Powell: Three Questions For the White Sox This Season
GLENDALE, Ariz. – As pitchers and catchers report across baseball, here are a few things to keep an eye on in the White Sox camp this season.
How much more talent can general manager Rick Hahn acquire? It’s been a remarkable 14 months for the White Sox, maximizing returns for aging veterans. Hahn has re-energized the Sox faithful and the clubhouse while stocking the farm system with a plethora of talent.
“I think there’s a great deal of enthusiasm with (the players),” Hahn said on Wednesday. “You’ve heard about it from last year. Guys have talked about how they can’t wait for this season to start…and their eagerness to pick up right where they left off.”
Who else can Hahn flip for prospects? Avi Garcia and Jose Abreu could bring back nice returns, but the Sox don’t necessarily have to trade either. Abreu could be the constant the team builds around. And he has been a mentor for young guys like Yoan Moncada. Plus, would the return even be worth it? How many teams would be willing to give up worthy prospects for an aging slugger?
As for Garcia, he’s just 26 and coming off a career year. So far, there probably isn’t a rush to deal him.
In a dream scenario James Shields somehow gets back to respectability and a team takes a flyer on him at the deadline. That’s a stretch, and unlikely, but you never know.
Hahn said Joakim Soria will get a shot at the closer role. If he can put a solid season together maybe he too can be dealt at the deadline.
On Wednesday Soria said he’d be happy to take over as closer.
What will the Sox outfield look like? Avi Garcia will start in right. But what about center and left? Adam Engel was a star defensively in center but wasn’t able to figure things out at the plate. I think a lot of Sox fans still have their fingers crossed that local kid Charlie Tilson can stay healthy and finally take over the CF spot.
“I do feel fortunate to be in this clubhouse,” Tilson said. “It’s a bunch of great guys in here. I’ve had great support especially given what I’ve gone through in the past year.”
Manager Rick Renteria added: “In baseball anything is possible. As long as he goes out there and remains healthy, he’s always going to be in the conversation.”
Expect to see 2017 breakout Nicky Delmonico get the nod in left to start the year.
Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720