White Sox

White Sox season review: Starting pitching

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White Sox season review: Starting pitching

As the White Sox head into the winter following a 76-86 offseason, CSNChicago.com will examine the past, present and future of each position group at 35th and Shields. We'll begin with the starting rotation.

Depth chart

1. LHP Chris Sale: 5 years/$32.5M (2013-17), plus 2018-19 options
2. LHP Jose Quintana: 5 years/$21M (2014-18), plus 2019-20 options
3. LHP Carlos Rodon: 0.168 major league service
4. LHP John Danks: 5 years/$65M (2012-16)
5. RHP Erik Johnson: 0.089 major league service
6. RHP Frankie Montas: 0.035 major league service

What went right

Chris Sale’s 274 strikeouts set a new White Sox single season record and were the most among American League starters. The 26-year-old left-hander also tied a major league record when he racked up double-digit strikeouts in eight consecutive games, cementing himself as an upper-echelon starter in baseballs pitching-heavy landscape. His 3.41 ERA isn’t indicative of how dominant he was, and his significant FIP-to-ERA split (his ERA was 0.68 points higher than his FIP, the fifth-highest positive difference among qualified starters) shows he was frequently the victim of a bad defense behind him.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Jose Quintana continued to be a steady presence in the middle of the rotation, starting at least 32 games and throwing at least 200 innings for the third consecutive year. His win-loss record (9-10) is cruel; Quintana hasn’t won double-digit games in his career despite a 3.46 ERA. The 26-year-old left-hander’s contract is favorable and, coupled with Sale’s team-friendly deal and Carlos Rodon’s early-career inexpensiveness, allows the White Sox to have some wiggle room with money elsewhere.

Rodon finished strong in his major league debut season, posting a 1.81 ERA over his final eight starts. He threw 149 1/3 innings between Triple-A and the majors, setting himself up for a 2016 season in which his workload will still be monitored, but hardly to the extent it was in 2015.

Erik Johnson posted a 3.34 ERA in six late-season starts, continuing a strong Triple-A showing (132 2/3 IP, 2.37 ERA, 136 K, 41 BB, 5 HR). Hard-throwing prospect Frankie Montas made his major league debut after posting a 2.97 ERA in 23 starts for Double-A Birmingham.

What went wrong

The White Sox hung on to Jeff Samardzija at the trade deadline with the thought he’d help them push for a berth in the American League wild card game. Instead, the free-agent-to-be imploded to the tune of an 8.82 ERA in six August starts (33 2/3 IP, 33 ER). He barely finished the year with an ERA below five (4.96) and appears likely to sign elsewhere in the offseason.

[MORE: Ex-Sox closer Addison Reed thriving with World Series-bound Mets]

John Danks deserves plenty of credit for trying different pitching motions and strategies to regain his pre-shoulder surgery form, but his 4.71 ERA was right in line with his mark in 2013 (4.75) and 2014 (4.74). While Samardzija and Danks both struggled, though, the White Sox starting rotation wasn’t among the chief reasons why this team finished below .500.

The future

With Samardzija expected to sign elsewhere this winter, the White Sox have an opening in the rotation on which the 25-year-old Johnson should have the inside track heading into spring training. Montas could get in the mix too, or the White Sox could bring in an inexpensive veteran to push the younger pitchers during spring training.

The interesting question will be if the White Sox deal from their strength — left-handed starting pitching — to address needs at plenty of positions across the diamond.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Rick Hahn gives an update on the state of the White Sox rebuild

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Chris Bleck (ESPN 1000) and Scott King (WGN Radio) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Ryan Pace’s offseason begins. Josh Sitton and Jerrell Freeman are gone, but what will he do with Kyle Fuller?

Plus, Rick Hahn joins Kap from Glendale, Ariz., to discuss the state of the White Sox rebuild, how tough it is to keep their best prospects in the minors and why Jose Abreu is so important for his young team?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast on The Three Amigos: Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo

The White Sox three outfield prospects are creating a lot of buzz at spring training.

On this edition of the podcast, Micker Adolfo tells Chuck Garfien about a conversation they all had about one day becoming the starting outfield for the White Sox. Adolfo talks about his longtime friendship with Eloy Jimenez, his impressions of Luis Robert, Luis Basabe and the White Sox future.

But first, it's a conversation with MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez who has great insight on many of the White Sox players: Jimenez, Robert, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu. He tells an amazing story about why Jimenez decided to sign with the Cubs when he was a teenager, how much Abreu is revered in Cuba and much more.

Listen to the full episode at this link (iOS users can go here) or in the embedded player below. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.