By S.C. Zuba
The 2009 campaign was, more than anything, a learning experience for the Chicago White Sox.
When things go down the drain, like they did on the South Side this past season, it is essential that not only the team, but also the organization as a whole, learn from it.
“It’s a season that was a learning experience, and what you have to get done in the future, you learn by the mistakes we made,” said Manager Ozzie Guillen, whose team finished 79-83, seven games behind Minnesota and Detroit, who finished tied for first. “You always learn by negative stuff. You don’t learn by positive stuff.”
This season, there was plenty of “negative stuff” to learn from.
That learning experience resulted in the White Sox lineup looking completely different than it did in April. Gone are Jim Thome, Jose Contreras, Bartolo Colón and Brian Anderson. During the season, the White Sox added players like Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, Mark Kotsay, and they even called Gordon Beckham up from AAA Charlotte.
And the offseason will most likely bring even more changes. White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams is known for his big moves and lives by the strategy that he wants to win the World Series “this year,” so it would be no surprise if the lineup changed even more.
One White Sox veteran who may not fit into the team’s 2010 plans is outfielder Jermaine Dye. Dye has a $12 million mutual option for the 2010 season or a $1 million buyout from the organization.
It is unlikely the organization will pick up his option. Dye finished weak by hitting .181 with seven homers in 210 at-bats after hitting .302 with 20 homers in 291 at-bats before the break.
Williams also needs to find a fifth starter for his starting rotation. The White Sox went almost the entire 2009 season without having a set starter for the fifth spot.
Whether Williams decides to bolster his team via free agency or his farm club remains to be seen, but it is obvious this team needs some work. The White Sox have a lot of young talent, but now that Thome is gone and possibly Dye, they could use some veteran leadership.
Share your thoughts with S.C. Zuba via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the October 7-13, 2009 issue