White Sox Might Lack Veteran Leadership in 2015

In a span of just three years, the Chicago White Sox roster underwent quite an overhaul.

US Cellular Field 011In 2012, the roster featured the perfect blend of productive veterans and promising young players which kept them atop the American League Central division for most of the year. 2013 was the complete opposite. The productive veterans showed their age, and the promising youngsters went through sophomore slumps. In 2014, the team decided to rebuild, and they did so in a productive manner. The large contracts and the dead weight were filtered out; and a younger, more energetic core was established.

As we head into 2015, not one player remains from the 2005 World Series championship team. Paul Konerko was the last player remaining from the ’05 squad on last year’s team, and he announced his retirement last September. With the longtime captain of the White Sox officially in the next chapter of his life, a big question looms as the team heads into Spring Training – who will replace Paulie as the new captain?

Looking at the current roster, not one person jumps out as an obvious choice to assume a leadership role. Sure, some players – like Adam LaRoche and Jeff Samardzija, for example – have plenty of big league experience, but how easy will it be for LaRoche or Samardzija to earn the respect of a captain from an entirely new team? In the business world, that is kind of like a newly-hired employee who is asked to be a manager. Sure, it’s not unheard of; but it’s more ideal for managers to be promoted from within the company. In the case of the White Sox, it would be more ideal for a player who has been with the team for at least a couple years to assume captain responsibilities.

In terms of White Sox tenure, John Danks has spent the most seasons in the big leagues with the South Siders. He has been wearing the black and white pinstripes since 2007. Alexei Ramirez is the second-longest tenured player as he has been with the team since 2008. Do either of those guys really fit the job description of team captain, though? Both of them seem to go about their business quietly – maybe not to the extent of Conor Gillaspie, who is still yet to crack a smile – but Danks and Ramirez work quietly, nonetheless.

In terms of talent, the team’s two best players are Chris Sale and Jose Abreu. Sale is the best pitcher, and Abreu is the best position player. But despite their tremendous levels of success, let’s just say they let their play do the talking.

Heading into Spring Training, it will be exciting to see who manager Robin Ventura chooses to name as Konerko’s successor. The lack of a veteran leader might not be an issue here in January, and it might not even be an issue in the early stages of the regular season. But when the team is challenged with adversity, someone will need to step up and inspire his fellow troops.

Who will it be?