With just under 24 hours left between us and the start of Spring Training for the Chicago White Sox, there are a couple of items of interest to discuss this morning.
NBC Sports Chicago’s White Sox Talk Podcast had White Sox GM Rick Hahn on their latest episode released early Tuesday morning, and there were some pretty interesting pieces of information regarding the offseason and the “labor pains,” behind the “baby,” as Hahn would say.
We were also treated (depending on how you feel about Baseball Prospectus’ annual win-loss prediction machine) to the 2020 PECOTA win projections, and they weren’t particularly as nice to the White Sox as fans would like.
The first thing that stuck out to me this morning on the White Sox Talk Podcast was the details behind the pursuit of newly minted White Sox catcher, Yasmani Grandal.
Rick Hahn told Chuck Garfien that he contacted Grandal’s representatives the morning after the Washington Nationals won the 2019 World Series, the earliest possible time permitted by the league office. Hahn also revealed that another team did the same and that at one point early on, an undisclosed team had offered Grandal a four-year deal.
Grandal wasn’t the only player that the White Sox contacted early on, as Hahn stated that he sent super-agent Scott Boras a list of his clients in particular that the White Sox wanted to talk to, with Dallas Keuchel obviously being one of them.
Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole were not on that list, and despite Hahn, like everyone else, giving the two some internal thought, those two names were just not realistic targets in their mind. Hahn pointed to the desire to build something sustainable over the long run as the front office’s reasoning behind that logic.
Another interesting tidbit from the episode was when Chuck Garfien asked Hahn about the available second basemen on the market regarding a potential spring acquisition to hold down the fort at second base until Nick Madrigal took the position over. Hahn acknowledged both the knowledge of the saturated market and the potential fit, but he essentially said that Sox fans shouldn’t count on that being something that ultimately happens between now and Madrigal’s arrival. Danny Mendick and Leury Garcia were named as the two options there for the interim.
You can listen to the full episode of the podcast, here.
PECOTA Win-Loss Projections
The annual Baseball Prospectus PECOTA win-loss projections were released this morning, and as I alluded to above, the projection machine isn’t as confident in the White Sox as some.
PECOTA has the White Sox at 83 wins and 80 losses, good for third place in the division.
The Minnesota Twins are slated for 93 wins and 69 losses — and an A.L. Central title — according to PECOTA, with the Cleveland Indians behind them in second place with a record of 86-76.
According to PECOTA’s projections, the White Sox have a slim 5.9 percent chance at winning the division and an 18.1 percent chance at making the playoffs overall.
PECOTA believes that the Twins will run away with the division with an 89.2 percent chance at being crowned A.L. Central champions.
As SoxMachine’s Patrick Nolan articulated on his Twitter page this morning, PECOTA gets it’s total win projections by taking the midpoint of the projections, which means that the machine sees the possibility of the Sox winning as many as 90-100 games, or thereabout.
Either way, I’ll just regurgitate my running advice to Sox fans — turn off the prediction machine and enjoy the process.
While pitchers and catchers don’t officially report until Wednesday morning with positional players following next Monday, the White Sox have a number of players on both sides already in camp and working.
According to Chicago Sun-Times beat reporter Daryl Van Schouwen, Yoan Moncada, Leury Garcia, Nomar Mazara, Adam Engel, Nick Madrigal, and Tim Anderson are among the position players who have already reported to Camelback Ranch this week.
Be sure to stay tuned to On Tap Sports Net all spring long for our coverage of White Sox Spring Training.