The 2022 baseball season is coming to a close, and for all intents and purposes, it’s already come to an end for the White Sox. After a whirlwind offseason where it was unclear if we would even have baseball in 2022, the Chicago White Sox came into the season with huge expectations and ended it being one of the more disappointing stories in the sport.
Recently, a handful of Sox On 35th contributors looked back on the 2022 Chicago White Sox and gave their thoughts on the season as a whole.
What Are Your Thoughts on the 2022 Season Overall?
Jordan Lazowski | Editor-In-Chief
It’s a season in which the team did not make the playoffs in the middle of a proclaimed contention window. Because of that, it’s a failed season, and there’s no real way around that fact. The distractions off the field were aplenty, and the quality of play on the field didn’t even match the flawed, but more successful, team in 2021. Honestly, though, there’s too much work to do for 2023 for the front office to sit and dwell on this season too much.
Adam Kaplan | Contributor
This past season is probably the most disappointed and frustrated I have ever been as a White Sox fan. 2006 was annoying, but at least the offense showed up for much of the season and the club won 90 games. 2015 is also in contention for most aggravating, but the reason this season has been even worse of a letdown was that “The Rebuild” was supposed to be different. Fans had seen the White Sox try and fail before, but the organization was finally going to win the right way. The way we had seen the Chicago Cubs recently succeed at doing. We suffered through 4+ years of a purposefully bad product on the field, only to end up with this?! Just devastating.
Justin Salgado | Contributor
To sum up the season in two words: wasted potential. The Sox threw a season down the drain in what was supposed to be a competitive window. A lack of urgency, poor fundamentals, and a boatload of injuries were the Sox undoing this year. The Sox are undoubtedly baseball’s biggest disappointment in 2022, and now enter an offseason full of uncertainty.
Nico Andrade | Contributor
It was a complete disappointment. The Sox stumbled out of the gate, but no one could have imagined that come September they’d be fighting for second place in the AL Central, on the outside looking in. It was a disappointment, to say the least.
Thatcher Zalewski | Contributor
The 2022 White Sox season was very disappointing. A team that came into the year with World Series aspirations is going to miss the playoffs. This year for the White Sox was the definition of underwhelming. The team could never seem to right the ship when it came to overcoming obstacles. After a first-round exit in 2021, you’d assume the team would come out hungrier the following season to avenge that playoff loss. However, that wasn’t the case for the White Sox this year.
Duke Coughlin | Contributor
Disappointing, but in hindsight, not all that surprising. This team showed glaring flaws in 2021 that a good majority of us chose to ignore and almost all of them came back to bite the Sox in the worst way imaginable. Injuries, lack of power, lack of depth, questionable bullpen management, and no true fifth starter to start the season made the slow start nearly insurmountable.
What Was Your Favorite Moment of the 2022 Season?
I’ve been a huge Dylan Cease supporter for quite some time. Through the rocky 2019 and 2020 seasons, the vitriol following his Game 3 ALDS performance last year, and the constant battles with whether the team should’ve traded him instead of Dane Dunning, Dylan Cease has been constantly questioned since he’s made his major league debut. The Cy Young chase, almost no-no, the stretch of one run/scoreless outings – it was just an incredible season for Cease, and will likely end with a recognition of being an ace in this league.
It’s been a pleasure to watch his growth – and to be the unchallenged leader of the Dylan Cease Hype Train.
Tim Anderson has shown a knack to perform when the lights are brightest, and his three-run home run against the Yankees in the Bronx on Sunday Night Baseball was yet another example of this. The cherry on top? Yankees third basemen Josh Donaldson was serving a suspension during this game thanks to the racist “Jackie” comments he made to TA earlier in the season.
Justin Salgado: Dylan Cease’s Almost No-No
While there weren’t many to choose from, the Dylan Cease near no-hitter on September 3rd stands out to me. That was when it appeared the Sox were going to make a late charge for the division crown, and it seemed like the Sox would salvage what had been a disappointing season. It was also the signature moment of what has been a dominant season from Dylan Cease. He’s established himself as one of the game’s premier aces this season.
Nico Andrade: Dylan Cease’s Almost No-No
I was in the park that night when Dylan Cease nearly made history. One out away from a no-hitter, I was hanging on the edge of my seat every pitch. Cease threw a great game, and it was one of, if not the, best moments from this 2022 season.
My favorite moment of the season had to have been the first game against Houston on the Southside. Johnny Cueto started the game and gave up two runs in the first, which would be it for the Astros. Cueto pitched seven shutout innings after that, and helped rally the White Sox to a comeback win as the offense would proceed to score four runs in the eighth. This win looked like a turning point for the Sox and really showed how good this team can actually be.
I loved watching Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech each reach the next step in their development. Cease looks like the ace I always thought he could be and showed the confidence of a guy you want to start in Game One of a playoff series.
Kopech finally got some real innings under his belt as a starter and flashed the potential of the guy we thought he could be when we traded away Chris Sale for him. As I’ve written about in the past, a deeper dive into his numbers should make every White Sox fan excited for his second full season as a starter.
