White Sox

White Sox reward for winning the offseason: They get to talk playoffs ... or bust

White Sox reward for winning the offseason: They get to talk playoffs ... or bust

The White Sox know there is no trophy for winning the offseason.

Make no mistake, they did win the offseason, Rick Hahn’s front office adding enough veteran cache to vault the 89-loss South Siders from just another rebuilding team with a bright future to a team whose future is pulling into the station.

But there was no self-congratulating at Hahn’s pre-SoxFest press conference Thursday.

“Quite candidly, we haven't accomplished anything yet, we haven't won yet,” he said. “This whole process was about winning championships, was about finishing with a parade at the end of October down Michigan Avenue. Until that happens, I don't think any of us are really in a position to feel satisfied or feel like we've accomplished anything.

“We've had a nice winter. We've had, frankly, in our opinion, a real nice three years since we started (the rebuild) with the Chris Sale trade. We think very bright days are ahead of us, and we look forward to enjoying them. But in terms of feeling like we've accomplished something or feeling satisfied, ask me after the parade.”

Give me a second while I email that last bit over to our marketing department. They might be able to conjure up a few things with “ask me after the parade.”

But in all seriousness, Hahn is right. There is no trophy for winning the offseason. The act of signing free agents does not balance out all the losing over the last three seasons. Only winning can do that.

There has been, however, a reward for winning the offseason. Rick Renteria — and presumably all his players this weekend during SoxFest — get to talk about playoff expectations. Real ones.

“I would be disappointed if we don’t make the postseason,” Renteria said during his own session Thursday. “We want to break through. We want this to be an impactful season.”

As recently as a year ago, no matter how bright the future appeared to be, that comment would have raised eyebrows. It would not have been taken seriously. Now? It is the expectation.

Renteria has not been shy about the rebuilding White Sox turning the corner in 2020. He spent the last few weeks of the 2019 campaign making similar postseason proclamations. But now Hahn has backed his manager up with all this winter’s acquisitions.

The White Sox place in the standings by the end of September still figures to have a lot more to do with Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito and Eloy Jimenez and Tim Anderson and Luis Robert than any of the individual newcomers, even players as talented and accomplished as Yasmani Grandal and Dallas Keuchel. The core is that important. But the outsiders brought in this offseason have embodied the turning tide — and given Renteria the chance to talk seriously about these kinds of big expectations for the first time in his tenure as the South Side skipper.

“I think, man for man,” he said, “now we at least have a little bit more ammunition to be able to go out and compete hopefully on a consistent basis and put those victories on the board.

“I’m not afraid of talking about high expectations and winning. … If we do our job and we go about preparing and hopefully the actions and performances come to fruition, we should be on top of the victory column in terms of wins and losses. And there’s nothing beyond my thought that doesn’t say that I expect us to compete and be in conversation for postseason play.”

Hahn isn’t quite as willing to declare the 2020 season “playoffs or bust” because he’s still got his eye on the long term, the same place it’s been throughout this rebuilding process. That next parade down Michigan Avenue is supposed to be merely the first.

And so while the White Sox can reap the rewards of Hahn’s offseason work in the form of preseason talk, he’ll bask in nothing more than setting up his team for that long-term postseason success.

“I think the expectations are understandably high, at least when you talk to Ricky or the coaches or any of the players or anyone in uniform. Their expectation is that this team is in a position to win in the 2020 season, which is exactly where all of us in the front office would want them to be,” he said. “That said, whether you're talking Jerry (Reinsdorf) or Kenny (Williams) or myself, the entire purpose of this rebuild was to put ourselves in a multi-year position to win multiple championships.

“So the progress that we make in any given offseason has to be viewed not just about what's going to happen in that upcoming season, but what position that puts us in toward accomplishing that long-term goal. We want to make sure that we are well positioned, once that window opens, to win as many championships as possible.

“When that window opens, we're going to find out together. I certainly think the players in uniform think it's going to happen come Opening Day of this year. Whether we're blessed with good health and continued progress from our young players, we're going to find out together.

“But we look at it, in the front office, from a multi-year perspective. The guys in uniform are going to do everything in their power to make it about now, which you've got to appreciate.”

That’s going to be the theme of this weekend, as White Sox fans descend on SoxFest with more excitement than they have in years. This is a White Sox team expected to reach October, and that hasn’t exactly been common, as evidenced by the franchise’s more than decade-long postseason drought.

