When the White Sox added 1B/DH Adam LaRoche and lefty reliever Zach Duke earlier in the offseason, it was easy to nod and think, “Yeah, fine additions, but that’s not going to make them competitive from where they were last year.”
And then the White Sox went to the Winter Meetings and added Jeff Samardzija in trade, and signed David Robertson, and you thought, “Hmm, well, yeah, I think maybe they could compete now.”
These White Sox ain’t kiddin’ around about 2015. They want to win, and they look like they very much can win.
The addition of Cabrera’s bat will help quite a bit, with the only drawback being his questionable defensive skills (with LaRoche in the fold, and Jose Abreu at first base, Cabrera won’t be able to DH much, if ever).
The White Sox now feature a potentially excellent offense, a probably-very-good rotation, and a probably-very-good bullpen. That’s a recipe for a very good overall team, and a significant story in the Chicago baseball landscape. As I’ve said all offseason, I have no personal animus for the White Sox, and I don’t really care if they’re good or bad. What I do care about, however, is the overall climate of baseball interest in Chicago, as a whole. In my experience, it’s more fun when both teams in Chicago are playing well, because it raises the excitement and interest level in baseball. And, it’s about the only way the two teams can actually experience a meaningful rivalry, since they don’t play each other much or directly impact the outcome of each other’s seasons.
Savvy move by the White Sox, too, having already signed one qualified free agent (Robertson). Now they lose only a third round pick for Cabrera.
The only potential downside here is that Cabrera doesn’t go to a team like the Mariners, who are in the market for a bat like Justin Upton. Now knowing that Upton might be willing to waive his no-trade clause to come to the Cubs, and there being a small chance that the Cubs could go after someone like that, it probably would have been slightly better for the Cubs if the Upton market shrank a little.
This is all very small stuff, by the way. The primary impact here is simply the baseball-in-Chicago thing.