White Sox

One decade later, 2005 White Sox remember team more than individuals

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One decade later, 2005 White Sox remember team more than individuals

It’s easy to point to individual moments that defined the 2005 White Sox World Series run. 

Paul Konerko’s grand slam in Game 2. Scott Podsednik’s walkoff home run just two innings later. Geoff Blum’s home run in the 14th inning of Game 3. 

But one decade after the Sox championship run, the players reflected on personal moments ever so briefly during their reunion on Friday at U.S. Cellular Field, while diving deeper into the chemistry and close bond the group of men shared on and off the field. 

“We not only played together on the field, we actually hung out as a team off the field,” 2005 World Series MVP Jermaine Dye said. “We went to dinners on road trips, we gelled with the younger guys. We made it comfortable for everybody and we believed in everybody and there was no cliques. We all pulled for each other and our pitching went out and kept us in the ballgames and we had timely hitting.”

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Former manager Ozzie Guillen believes the bonding process started in spring training when there were plenty of uncertain situations about a team that finished 83-79 the year before. 

“I remember in spring training people were second guessing Kenny (Williams) because we got a shortstop that doesn’t play everyday, we got a Japanese player that never played here before, we got A.J. and everybody hates him,” Guillen said.

“I don’t think anybody knew we were going to be a great team,” outfielder Podsednik added. “There were a lot of question marks. There were a lot of new faces in that clubhouse. No one really knew what to expect.”

But the South Siders gained an identity quickly. They found themselves in almost every game thanks to reliable pitching, a strong defense and timely hitting. Jon Garland was part of that rotation that gave the team a chance to win, and he admitted the guys on the staff fed off each other. 

“We all wanted to go out and throw complete games,” he said. “I don't know if it was that inner competition, we definitely built off each other that year. It was just fun to be a part of that. At some point in everybody's career you want to be a part of that. To be a part of that pitching staff, it's something special.”

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The 2005 White Sox continued to check off the boxes of a winning team during the regular season, even though they weren’t all positive. The South Siders battled adversity, dropping 11 of 14 games in September sending the city of Chicago into a panic (“Even my own wife was booing me because we losing it,” Guillen said). Their hold on the AL Central shrank to just 1.5 games at one point. 

“I remember after that game everybody was looking around at each other like we squandered off a lot of games it was time to get back to work here,” Podsednik said.  

The next day, the Sox rattled off eight wins in their last 10 games to close out the season, carrying not only a division championship into the playoffs with them but a lot of momentum as well. 

“The fact that we did it the way we did it and got in, that was the best way to propel us to winning the whole thing,” first baseman Paul Konerko said. “But again it wasn’t that fun thinking back to August and September of that year.”

The White Sox then entered their first round matchup against the Boston Red Sox and just didn’t know how to lose. The South Siders recorded 11 wins in 12 games during the postseason, sending the Windy City into hysteria over their first World Series title since 1917. 

“Everybody, every day it was somebody different,” Guillen said. “It was good pitching, big plays, big hits. We're not waiting for Bobby (Jenks) or (Dustin) Hermanson or anybody to win the game. We didn't wait for Konerko to hit a home run. Like I said in the past, I don't think we had the best names but we had the best team."

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Ten years later with everyone still alive (“It surprises me that nobody is dead,” Guillen joked) the friendships between the players on that magical team remain as strong as they ever were. It’s clear that the “fun and honest” clubhouse in 2005 was full of a group of men fighting for one cause instead of 25.

“I think it was everybody,” outfielder Aaron Rowand said. “There wasn’t any one leader on this team. It was the entire squad. It was a group of guys that got along well together. It was a group of guys that really cared about each other. We came in and we dealt with each other like family on a daily basis.

“We had 25 leaders in that clubhouse and every day somebody else stepped up. Everybody always pulled on the same end of the rope, working and care about each other. It turned in to something very special.”

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

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USA TODAY

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

The 2017-18 baseball offseason continues to be, well, the 2017-18 baseball offseason, even with spring training games being played in Arizona and Florida.