Hahn can talk about putting the team in good position for 2021 and 2022 and 2023 and beyond all he wants. The fans are finally — and with good reason — thinking playoffs or bust for the upcoming season.

And the manager agrees.

“I see our club, and I want to go into this season thinking I don't want to miss an opportunity,” Renteria said. “That's my goal right now, not to miss this opportunity. Expectations bread opportunities. I'm not afraid of expectations because it breads opportunity. I want to attain and complete those tasks that I think our club is going to have a chance to be able to do.

“I'm not afraid to say it.”

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MLB The Show sim: White Sox return home, lose to 1-9 Seattle Mariners

MLB The Show sim: White Sox return home, lose to 1-9 Seattle Mariners

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Coming off of a sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway Park, the White Sox returned to Guaranteed Rate Field to take on the cellar dwelling Seattle Mariners, who started their season with a 1-9 record.

The first inning seemed to look all too familiar for Dylan Cease as he started the game with two hits given up, putting runners at second and third. Cease dug his feet in and battled to strike out the next three batters to get out of the jam. The young righty reached 99 mph on the gun in his daytime start, but was pulled by Rick Renteria with only 85 pitches through 4 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts and one earned run.

With the game tied at 1, Renteria went to the pen with Kelvin Herrera, but he struggled once again in relief giving up two runs in the fifth.

The White Sox lone run came in the bottom of the second when Eloy Jimenez hit a solo homer to left field, his fourth of the season. That extended his hitting streak to nine games. Later in the frame, Nomar Mazara hit a towering shot to center field only to be robbed by Seattle’s Dom T-Williams at the wall to end the inning and ultimately the Sox scoring.

The White Sox did threaten in the ninth with two outs. Edwin Encarnacion forced a walk followed by a Yasmani Grandal single, which extended his hit streak to seven games. With two aboard, it was Jimenez with the chance to create some magic, but he popped out to right field to end the contest and the White Sox win streak.

Result: Mariners def. White Sox 3-1

Record: 6-4, second in AL Central (0.5 GB of Indians)

W: Marco Gonzales (1-1)

L: Dylan Cease (0-1)

SV: Yoshihisa Hurano (1)

White Sox lineup

  1. Tim Anderson: 2-4 (.372 BA)
  2. Yoan Moncada: 0-4 (.326 BA)
  3. Jose Abreu: 1-4 (.267 BA)
  4. Edwin Encarnacion: 1-3, BB (.235 BA)
  5. Yasmani Grandal: 1-4 (.333 BA)
  6. Eloy Jimenez: 1-4, HR, RBI (.270 BA)
  7. Luis Robert: 0-3 (.182 BA)
  8. Nomar Mazara: 0-3 (.194 BA)
  9. Leury Garcia: 0-3 (.214 BA)

Scoring summary

Top second:

  • Dee Gordon doubled to right field. Kyle Seager scored. 1-0 SEA.

Bottom second:

  • Eloy Jimenez homered to left. 1-1.

Top fifth:

  • Kyle Seager singled to center. Mitch Haniger scored. 2-1 SEA.  
  • Dom T-Williams fielder’s choice. Carlos Gonzalez scored. 3-1 SEA.

Notable performance: Alex Colome has excelled in his new role of middle reliever after Aaron Bummer grabbed the closer job. Colome hasn’t given up a run in 5 1/3 innings pitched and opposing left-handed batters are hitless against Colome this season.

Next game: Tuesday, April 7, Gm. 11: Mariners at White Sox (Taijuan Walker, 0-1, 8.38 ERA vs. Lucas Giolito, 1-0, 2.31 ERA)

The White Sox most recent trade with every MLB team

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USA TODAY

The White Sox most recent trade with every MLB team

Baseball teams make an awful lot of trades, and the White Sox are no exception.

The biggest deals of the last few years are easy to remember: the Chris Sale trade with the Red Sox, the Adam Eaton trade with the Nationals, the Jose Quintana trade with the Cubs.

But quick, what was the White Sox most recent trade with the Braves? Or the Angels? Or the Mets?

For a trivia-packed walk down memory lane, check out this list of the White Sox most recent trade with every other one of the 29 major league clubs. Some even predate Rick Hahn's time as general manager.

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