In Chicago, the Cubs have a relief pitcher in Dillon Maples who might light up the National League if he can improve his command. In Boston, the Red Sox have a third baseman in Rafael Devers who could help anchor the offense if they’re willing to overlook his suspect defense.
Following the 2015 and 2016 seasons, in which the Cubs experienced remarkable good fortune with the health of their pitching staff, they had to send each of their starters to the DL at one point or another in 2017. This was not enough to keep them out of the postseason, but it did beleaguer the bullpen, and this especially showed in October.
This is where Darvish comes in. In 2017, he went fewer than five innings in only four of his 31 starts. And Mike Montgomery, who likely would have taken the rotation spot now filled by Darvish, has not yet shown that he can match that kind of durability as a starter, even with Darvish’s injury history acknowledged.
“We’ve made a concerted effort to connect all the players to each other,” Renteria said. “Because in an environment in which everything they do is judged, if they’re grounded in that family environment, as far as them picking each other up, it allows them an opportunity to overcome those difficulties.”
Of course, player development is not linear, and the likelihood that each of these prospects will pan out according to plan is not favorable. Hahn said that he knows that there will be hiccups and that the baseball gods will inevitably have something cruel in store, but the hope is that the right mixture of talent and strong organizational culture will ultimately win out.
As Abreu the papá said, the culture in the White Sox organization is one that has been fostered carefully. From top to bottom, they’re operating with the camaraderie of a family, and that will pay dividends in the near future. And Jimenez, probably due to hit a few moon shots in Chicago by mid-summer, is ready.
“I know we have a really, really, really good team in the future,” he said. “When we get together in the bigs, I know that’s going to be fun.”
For the first time in years, the Vikings had a solid offensive line in pass protection.