White Sox Offseason Evaluations: Part 1
The baseball season is almost a third completed and it’s time to evaluate all the new talent that came to the South Side.
This offseason was busy for Rick Hahn and the Chicago White Sox (wonder where he got it from). As I recently stated in Chicago White Sox division woes spell doom, the season has not gone exactly as planned. While the entire club is not at fault, the new guys deserve part of the blame. Let’s take a look at three of the six big acquisitions this offseason and see which moves are paying dividends thus far.
The biggest splash came in the signing of Jeff Samardzija. Other than the $9.8 million contract, the most surprising aspect of the deal is the fact that Samardzija is a free agent next season and has said he wants to explore all opportunities. Nonetheless, he had a chance to improve or hurt his stock.
Entering Tuesday’s game with the Texas Rangers (which did not go well), Samardzija was 4-2 with a 3.84 ERA, good for second among Sox starters with at least six starts. As we all know, Tuesday did not go so well (12 hits and nine earned runs) and his ERA jumped to 4.68.
Samardzija has given up three or less earned runs in four of his last six starts. Nonetheless, if he wants big money next season, he certainly has to step it up.
The best offseason move thus far has to be David Robertson. Up until late May in Toronto, Robertson was having an All-Star season. He did not give up his first run until May 10, his 13th appearance of the season. Entering Thursday’s game, he had 10 saves to go along with three walks and 32 strikeouts, both of which are near the top for closers in the AL. Take out two bad games in Toronto, a very tough place to pitch, and he has been everything the Sox hoped for and more.
Improving a horrid bullpen was certainly a key goal this offseason and as such, Hahn went out and signed a quality lefty in Zach Duke. They signed Duke to a three-year, $15 million deal. The 31-year-old had a great year in Milwaukee last season with a 2.45 ERA with 11.4K/9 and lefties only hitting .198 against him.
This season, his has a 3.60 ERA in 20 innings pitched (IP). Intriguing enough, he has a 0.84 ERA at home in 10.2 IP and 6.75 ERA on the road in 9.1 IP. While he’s one of the most reliable relievers we have, he has not lived up the expectations set from last year.
Bear in mind, this is his first season over a long career in the NL.
Next week, I will take a look at Dan Jennings, Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche.