|2007 Postmortem: The Chicago White Sox||| Print ||
Written by Rob Swift (Contact & Archive) on November 29, 2007
Finish: Fourth in the AL Central
Home Runs: Jim Thome 35
Average: Jim Thome .275
RBI: Jim Thome 96
Runs: Jim Thome 79
Steals:Â Jerry Owens 32Â
Wins: Javier Vazquez 15
ERA: Mark Buehrle 3.63
Strikeouts: Javier Vazquez 213
Saves: Bobby Jenks 40
Highlights of the Season
There werenâ€™t many things that went right during the course of the 2007 season for the Chicago White Sox, but one thing the team can build on is their performance during the last month of the season.Â When it would have been almost understandable for the team to throw in the towel, they went 15-11 and dug themselves out of last place in the AL Central. Not much of a highlight but for a team that is probably still in shock wondering what the heck happened, finishing strong is definitely something to be proud of.
Low Point of the Season
Wow, take your pick.Â Going 16-26 in one-run games, Joe Credeâ€™s season ending injury, Toby Hallâ€™s injury in the final spring training game; the list goes on and on.Â The low point in my opinion was the month of August where the team went 9-20 and was in last place, three games behind the Kansas City Royals.Â Whereas September was their high point, it was only a high point due to August being so bad.
Best Move of the Season
The jury is still out on this one, but I feel sticking with the core group of players was the best move.Â Despite underachieving, by not trading Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, Mark Buehrle, Crede, and a few others at the trade deadline, the team has cast their lot, for better or worse, with these players.
Worst Move of the Season
Getting rid of Aaron Rowand and then subsequently trading Chris Young to Arizona set up a hole in center field as well as the top of the order that became a disappointment the entire season.Â Jerry Owens showed promise, but unless he picks up the pace next season, this move could have ramifications that continue to cause problems.
Key Player â€“ MVP & Cy Young
The MVP easily has to be Jim Thome despite the fact that he missed 30 games on the DL.Â He hit 35 HRs, drove in 96 runs, and more importantly charted a .410 OBP and a .563 SLG percentage.Â Thome is in the twilight of a possible Hall of Fame career but is proving he has a lot more left in the tank as a designated hitter. He does, after all, have the third most home runs in the 2000s.
The Cy Young would be tossed up between Javier Vazquez and Bobby Jenks, both of whom had All-Star seasons despite a severe lack of run support, shoddy defense, and basically every other reason a pitcher would have to not pitch well.Â
Up and Coming Player
Without a doubt, Josh Fields is the bright spot on the long list of youngsters that are close to being ready to contribute.Â He was slated to spend the year in the minors but was called up early due to Credeâ€™s back injury.Â He responded by hitting 23 HRs and driving in 67 runs.Â The major concerns are the strikeouts and low OBP -- 125 and .308 respectively. They need work but for a player with as little time in the majors as Fields had, it was nice just to see the potential paying dividends.Â
What Went Right
To be brutally honest, not much went right.Â This team was picked by many experts to contend for the AL Pennant as well as win the World Series outright, with good reason. What went right though was they did not quit when most team would have given up on the season.Â Despite being out of the playoffs, they kept grinding and finished the season strong, which may help kick start the team in â€™08.
What Went Wrong
A lot went wrong and at times, it seemed as though it kept getting worse.Â Credeâ€™s season-ending back injury, Hallâ€™s injury, Thomeâ€™s injury, Scott Podsednikâ€™s issues with his groin, and the lack of support from the top of the batting order.Â For the better part of the year, it seemed as though Mark Buehrle forgot how to pitch.Â Many of the younger prospects were not ready.Â The bullpen totally collapsed and to top it all off, the team seemed apathetic at times and just couldnâ€™t get out of a season long funk until it was way too late.Â There is more if you would like me to goâ€¦didnâ€™t think so.
Well, Ken Williams has been very busy since the end of the season.Â He has without a doubt shored up the shortstop position by acquiring Orlando Cabrera in a trade that sent Jon Garland to Anaheim.Â He has signed a few players to extensions and cut Scott Podsednik, opening up the center field position, which Jerry Owens will call his own unless someone better comes along.Â
Other than what has already transpired, the only other moves I would see are bringing in some quality arms for the bullpen, which was a sore spot the entire season.Â Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen like the team they have and as I said, are committed to the core group of players already on the roster.Â
There are a tremendous amount of pitchers down on the farm that should be ready this coming season and for the next few years as well. Some of them include Gio Gonzalez and Lance Broadway, but knuckleballer Charlie Zink could also contribute at the major league level.
Pretty much, the team is looking to forget about the â€™07 season and treat it as an anomaly.Â However, if â€™08 ends up without a deep run into the playoffs, major changes will be made at the end of next year.