In the This Is My Nightmare series, we'll take a look at what the absolute worst case scenario for each team would be in 2013. Think of it as the negative complement to our You May Say I'm A Dreamer series that we'll be running during our preview series.
A nightmare season for the White Sox is really easy to envision. Simply put…a disappointing, sub-.500 campaign like the 2011 season would be a major disappointment for the White Sox, and an absolute nightmare after the team controlled the AL Central for most of the 2012 season.
I'd imagine that a disastrous season for the Sox would start with the starting rotation breaknig down. John Danks made just nine starts in 2012, and is expected to be healthy and good to go for 2013. But what if he isn't, and Chicago is forced to rely to Hector Santiago in the rotation in 2013? Furthermore, what about Jake Peavy? Last year was the first season since 2008 in which Peavy made at least 20 starts after dealing with a neverending injury list, and he'll be 32 in May. It's not as if he's some sort of spring chicken who just had bad luck on his side. There are also questions still lingering about Chris Sale's delivery and a potential injury, which would probably make White Sox fans and management start vomiting after Sale just got a contract extension last week.
Offensively, there's a lot that can go wrong with the Sox too. Adam Dunn had an absolute dumpster fire of a 2011 season before turning things around in 2012, but he's still 33 and strikes out in over a third of his plate appearances. Just some crappy luck in 2013 can make his 2011 a reality once again. The team is also going with the inexperienced Tyler Flowers behind the plate to replace AJ Pierzynski, and Flowers has never hit in the majors, and at 27, it's time for him to prove himself. There are also the curious cases of Alex Rios and Paul Konerko. Rios is a notoriously erratic player, alternating good years with bad. 2013 is on pace to be one of those bad seasons, and Chicago can't afford a disappointing year from the 32-year old. As for Konerko, he's now 37 and took a bit of a step back last season. His career is winding down, and it all could just disappear one day at that age. His .188 ISO last season was his lowest since 2003, and this could be the beginning of the end.
Chicago's middle infield didn't play well a year ago, and it's not out of the realm of possibility to suggest that Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham will once again struggle in 2013. Ramirez is 31, and Beckham has pretty much struggled in every season of his career. You can claim that 2012 was just a blip on the radar for Ramirez, but given his age, it wouldn't shock me to see him struggle again next year. As for Beckham, he's been so consistently bad after his rookie year of 2009 that I think we can all assume this is the real Beckham by now.
The White Sox have a solid team on paper, but their offense is older and their pitching staff is frail. Imagine if their top three starters all got hurt in 2013, and their top three hitters all struggles. This could wind up being a third or fourth place team in the AL Central when all is said and done, and that's not a good omen considering the weak state of Chicago's farm system.