GLENDALE, Ariz. – Coming off a 67-win season, the White Sox have high expectations.
“It’s a good group of young men, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it plays itself out,” manager Rick Renteria said Wednesday as pitchers and catchers reported on a cloudy, drizzly day.
Winning and postseason contention could be a year or two away, but Renteria promises his team is aiming high.
“You can’t approach any season in any professional sport with anything other than making sure your process is what it’s supposed to be, getting the outcomes you’re hoping to get and connecting the talent with their ability to execute,” Renteria said. “We’re going to shoot high and we’ll see where it falls.”
General manager Rick Hahn dealt pitchers Chris Sale, David Robertson and Jose Quintana, plus position players Todd Frazier and Melky Cabrera.
Some of the acquired players arrived late last season, such as second baseman Yoan Moncada and pitcher Lucas Giolito, and are expected to contribute from Opening Day. Top prospects Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Michael Kopech could reach the big leagues at some point this season.
“I think there’s a great deal of enthusiasm from these guys,” Hahn said. “Guys from the end of last season talked about how they can’t wait for this season to start.”
Among the early arrivals is infielder Yolmer Sanchez, moved from second base when Moncada was called up last year and now a contender at third.
“We know we have a lot of talent and can do a lot of things this year,” Sanchez said. “It doesn’t matter what people say. We know we can compete.”
Reliever Joakim Soria, a closer candidate, is impressed by the talent level and the clubhouse camaraderie.
“There is a great chemistry in here,” said Soria, in his 12th spring training camp. “The young guys are mature, and I think we are going to be really good.”
Left-hander Hector Santiago could rejoin the pitching staff as soon as Thursday after agreeing to a minor league contract.
Santiago, 30, was a Sox draftee in 2006 and spent his first three big-league seasons on the South Side. An All-Star with the Los Angeles Angels in 2015, Santiago had back problems last season and was 4-8 with a 5.63 ERA in 70 innings for Minnesota.
While he has mostly been a starter for three years, Santiago moved between starting and relieving when he was with the Sox from 2011 to 2013.
“The versatility has a great deal of appeal. We saw firsthand how valuable he can be,” Hahn said. “And he’s a tremendous individual and a great fit in the clubhouse.”