Home » Articles » Mismatched Sox: White Sox Cases – Best, Worst, and Worstest

Mismatched Sox: White Sox Cases – Best, Worst, and Worstest

by Ed Siebert

“What’s the worst that can happen?” That is number 12 on the list of questions that should never, ever be uttered out loud because of what the answer might be. But it is a natural question because, at a bare minimum, human beings like to know where the floor is before they jump out of bed. Sometimes the floor is closer than expected; sometimes the floor is downright fluffy; often the floor is cold and hard and occasionally the floor is lava. Please seek the counsel of your nearest preschooler for instructions on how to handle that last situation.

For the impending 2022 White Sox, the sky’s the limit, or at least the World Series is the limit. Doubtful that the White Sox conquer space like some bat-wielding Enterprise crew (NCC-1701-D, to be precise). There are lofty baseball expectations on the South Side and being the eternal pessimists that all Chicago sports franchises raise, Sox fans are less worked up about winning the World Series and more worked up about falling out of the upper echelons of a bunk bed and onto a gift from the dog and a spilled crate of thumbtacks. Frankly, Sox fans might do better from a mental health standpoint to focus on defeating the Borg. But let’s examine the worst-case scenario, and being a Chicago sports fan, the worstest case. Actually, being a Chicago fan there’s also reason to review the best case, and delightfully it is knockwurst.

Are we going to be…ahem…Mad…at the Sox if things go bad? (C) 1983 Mad Magazine (R.I.P.) (Rest In Potrzebie)

The Lockout

BEST CASE: The lockout ends in late January/early February and there’s ample time for Rick Hahn to do the GM thing and finish off the roster. The CBA doesn’t radically change free agency or create chaos on the trade market right away. The team and their competition get into camp with minimal delay and the season gets underway more or less on time. Given the talent, the team competes as expected and has a chance to go all the way.

WORST CASE: The lockout drags on, delaying the season significantly and the new CBA makes it hard for Rick Hahn to finish the roster. In a shortened season, the Sox have less room for error and basically lose a year of competing for a championship if they don’t start hot or suffer any injuries. That’s one less year of having some key players, diminished revenue and much gnashing of teeth in the next offseason.

WORSTEST CASE: 1994 and yet another “what if” season. And yet another season of insufferable Yankees fans saying they’d have won it all and denying that the White Sox even existed that year.


Second Base

BEST CASE: Jeff McNeil, Jean Segura, Ketel Marte, Brandon Lowe…someone good ends up coming to the Sox in a reasonable trade. Or, Jed Lowrie or Josh Harrison signs cheap and has that one last run in them. Regardless, it is an established MLB second baseman who handles the field and the bat with competence and occasional heroics.

WORST CASE: You don’t call a guy “Leury Legend” in the press conference announcing you’ve re-signed him and not have a spot for him. For that matter, you don’t sign a utility guy to a multi-year deal unless you intend to play him often. And unless Rick Hahn is reading this, you, dear reader, didn’t do any of this but you get to enter 2022 with Leury playing just about everyday at the keystone.

WORSTEST CASE: A seemingly non-stop carousel of has-been’s and never will be’s or ill-fitting triangular pegs in dodecahedral holes. So, 2021. Or an active tire fire in between Jose Abreu and Tim Anderson.


Right Field

BEST CASE: Michael Conforto? If that’s your bag? Nick Castellanos? Kyle Schwarber? Insert MLB Slugger who can’t catch a cold in the outfield here? Basically, Rick Hahn spends the money that will be spent to bring in a possible stud bat who can man right field, forming a trio that is actual death incarnate to pitchers, and also Adam Engel is there if he’s healthy.

WORST CASE: Adam Engel is there if he’s healthy. Andrew Vaughn or Gavin Sheets takes another step forward. Or there’s guys off the street that have their moments. Basically, 2021.

WORSTEST CASE: You don’t call a guy “Leury Legend” in the…just teasing. That would be bad, but the actual worst-case scenario for right field is a sinkhole straight to the 6th level of Hell which is reserved for Heretics, who are mostly insufferable Yankees fans.


The Rotation

BEST CASE: Michael Kopech ascends to a new level of badassery whilst Lance Lynn regains his innings eating ways and Lucas Giolito and Dylan Cease torment hitters like they were toilets the morning after a festival of Carolina Reaper wings and old beer. And Dallas Keuchel regains some semblance of his former self or Reynaldo Lopez and his corrected vision continues to pull a minor “Wild Thing Vaughn” turnaround. Either way, Tigers blood (Detroit Tigers) and #winning.

WORST CASE: Kopech is the new Rodon, in that he rocks it out early then fades like a cheap flag on a dashboard. Keuchel can’t reinvent himself, or find himself, or more succinctly throw pitches with any sustained success. ReyLo and the minors do better as a garage band than as starting pitchers. Meanwhile, Cease, Giolito and Lynn are the same as they ever were. So, not as good as 2021 but maybe good enough for another ALDS debacle.

WORSTEST CASE: Besot by injuries, Yermin Mercedes is your best starting pitcher. It. Could. Work!


