What was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Chicago White Sox turned out to be quite a successful season. As the playoffs start Sox-less, it’s time to look back on the unexpected success of the 2012 season. The Sox, who were predicted to have a below .500 year, finished the season with a 85-77 record. Up until the last week of the regular season the Sox were battling it out with the Detroit Tigers for the division title. Detroit clinched and the rest is history.
Moving forward to the 2013 season the Sox need to build on the success they had this year, even though they most likely will lose some of their core lineup. Unfortunately, one of the strongest players and the backbone of the team, A.J. Pierzynski, will be a free agent this offseason. If the Sox were to lose Pierzynski (which they most likely will), they will need to find a catcher that can double as an offensive threat. Pierzynski had a career high 27 home runs and 77 RBI this season. Even though Sox pitchers had the same ERA with Pierzynski as they did with back-up catcher Tyler Flowers behind the plate, Pierzynski’s offensive prowess makes him the superior choice. The veteran catcher will be 36 in December, and he told the Chicago Sun-Times that he would love to finish his career in Chicago. Hopefully the Sox can figure out a way to keep him around for a few more years.
Jake Peavy, the White Sox lead pitcher with 219 innings, 32 starts, and four complete games, will also be a free agent this winter when the Sox officially decline his $22 million contract option. The Sox also hold a $9.5 million option on pitcher Gavin Floyd. The pitching rotation for the 2013 season is really up in the air right now, with the only sure things being John Danks and Chris Sale. Rookie pitchers Hector Santiago and Jose Quintana will also be strongly considered. Hopefully the Sox can pull off a miracle and figure out a contract agreement to keep Peavy in the rotation.
Another big attribute to the Sox’s impressive run for the division was mid-season acquisition Kevin Youkilis. The third baseman was traded from the Red Sox for Zach Stewart and Brent Lillibridge. During his first few weeks on the South Side, Youk batted in 15 runs in 17 games. He hit .323. Afterward, he kind of lost his touch and wasn’t as consistent. Youkilis did however finish the season with 46 RBIs and 15 home runs. He’s a free agent as well this offseason, and it is very debatable whether or not he will be back in the lineup for the White Sox next season.
During the offseason, General Manager Kenny Williams will be promoted to team president and Rick Hahn, current assistant GM, will replace Williams. There is a bunch of young talent on the South Side and a lot to look forward to next season. Once trades are made and contracts are signed it will become a little more clear as to what the team will look like in April.
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