much closer to the Twins and Indians at the top of the American League Central than the Tigers and Royals at the bottom in rebuilding mode. He also knows this rebuild was constructed for the long term, not a one-season success in the ’20 incarnation or any other full campaign.

It’s why the White Sox never rushed top prospects, even if Yoán Moncada, Eloy Jiménez or Michael Kopech looked ready for the Majors. It’s why Chicago did such a stellar job of locking down its core to multi-year deals.

This group developed together, it lost together and now the goal is to win together ... but win as in targeting multiple championships. As impressive as it would be for the White Sox to become a 2020 playoff team, it’s just as important to get on-field development time for talents such as Dylan Cease and Luis Robert and even more experienced players such as Lucas Giolito.

“We have a young club, a team that is only going to grow and benefit from playing experience during the regular season and hopefully the postseason,” Hahn said. “Getting a taste of that this season is of the utmost importance. We are excited about that. We are excited about the idea this team will have the opportunity to start what we view as a multi-year path toward championships.”

McCann, Giolito ponder protocols, 60-game slate

Any team has a chance to compete during this shortened season. If the Tigers or Orioles, teams considered far from favorites, put together a pretty solid 20- or 30-game run, they can at least hang close.

As a young team with key veteran contributors added, the White Sox still have a wide variance of results built in. The top prospects could hit the ground running, building on something special the White Sox believed they were putting together during Spring Training, or it could take a while for these same players to get adjusted. As Hahn pointed out, each game is the equivalent of 2 1/2 or 3 games in a normal schedule, so it’s a good way for this group to be challenged.

“This may be a little bit more of just the fan side of me, but it's just going to be good to have baseball back,” Hahn said. “It’s just going to be good to be back playing. It's going to be good to see Luis Robert running around center field. It's going to be good to see Giolito continue to build; where Moncada has grown to.

“Whether it's 60 games, whatever the schedule looks like, any of that stuff is important from the executive side of me, in terms of what it means to the White Sox, how we continue to build, where we want to be on an annual basis. But fundamentally, it's just going to be good to watch some baseball.”

If it’s winning or even championship baseball, the White Sox are ready to embrace success.

“You are going out to compete, to try to win,” Cooper said. “I’ve heard people say there’s going to be an asterisk next to [the season]. Not for me. If we go out and win more games than everybody else and are the last team standing, well, we’ll be the world champs. That’s the way I see it.”

“We have to roll with it,” said Moncada through interpreter Billy Russo. “If at the end of the season we win it all, we are going to celebrate. That’s what’s going to matter. We are going to celebrate because we did something good.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.