A bunch of names remain on the free-agent market, including All-Star players who thought they would be in for big multi-year contracts. But as teams continue to deny the wishes of guys who expected to get big deals, the suggestion that those players might end up needing to take one-year offers if they want to play during the 2018 season is becoming a more common talking point.

So with potential bargains to be had for some pretty big-name players, do the White Sox jump into the waters and try to lock up a potential future piece on the cheap? Though they aren’t expected to contend this season, the White Sox have been mentioned in a pair of recent reports surrounding a pair of All-Star position players: Mike Moustakas and Carlos Gonzalez.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi wrote last week that the White Sox are a potential fit for Moustakas, who has sat and watched as former Kansas City Royals teammate Eric Hosmer received a huge contract from the San Diego Padres. Moustakas set a new Royals record last season with 38 home runs but has yet to find a team.

The White Sox, connected to Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado earlier this offseason, seem to have a current big leaguer or highly ranked prospect locked into almost every position on the diamond for the foreseeable future, but third base isn't necessarily one of them. Jake Burger was last year’s top draft pick, though there’s speculation he could slide over to first base. The team still envisions him as a big league third baseman, for what it’s worth.

Moustakas is 29 and already has seven big league seasons under his belt, including a pair of All-Star appearances and a pair of trips to the World Series, including the Crowns’ championship back in 2015. His 38 homers and 85 RBIs in 2017 were both career highs. He slashed .272/.314/.521, the final of those three numbers the best mark of his career.

Moustakas has rarely hit for average or reached base at too high a clip, though those recent power numbers would be intriguing at a hitter-friendly park like Guaranteed Rate Field, where he has 10 career dingers, 26 career RBIs and a .249/.308/.456 career slash line as a visitor.

Certainly Moustakas would be a buzz-worthy addition, and if the White Sox could get him for a good value thanks to this slow-moving market, that adds incentive to bring him aboard. A short contract would have even more incentive for the rebuilding White Sox, who would have the option to either sign him to a long-term deal or deal him away in a deadline deal depending on his immediate production levels.

But for fans hoping the White Sox will spend big on a third baseman in one of the next two offseasons — Machado is a free agent next winter, and Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado is set to hit the market the winter after next — slotting in an outside addition at the hot corner now could impact those plans.

Gonzalez is a completely different story, a three-time All Star during his 10-year big league career who is just three seasons removed from a 40-homer campaign in 2015. The 32-year-old Gonzalez also has a trio of Gold Gloves to go along with his 215 career home runs. FanRag’s Jon Heyman listed the White Sox as a possible landing spot for CarGo this weekend.

But his walk year in Colorado was not a very good one by his standards. In 136 games for a Rockies team that ended up in the playoffs, he slashed .262/.339/.423, all those averages way down from his usual level of production. And his power numbers plummeted to 14 homers and 57 RBIs after he combined for 65 homers and 197 RBIs in 2015 and 2016.

The good news for the White Sox is that down year makes Gonzalez far more affordable. Should he command only a one-year contract, the White Sox could take a flier, stick him in the outfield — which still has an unresolved spot with few strong offensive options for center field — and trade him should he bounce back in a big way. Or, at 32, perhaps he’s a guy the White Sox could opt to keep around should he prove valuable and the rebuild continues to move along ahead of schedule.

Gonzalez seems the less risky move at this point, as Moustakas could still be looking for a multi-year contract. But the White Sox have plenty of financial flexibility and flexibility in their decision-making should they add either guy and he proves worthy of a midseason deal or a long-term look.

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

PHOENIX, Ariz. — One of the White Sox prized prospects will be on the shelf for a little while.

Outfielder Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and a strained flexor tendon that could require surgery. He could avoid surgery, though he could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

Though he hasn’t received the same high rankings and media attention as fellow outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Adolfo is considered a part of the White Sox promising future. He’s said to have the best outfield arm in the White Sox system.

Adolfo had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis.

Adolfo, along with Jimenez and Robert, has been generating buzz at White Sox camp in Glendale, with a crowd forming whenever the trio takes batting practice. Earlier this week, the three described their conversation dreaming about playing together in the same outfield for a contending White Sox team in the future.