After a very disappointing 73-89 2014 season for the Chicago White Sox, the team quickly began looking at ways to re-build the team. Losing players such as Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn left holes in the roster but also opened opportunities for general manager Rick Haun to drastically improve the team. So far, he is doing just that – adding Jeff Samardzija and David Robertson shortly after signing Adam LaRoche.
In 2014, the White Sox were 27th overall in team ERA with 4.29. Aside from Chris Sale and his 12-4 record (2.17 ERA), the staff as a whole struggled for manager Robin Ventura. While Jose Quintana showed glimpses of success over the season, it was evident that Chicago needed to provide more depth to their pitching roster.
Enter Jeff Samardzija. By acquiring the right-handed starter from the Oakland Athletics, the White Sox added a second ace to their staff. Not only does a rotation topped by Sale, Samardzija and Quintana give the White Sox’s a drastically improved rotation, it also means that if Chicago can find some way to get back into the playoffs they would have three starters worthy of playoff matchups.
Replacing Mariano Rivera is no easy task, but David Robertson managed to compile 39 saves and a 3.08 ERA in 63 appearances. Meanwhile, last season eight White Sox relievers combined to save 36 games in 57 opportunities – a 63 percent success rate. If you are counting at home, that is 21 blown saves last season – in comparison, Robertson had just five. Speaking of struggles, Chicago’s bullpen ranked 28th in the league with a 4.38 ERA.
The addition of these two pitchers and LaRoche’s power gives the White Sox a much-needed new look for 2015. While they are still in need of adding a few pieces to their puzzle (a new second baseman, a few relievers), the White Sox are already much improved over their 2014 counterpart. If nothing else, these acquisitions take the immediate pressure off of Sale and Jose Abreu to carry this team throughout an entire season.
Cover Photo: Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports; Ezra Shaw/Getty Images;Kathy Willens/Associated Press
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