Football is back, and baseball season is finally winding down. The Chicago White Sox are well out of contention, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty to get excited about. Here are a few things for Sox fans to keep an eye on in the last twenty games of the season.
1. The pitching staff
Rotation regular Gavin Floyd will become a free agent after this season, and he is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. It seems unlikely that the White Sox bring him back. Regardless, the Sox are searching for their 5th starter going into next season.
Chris Sale is the obvious ace of the staff. Jose Quintana has done enough in the last two seasons to keep his spot for the near future. The same should be said about Hector Santiago. John Danks, however, doesn’t quite deserve the same level of leeway, but his large contract almost guarantees his spot in the rotation provided that he’s healthy.
The Sox have moved to a 6-man rotation in an attempt to evaluate their in-house talent. Andre Rienzo, who pitched well on Sunday, is in competition with rookie Erik Johnson for a spot next season. Johnson will make his second career start on Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers.
With some big names expected to hit free agency this upcoming offseason, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Sox go in that direction. But in the end it might be best to save money and continue the rebuilding process.
2. The outfield
The White Sox outfielders are really the only glimmer of hope on an otherwise terrible offense. Alejandro De Aza has now put together back-to-back solid seasons. And as long as Dayan Viciedo remains healthy, he should be a key player on offense. The verdict may still be out on Avisail Garcia, but his first impression has been a good one.
New names may grace the infield by Opening Day 2014, but the outfield should remain the same. With an average age of 25, De Aza, Viciedo, and Garcia should be regulars in the White Sox’ lineup for years to come.
3. Paul Konerko
Whether or not this is the farewell tour is still to be decided. But White Sox fans should start treating it like one. At 37 years old, I suspect that Konerko will call it a career after the season. Konerko is hitting just .248 this season, but he’s had a few nice games in the last few weeks. Hopefully he keep it going and finish the season on a high note. Nobody deserves it more than he does.