So ESPN and Jeff Passan just published an article saying the White Sox are the team to beat now in the American League. He feels that way now due to them signing Hendricks. Now Hendricks is a very good reliever and might be the best closer in all of baseball. But how much better did he actually make them? If the White Sox had a bullpen like the Phillies last year and still only last out to us by 1 game I might buy all this hype but they didn’t. Alex Colomé pitched great as a closer last year and that is who Hendricks is replacing. Last year Colomé pitched in 21 games in the regular season and the White Sox went 18-3 in those games with Colomé saving 12 of those wins and having no losses. Of the 3 team losses, 2 were in extra innings where Colomé pitched a shutout ninth to get the games into extras. How much better could anyone have pitched in the closer position for the White Sox last year? They couldn’t have because Colomé was not responsible for the losing runs scored in any of the 21 games he pitched in. I know that Hendricks peripheral numbers were all better than Colomé but at the end of the day it is still about wins and losses. How much can Hendricks really improve them when Colomé was basically perfect last year from a win loss standpoint?
Are the White Sox a definite challenger for the AL Central? Absolutely they are. Are they the favorite for the AL? Maybe, but not because they just signed the best closer in the baseball. They already received “perfect” production from the closer position last season and all they can do is go down from there.