Out of all the teams that I root for, the White Sox were the team that saved my holiday cheer for the first time in a very long time.
In a two-day span Illinois basketball lost to Missouri, the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Philadelphia Eagles and Notre Dame basketball lost to Indiana by two. You can toss onto that my fantasy team lost in the semifinal of the playoffs.
If you add all that together, I’m pretty sure you can figure out what kind of mood I was in during the weekend. But the one team that has year in and year been a bottom feeder was able to pull me out of a Grinchy mood.
As I was sitting in a casino on a Saturday night in St. Louis trying not to lose all my money in attempt to have some fun despite the Illini game I had just witnessed, my phone buzzed that the White Sox had finally made a big splash. Dallas Keuchel is coming to the South Side to the tune of three years and $55 million
Now that is a lot of money, but I am 100 percent OK with the Sox spending it. They really did not have much of a choice. The front office made the tough decision a few years ago to completely tear the team down and rebuild from the ground up.
Now that Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez are finally up from the minors and will be paired with Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal by early April this season, the Sox’s time to make their move was now.
Earlier in the offseason, Yasmani Grandal signed with the Sox, which was a huge move, but it was not enough. Just three weeks later Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez, Nomar Mazara and Edwin Encarnacion are all coming to the South Side.
The Encarnacion move had been talked about for a few days but became official on Christmas night, which was a welcome piece of news.
At the time of this writing, there have been other big-name free agents that have been linked to the Sox but nothing official at this time.
So after I got done celebrating the fact the front office actually made some moves, I thought about what the White Sox’s realistic goals are for the 2020 season. And I think the playoffs are 100 percent in the question.
You can call me a homer, and you would probably be right. But I can be a homer and the White Sox could still be a playoff team this season.
The AL Central is comparable to the NFC East in the NFL. And if you are not familiar with the NFC East, trust me it is a hot mess.
In the same division as the White Sox are two of the worst teams in baseball. The Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals are about two to three years behind the Sox in rebuild mode. Also, the Indians are tearing it down while trading Corey Kluber to the Rangers, and rumors have been swirling about Francisco Lindor being the next out the door. The Indians could still be competitive in 2020, but I think it is realistic to say the White Sox and Twins will be the two best teams in the division next season.
Minnesota went 101-61 in 2019 while breaking records offensively. It will be almost impossible for them to repeat the offense from last year, and they have made zero moves of interest so far this offseason.
So even if it is for lack of competition, the White Sox should absolutely be in the race to the end, and it is about time.
I have always stuck behind my teams from the day I was born, but the White Sox have been so bad for so long that I was starting to get to the point of wondering if they would ever be good again. I was in sixth grade the last time the White Sox made the playoffs. That right there is one of the more ridiculous stats I have seen in a while.
Despite how dark it has been over the last 11 years, I have been to so many games I can’t even come close to keeping track of them. Sticking this terrible stretch out just means that if this season does end up in a playoff run it will be that much sweeter.
You can contact Ryan Birch at Rbirch@RantoulPress.com or on twitter @RyanBirchRP.