The Craig Kimbrel Situation

BEST CASE: The Mets decide that a Kimbrel for McNeil swap makes sense, or the Padres decide that they need him and are willing to part with 2B/SS top prospect CJ Abrams because the Sox took all of Eric Hosmer back too (which honestly, Hosmer as the DH/Abreu insurance if you can get Abrams wouldn’t suck at all). Or, say, the Rangers send back Isaiah Kiner-Falafa because they are trying to buy the appearance that they won’t finish 4th in the AL West. Basically, Kimbrel gets traded for someone that fills the rotation, RF, 2B, RP, or any other hole that can be described in two characters. Besides Laurel and Hardy.

WORST CASE: Rick Hahn can only move him for some help that could arrive in 2024. And isn’t a Fernando Tatis Jr.-esque surprise superstar, but more of a “maybe Blake Rutherford is somehow useful this year” kind of a way.

WORSTEST CASE: A guy that was on his way to being a legit Hall of Fame Guy continues to remind people of Matt Foster with a weirder delivery. And Nick Madrigal leads the MLB in hits.


The Regular Season

BEST CASE: To paraphrase quote the White Sox closer: ‘162 practice games before the real ones start’. With whatever flaws, foibles, and foolish decisions that could hold the team down, they take care of business and win the AL Central, making franchise history again by earning back-to-back-to-back playoff appearances. Or at least a Wild Card shot. Basically, a foot in the door that is probably Adam Engel’s and probably already hurt, making it the best choice for jamming into things.

WORST CASE: The team is in the hunt all year, but falls short. Maybe because another team catches fire at an unnatural pace the way baseball teams do every now and again. Maybe because injuries deny the White Sox the full use of their considerable talent. Maybe they defecate on their sleeping platform because we can’t have nice things. Basically, they play the season and don’t win enough games, but as fans, there’s some excitement and good times along the way.

WORSTEST CASE: 2020 but everything is Edwin Encarnacion and Nomar Mazara.


The Playoffs

BEST CASE: The Sox handle their business so efficiently and quickly that ESPN forgets that there will be an AL representative in the World Series. Fans get to party like it is 2005, at least from the standpoint of winning the whole enchilada. At this point guessing on what will constitute an actual party at the end of 2022 feels like an invitation to depression.

WORST CASE: Sox fans not only hate the Astros, but the city of Houston, Minute Maid, Crawfords, boxes, oil, cows, NASA, and for good measure the Minnesota Twins. One and done, or even losing the ALCS will hurt but at least there’s playoff baseball.

WORSTEST CASE: Forfeiting the Wild Card game because of bad mayonnaise. Just… no.


Health

BEST CASE: Eloy avoids walls. The pitchers avoid any arm or knee issues. Luis Robert can run without random blowouts. Hamstrings remain strung and Tommy John is only referred to in his capacity as a former White Sox. Adam Engel avoids pulling, tearing, straining, or anything that can happen to a muscle and a box of pasta interchangeably.

WORST CASE: 2021.

WORSTEST CASE: 2021 but no one comes back and Rick Hahn trades them all for aging closers with a club option.


Guaranteed Rate Field Experience

BEST CASE: All is well. The gates and parking are well-run in keeping with the situation, the stands are as full as are allowed in keeping with the situation, the beverages are cold and the food is hot. Except reverse that for coffee and ice cream.

WORST CASE: The fans are allowed in but due to staffing issues, supply chain issues, laws, diseases, etc. and so forth ipso facto ad nauseam, it is kind of a pain in the keister and almost not worth going on some days. Of course, magically it is much better when the playoffs roll around or there’s a premium matchup. But sometimes, it is just a root canal with better entertainment and weaker anesthesia.

WORSTEST CASE: 2020, or the movie Soylent Green (takes place in 2022!) becoming a real thing and the ballparks being a funnel for ingredients. “Sorry folks, your cousin could be anywhere, didja try and text him?” Or…”Matt Foster shelled again today, he’s struggled lately and -oh that’s a shame, Tony put a green tag on his jersey. Well, you can meet Matt Foster at the walking taco stand in sections 512 and 143.” On second thought, if this happens should we be worried about Jake Lamb, Jake Burger, and other Jakes with food surnames NOT being on the team?


Overall, the floor isn’t all that far from the bed and isn’t covered in anything gross. The Sox should compete, the MLB and the MLBPA should be motivated to have a fairly normal season wherein the Sox will compete, barring catastrophe the team will field 9 players and a DH each game, with a bullpen that might have an expensive extra closer and a rotation that might be a little weak at the back end. And there might be a lot of Leury. And we might be eating people in a dystopia. Other than that, What, Me Worry?!!

Featured Photo: White Sox/Twitter

Join the Conversation

1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Aaron Sapoznik

My best case scenarios would have included more intriguing free agents for 2B, RF and at SP aside from some of the good trade candidates presented here. My pie-in-the sky free agents would have included shortstops Carlos Correa or Trevor Story to pair with incumbent Tim Anderson with one of them transitioning to fill the White Sox gaping hole at 2B. I do like the possibility of either Ketel Marte or Jeff McNeil coming aboard via a trade and might have also included potential Yankees Gleyber Torres or DJ LeMahieu as well. The RF candidates mentioned here like FA’s Michael… Read more »

You may also like

1
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
%d bloggers like this: