2023 Tale of the Tape Breakdown: Playoff Contenders, Mariners vs White Sox
Offseason Summary: The White Sox Additions
It was a terrible offseason no doubt, but that doesn't mean good things didn't happen. Losing Abreu's production stings, but the Sox were able to go out and sign Andrew Benintendi away from the Yankees. Benintendi is relatively young for free agency, had championship experience in Boston, and then put together some really good seasons in Kansas City before being traded at last year's deadline.
As a gold glover caliber outfielder, and a top-of-the-lineup consistent bat, Benintendi should be an upgrade over the course of a full season compared to Chicago's former left fielder, A.J. Pollock, who's now a Mariners platoon player. Benintendi's 5YR/$75M deal was the largest in White Sox franchise history, and fans are hoping this is the start of ownership finally opening their pockets…sound familiar?
While Benintendi should help on both offense and defense, the biggest addition of the offseason may have actually been a subtraction, with the retirement (again) of manager Tony La Russa. Let me start by saying La Russa is one of the most successful managers of all time. The wins, the championships, and the consistency were always there. He retired at what seemed like the perfect time, going out with a championship in 2011. It can be hard to stay away, though.
His return to the White Sox was stunning and a complete culture clash with what the Sox had built heading into 2021. While they won a weak AL Central, they were clearly outmatched by the Astros in the ALDS. The 2022 season that was supposed to be special ended in one of the more disappointing 81-81 finishes you'll ever see. Injuries, chemistry, and culture were a major problem, but so was sleepy La Russa. The game had clearly passed him by and everyone knew it. Just ask Southside Showdown.
Health concerns forced La Russa to walk away for the final 34 games, and the Sox went 18-16 without him. With Pedro Grifol hired to replace him as manager, you have to think there will be a big sigh of relief in that clubhouse and a chance at a fresh start.