Thursday, July 20, 2017

White Sox rebuild progressing, but will Yankees 'will to win' get in the way?

The great rebuild of the Chicago White Sox into a pennant contender progressed a step further Wednesday when the great young talent Yoan Moncada (supposedly the best ballplayer in the minor leagues) was promoted from Charlotte, N.C., to the big club on Chicago’s Sout’ Side.
Did the White Sox' future begin Wednesday?

Yet there also was a related move that could portend the reason why the White Sox ultimately will not prevail in winning a World Series, or even an American League championship in coming years.

IT ACTUALLY IS an old phenomenon in baseball, familiar to every fan of an American League ball club (although those of you Chicagoans who think you’re baseball fans but actually pay attention only to the Cubs and the National League wouldn’t know this).

It is the New York Yankees.

One of the realities of the Yankees having won 27 World Series and 40 American League championships is that there have been many other ball clubs that had solid teams and seasons that “might have won” in other years, but wound up falling short to the ball club from the Bronx.

Even the White Sox experienced this same phenomenon back in the 1950s and 1960s when they had those 17 straight winning seasons and a ton of second place teams. With the Yankees finishing ahead of them so many times.
Sox' Robertson returns to pinstripes ...

YET THE FACT that there is now a roster spot for Moncada on the White Sox is because of the trade that the White Sox made with the Yankees to help rebuild New York’s American League ball club into a contender this year.

Todd Frazier, who played third base for the White Sox, is likely to become the Yankees first baseman (a spot where they have been weak this season) and top Sox relief pitcher David Robertson is likely to become a set-up pitcher who becomes the guy who pitches right before top relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman – who isn’t pitching as well this season as he did last year in his half-season with the Chicago Cubs.
... after Chapman fails to match Cubbie ways

The Yankees could easily turn Robertson into their top relief pitcher if Chapman doesn’t get his act together soon. Which is what makes this trade so significant – the Yankees were able to go out and get a replacement whereas many other ballclubs would be stuck with the big-bucks Chapman contract and couldn’t even think of finding a replacement.
Lopez managed many 2nd place teams

The Yankees, who haven’t won a World Series title since 2009 and haven’t been in the playoffs for three years, are serious about wanting to contend now – and likely will make moves to keep in contention for future years.

MEANING ANY EFFORTS by the White Sox to ride a “Cuban revolution” of Moncada, Jose Abreu and Luis Robert (still in the minor leagues, for now) and other top minor league ballplayers acquired from other teams in trades this year could wind up being thwarted by the resurgence of the New York Yankees.

Which would be oh so predictable.
Ichiro's best ball club fell behind Yankees

There are too many American League ball clubs that have had their dreams of championship play halted by the Yanks.

Not only the White Sox of 1964 (98 wins, including a winning streak of the last 10 games of the season – which fell behind the 99 wins the Yankees had that year).

BOSTON, CLEVELAND AND Detroit fans can also claim horror stories about wonderful ball clubs that couldn’t get beyond second place, or the first round of the American League playoffs.

And let’s not forget the Seattle Mariners, who have never won a championship of any kind during their 41 seasons of existence, largely because their glory years of the late 1990s coincided with those Yankees teams of Derek Jeter that won four of five World Series titles in the same time period.
Will White Sox improvements be enough to match Yankee upgrade?
Then, in 2001, those Mariners managed to tie the baseball record for the most wins during the regular season (116, by the 1906 Chicago Cubs that lost the World Series to the White Sox), only to lose in those playoffs to the very same Yankees.

Is that the same fate to befall the White Sox of the late 2010s and 2020s – to finish behind New York? Once again turning the phrase “Damned Yankees” into an epithet meaning more than just a long-ago Broadway show!


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