February 19, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox second baseman Jeff Keppinger (7) represents the biggest acquistion the team made in the off season. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

2013 AL Central Preview: Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox didn’t hurt themselves in the off season, but they didn’t do much to help themselves either.  2012 was an also-ran season for the Chicago White Sox.  The biggest news for the team from the south side in 2012 was the return of Alex Rios’ bat (.304/24 HR) and Adam Dunn’s (41 HR) power stroke. From the mound Chris Sale had a break out season (17 Wins 3.05 ERA) while making his first All-star appearance.

The 2013 Chicago White Sox won’t look much different. The team signed  Jeff Keppinger from Tampa Bay they hoped he would fill a void on the infield. By adding him to the line-up the hope he can be another base runner ahead of the big bats.

And the Big Bats are formidable.

Alex Rios, Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko are an excellent 3-4-5 combo and will do damage if allowed to come to the dish with runners on. However, beyond Konerko at the five spot the Chicago White Sox will struggle to keep a rally going.  Outside of Alexei Ramirez, whose power numbers keep dropping, the White Sox are the model of inconsistency.

While the Kansas City Royals completely upgraded their rotation, the Chicago White Sox did little to keep up.  Chris Sale is the unproven ace of the rotation followed by the aging Jake Peavy.   The other three starters Gavin Floyd, Jose Quintana and Dylan Axelrod are a combination of inconsistency and inexperience.

The Chicago White Sox have too many question marks to hold down the new look Kansas City Royals in the race for second place and a possible AL wild card.  Will Adam Dunn slump again? Are Alexei Ramirez, Paul Konerko and Jake Peavy on the downsides of their career? Can Gordon Beckham finally hit the bender? (forgive the David Beckham reference) Is Robin Ventura going to ask Nolan Ryan for a rematch?  All but the last are legitimate questions that the Chicago White Sox will have to answer in order to compete this season. 2013 prediction: 83-79 third place.

Tags: AL Central Chicago White Sox MLB

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