Thu Mar 23 11:24am ET
Field Level Media
2022 record: 81-81, second in American League Central
Offseason headlines: One day before turning 78, manager Tony La Russa retired due to health complications rather than try to make a run at a third season managing the White Sox. He missed the final five weeks of the season because of a heart issue. Now the man in charge is Pedro Grifol, former bench coach of the division rival Kansas City Royals. The highest-profile pitcher Chicago signed was right-hander Mike Clevinger, on a one-year deal with an option for 2024. Six weeks after the signing, it was revealed Clevinger was under MLB investigation for allegations of physical, verbal and emotional abuse of the mother of his infant daughter. When the MLB probe concluded, it said no suspension was necessary.
Spring storylines: Primed with young, talented bats and some stellar starters, can this team do what it failed to do under La Russa and win a playoff series? The first step is getting back to the playoffs at all, and to do that they'll need to remain healthy. Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez and Tim Anderson all played fewer than 100 games last season; Yoan Moncada played 104. The team is working through supposedly minor injuries during spring training. In January, closer Liam Hendriks announced he was beginning treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. "I'm not going to have a closer," Grifol said this spring. He will use a committee approach out of the bullpen, with Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly, Reynaldo Lopez and Jake Diekman all figuring to pitch ninth innings at some point.
Young guns: Rule 5 Draft pick Nick Avila, a right-handed reliever (San Francisco), has yet to make the show but is pushing for a spot in Chicago's bullpen, which will need all the help it can get. Outfielder Oscar Colas has flashed power during spring training and could reach the big leagues later this year.
Fall feeling: A division title should be in the realm of possibility again for the White Sox, just as it was a wide-open race for much of 2022 before Cleveland sped past Chicago and Minnesota in the home stretch. The club snapped an 11-year postseason drought with consecutive trips in 2020 and 2021; now it hopes to make October baseball a more regular occurrence under new management.
Odds, even: Caesars Sportsbook is more bullish on the White Sox' chances to win the AL Central, pegging them second at +205, than DraftKings or FanDuel, which has them third at +250 behind both Cleveland and Minnesota.