Chicago White Sox

On the safe bet for White Sox win-loss predictions

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On the safe bet for White Sox win-loss predictions

A quick scan of various prognostications for the 2012 season reveals something not too surprising: nobody seems to have much confidence in the White Sox.

Hardball Talk's Aaron Gleeman pegs the Sox for a win total in the upper 70s, noting he expects the Sox to be sellers at the deadline. Baseball Prospectus' latest PECOTA projections have the Sox at 79 wins with a 19 percent chance of making the playoffs. The the lesser-known CAIRO has the Sox at 74 wins.

On the lower bounds of things, Sports Illustrated has the Sox losing 95 games, a projection Jake Peavy obviously disagrees with. And when Cubs Talk's Tony Andracki simulated a season on the video game MLB The Show, the Sox went 60-102.

The Sox probably won't lose 100 games. Even 95 seems like a stretch. But if only one or two key things go wrong for the Sox this season, the results may not be pretty.

The good news, though, is that if two or three key things go right, the Sox should contend for the playoffs deep into the season. Let's say Adam Dunn rebounds nicely, Peavy stays healthy and Chris Sale is effective. Even if everything else stays the same from 2011 -- namely, the production of Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham -- those three things breaking in favor of the Sox could put them into contention.

The White Sox aren't the Rangers, which PECOTA projects to be the best team in baseball this year. The Rangers can shoulder the loss of a key player or two -- like the 60 or so games Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz combined to miss last year. The White Sox don't have that wiggle room.

So that's why you're seeing these modest projections. Around 77 wins is the safe bet, the one that doesn't require much to break right -- or wrong -- to reach. I

f the Sox win 90, don't go back and dismiss these projections as pointless, or inaccurate, or the spawn of the devil. PECOTA isn't saying the Sox will absolutely win 79 games -- it's saying that's the most likely outcome. And hey, a chance to make the playoffs at about 20 percent isn't the worst thing ever, either.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk rips Lackey, Swarzak traded, Coop misses Q

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk rips Lackey, Swarzak traded, Coop misses Q

After a wild day at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, Chuck Garfien and Dan Hayes discuss John Lackey hitting four White Sox batters and also play Hawk Harrelson's epic on-air rant directed at the Cubs pitcher.

"Jeff the Sox Fan" appears on the podcast and suggests what he thinks Jose Abreu should have done to Lackey when he was hit for a second time.

While they taped the podcast, Anthony Swarzak was traded to the Brewers. What kind of return did the White Sox get? Garfien also interviews White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper about losing Quintana to the Cubs, why he can't watch Quintana and Chris Sale pitch in different uniform, when some minor leaguers like Reynaldo Lopez will be called up and more.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

How White Sox aggressive deadline strategy paid off in Anthony Swarzak trade

How White Sox aggressive deadline strategy paid off in Anthony Swarzak trade

The White Sox jumped out ahead of a crowded reliever market once again and traded Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.

The White Sox acquired 25-year-old outfielder Ryan Cordell from the Brewers in exchange for the veteran reliever, a baseball source confirmed. The No. 17 prospect in the Brewers farm system, Cordell was hitting .284/.349/.506 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs in 292 plate appearances at Triple-A Colorado Springs this season.

A nonroster invitee to big league camp this spring, Swarzak was 4-3 with a 2.23 ERA, one save and 52 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings this season. He’s the third reliever the White Sox have traded since the second half began as they also dealt David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees with Todd Frazier on July 18.

TA free agent after the season, Swarzak has fared extremely well in high-leverage situations, stranding 26 of the 35 runners he had inherited. He pitched in two high-leverage spots in the team’s previous two games, earning his first career save Monday. Swarzak, whose 9.68 strikeouts per nine is a career high, also earned a hold on Sunday in Kansas City.

“I’ve been waiting for that opportunity for a long time,” Swarzak said of Monday’s save. “It’s nice that I went in there and got it done. You think about that moment for years and then it finally happens. You just are trying to take a step back and reflect on what just happened, and I’ll be able to come in tomorrow and be ready to go.”

Two American League scouts said Monday that Swarzak still had good trade value even though he’s viewed as a rental. While he wouldn’t likely net the White Sox a top-150 prospect, they could wrangle a “good” minor-leaguer in a deal. One element that could have potentially derailed the White Sox was an abundance of strong relief options in the market, perhaps as many as 20 pitchers.

[MORE: Carlos Rodon frustrated again after a weird start

After the White Sox traded Robertson and Kahnle, general manager Rick Hahn indicated they moved the pair early in anticipation of a competitive marketplace when they acquired Blake Rutherford and others from the New York Yankees. The Baltimore Orioles are a team that could have wreaked havoc on the relief market if they decide to sell -- something one AL source said they’ve gone back and forth on every day -- because they could flood it with Zach Britton and others.

The move is the third made by the White Sox in a span of two weeks, including the trade of Jose Quintana to the Cubs on July 13. The White Sox still have several veterans on the roster who could draw trade interest, including starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez.

“We are still open for business,” Hahn said last week.

Today’s Knuckleball’s Jon Heyman first reported the deal that sent Swarzak to the Brewers. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal initially reported the teams’ were discussing a trade for Swarzak.