Who Was the MVP of the 2022 White Sox:
Jordan Lazowski: Dylan Cease
Being the Editor-in-Chief, I have the luxury of reading the other answers before I put my thoughts into words. Thus, I’m disappointed in the number of people who actually picked Cease for this answer. With one start to go, Cease could theoretically find a way for his season to end with an ERA starting with “1” while being the only White Sox starter – for a second consecutive season – to make all 32 of his starts. He will also be the only White Sox starter to throw 180 innings, assuming he gets through the first inning against the Padres. He’s also been a stopper on the mound, being an effective starter to help bring an end to losing streaks with his performances.
Considering the offense left plenty to be desired without a clear-cut leader, that leaves the clear-cut leader of the pitching staff as the MVP of this team.
The correct answer is Dylan Cease, but I wanted to give a shout out to the future of the franchise. After a rocky freshman campaign, there were debates in the off-season whether or not AV should be traded. If his potential and pedigree would be worth more than his actual on-the-field production, then the easy answer would be “yes”. As it turns out, Andrew Vaughn’s on-field production was pretty darn good in 2022. I wrote about his improvement at the plate and argued that he should have been an All-Star this year. While Vaughn has slightly cooled in the second half, he still leads the Sox in home runs (17) and has a wRC+ of 118. Once he eventually moves to first base, the sky will be the limit for one of the game’s rising premier players.
Justin Salgado: Johnny Cueto
My MVP for the 2022 White Sox would be Johnny Cueto. Cueto brought a competitive fire that this team lacked to the table, always battling even though he doesn’t have the pure stuff that he did back in his prime. He held teammates accountable and emerged as a veteran leader that this team desperately needed. It’s a shame the 2022 White Sox won’t make the playoffs, because Johnny Cueto deserves the chance to pitch in meaningful games for a contending ballclub.
Nico Andrade: Dylan Cease
This question is a bit loaded. There are many roads that you can go down with this answer. But all season, Cease continued to pitch really well. Every fifth day we knew Dylan Cease was going to the hill, and we all knew that we had a great chance to win a ballgame. He was that guy for the Sox this year, and boy they needed it.
Thatcher Zalewski: Johnny Cueto
The MVP of the 2022 White Sox is Johnny Cueto. Dylan Cease had a phenomenal year; however, nobody expected the production that Cueto gave the White Sox. He came in as a late-season pick-up and gave the Sox a chance to win every five days. Cueto gave the White Sox a lot of extra wins that they probably don’t have if they never signed him.
While the obvious answer would be Dylan Cease, I must go with Eloy Jimenez. I don’t think there is any position player on this roster with more superstar potential in the batter’s box than Eloy. His second half was fantastic, and he showed why Rick Hahn and Co. have been so patient with him. It’s been said ad nauseam at this point, but if Eloy can stay healthy and play 150+ games, the sky is the limit.
What Would You Like to See the Front Office Do Going Forward: Rebuild the Rebuild or Tweak the Current Roster?
Jordan Lazowski: Tweak the Current Roster
I’m not sure what “Rebuild the Rebuild” means, but when the roster contains guys like Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, and Luis Robert under extended contracts, it’s hard to really redo the work that’s already been done. Lucas Giolito, Liam Hendriks, Joe Kelly, Tim Anderson, AJ Pollock, Jose Abreu, and Yasmani Grandal will all be free agents either after this season, 2023, or 2024, so there’s a lot of “win now” still on this team. Massive changes don’t necessarily need to be made, though they would be nice. This team can absolutely get away with adding a couple of left-handed bats and a fifth starter and make a run at this all over again in 2023-2024. It’s about making those correct decisions on what will likely be a tight budget.
I get the desire to panic after one bad season, but there is a good core here. It’s about supplementing it correctly – which includes the correct coaching staff.
Adam Kaplan: Tweak the Current Roster
I have always maintained that the White Sox World Series window was from 2020 – 2023. After 2023, the contracts or years of team control of Lance Lynn, Yasmani Grandal, Lucas Giolito, Kendall Graveman, and Joe Kelly go away. There’s a part of me that believes the talent is still there, but it needs to be properly managed, and it was not properly managed these past two seasons. I am hoping strong leadership at the top can turn things around, but we shall see.
If the White Sox front office is able to make massive changes to the roster while also fielding a competitive team, then by all means let’s give that a go. But considering the baseline payroll the 2023 White Sox will have, I begrudgingly vote to give this team one more year.
Justin Salgado: Tweak the Current Roster
The White Sox should ABSOLUTELY NOT enter another full-scale rebuild. There is still plenty of talent to work with, however, some roster changes will have to be made though. The Sox cannot go through another full season with Leury Garcia getting 400 at-bats and games with Gavin Sheets and Andrew Vaughn playing in the same outfield. Also, bringing in some new voices with a new coaching staff could be the right recipe to get through to these players.
Nico Andrade: Tweak the Current Roster
I think the White Sox need to tweak some things on the field and upstairs in the front office. The Sox have some immensely talented players like Eloy, Luis Robert, and Andrew Vaughn, but this organization needs to find a way to put everything together and fill in the missing holes. Though, once it’s all together, it will be a thing of beauty.
Thatcher Zalewski: Tweak the Current Roster
Going forward, the White Sox should not rebuild the rebuild. They should retool/tweak the current roster for the 2023 campaign. This team is too talented not to come back next year and have the same failures. The roster has some holes that can be solved this winter. With the right moves, the team can definitely get back to contending status.
Duke Coughlin: Tweak the Current Roster
I’m of the mindset that the core of this roster is strong enough to shed declining players and bloated contracts to help supplement the talent we have. Hahn has some nice trade chips to play with this off-season that don’t quite fit into the short-term plan and could get aggressive with teams looking to kickstart a rebuild of their own. A new manager can also go a long way in rejuvenating this team heading into 2023. While I think some tough decisions will need to be made, there is enough here to get back to World Series aspirations. However, the margin for error continues to shrink.
Should The White Sox Re-Sign Jose Abreu?
Jordan Lazowski: Unsure
After this season, I’m not overly concerned about the “future” for the White Sox. The first phase of the window, as of now, ends following the 2023 season. As a result, I would like the White Sox to make moves that involve winning in the next year or two.
That’s where the question of Jose Abreu vs. Andrew Vaughn comes into play. This team cannot go into 2023 with both of them and still fix their problems from this season. As much as we all love Andrew Vaughn, he’s a first baseman with 25 HR potential. There are a lot of players who fit that mold – and future ones that will fit that mold. There is a very good chance that Jose Abreu on a one or two-year deal, followed by a trade of Andrew Vaughn, puts the White Sox in a high net positive position than letting Abreu walk and making Andrew Vaughn the first baseman of the future.
That being said, I’m in no rush to trade Andrew Vaughn. I’ll say the same thing I said last offseason: if you get a deal that makes the team dramatically better, you take it. First base is not a premium enough position to overvalue those who play it, and Abreu continues to prove me wrong every time I think Father Time is finally going to catch up to him.
So, this leaves me unsure of where they should go. But, the more I think about it, the less I feel “Andrew Vaughn is the first baseman of the future” is a satisfactory enough answer.
Adam Kaplan: No
I love Jose Abreu as a player, and he’s more than done enough to warrant having his number retired by the organization. But between his age and the way the roster is currently constructed, it does not make sense for the White Sox to re-sign him. Going forward, Andrew Vaughn should be the team’s primary first baseman and Eloy Jimenez should be the team’s primary designated hitter. It would not behoove the organization to have either of those players play in the outfield. Jose Abreu would be position-less and the White Sox can use whatever money they were going to spend on Abreu to improve the team elsewhere. Further, Abreu will be 36 coming into the 2023 season. While he’s had an excellent 2022 campaign and deserved to be an All-Star, at some point, the production isn’t going to be there. I’d rather be a season too early than a season too late.
Justin Salgado: No
Jose Abreu is a White Sox legend. It is an absolute shame that he never got to experience a deep playoff run during his tenure in Chicago. He deserves the statue he will eventually get, and so much more from this organization. However, he is also a soon-to-be 36-year-old first baseman with diminishing power on a team with too many first baseman/designated hitter types. Andrew Vaughn and Eloy Jimenez are the first baseman and designated hitter of the Sox’s future, and it would be poor roster building to run through another season counting on Vaughn to play the outfield every day. Letting Abreu walk also gives the White Sox some financial flexibility to address their outfield situation.
Nico Andrade: No
As much as it pains me to say, I’d have to answer “no”. I do not think the Sox will re-sign Abreu. However, I do believe that the Sox will offer him something, but I think ultimately Abreu will walk away and try and go play for a winner. Jose Abreu deserves a shot to play for a World Series ring. He has a Hall of Fame-esque resume and the only thing missing is a ring. I really wish we could’ve gotten it done with him here on the Southside, but things just didn’t work out. It’ll be sad to see him go, but that’s how the business works sometimes.
Thatcher Zalewski: Yes
Jose Abreu should be re-signed by the White Sox this off-season. Since Paul Konerko retired, Abreu has been the heart and soul of this franchise. Abreu has been playing a bit banged up this year but cares too much about not letting the team down that he played through it. Once Jose gets healthy, the power numbers should come back. Abreu can still provide value for the White Sox in 2023.
Duke Coughlin: Yes and No
The White Sox have a serious issue that needs to be resolved. As it currently stands, Andrew Vaughn and Eloy Jimenez are everyday players. You cannot justify them not being in the lineup on a near daily basis, regardless of matchups. You also have a guy in Gavin Sheets, who has finished the season on a strong note.
Simply put, there are too many cooks in the kitchen in regards to first base and designated hitter right now. If you want to bring Jose Abreu back, it has to be done with the idea that he can fit into that picture. Moving Sheets during the winter or packaging Vaughn into a trade for a star would make a return almost automatic, but similar to Abreu replacing Paul Konerko, he may have to take a back seat to younger players if he were to return.
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