Pedro Grifol’s dream of a quick turnaround for the Chicago White Sox is pure fantasy – Boston Herald

Chicago White Sox manager Pedro Grifol ran pitchers fielding practice before Friday’s home game against the Minnesota Twins.

PFPs, as they are called, are a staple of spring training, a refresher course in covering first base on grounders to the right side and starting double plays. They’re usually discarded as the season goes on and pitchers have had enough repetitions to know what to do.

But it’s never too late to show your boss you’re not conceding anything and for players to show Grifol and new general manager Chris Getz they’re still working hard, even with 15 games remaining and a 56-91 record.

So Sox pitchers and infielders conducted the drills like it could make a difference, even while knowing their season basically ended a few months ago. Maybe it will win a game down the stretch, or maybe it was just a show by Grifol to show who’s boss.

Who knows?

What we do know is the Sox on Friday lost to the Twins 10-2, their 56th defeat in 83 games since June 9, when they trailed the Twins by only 3 1/2 games.

Yet Grifol insists the Sox can contend as soon as next year, a theory he repeated Friday.

“Why wouldn’t we?” he said. “Why wouldn’t we be able to?”

Teams that end up with records like the 2023 White Sox, who are closing in on 100 losses, seldom turn themselves into contenders in one season.

Grifol said he saw a report that contradicted my notion.

“There is a pretty good percentage of teams that have been out there that can turn it around in one year,” he said. “And so obviously it depends on what we do this offseason. I’m pretty confident that we can.”

The Sox have lost 90 or more games 12 times since divisional play began in 1969. Only once has a 90-plus loss Sox team gone to the postseason the following year — Ozzie Guillen’s 2008 Sox after 90 losses in ‘07.

The 1990 Sox won 94 games after losing 92 in 1989 but finished second to the Oakland A’s in the American League West. Most of the rest finished under .500 the next season.

Spending a ton of money to fill all the holes on the roster would be the best way to make Grifol’s dream come true. Has Getz told Grifol the Sox will spend more next winter?

Grifol said he hasn’t spoken to Getz about payroll, adding “that’s not my place to dive into.” He said Getz and Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf will “have those conversations” this winter.

“I expect us to be extremely active looking for the type of players we feel can turn this team around in a year and sustain it for years to come,” he said. “But at this time, and you’ll hear me say this a bunch moving forward, enough with the talk. Nobody wants to hear the talk anymore. Everybody just wants to see us win.

“I’m not going to sit here and promise anything because nobody wants to hear it. They’ve heard it for a long, long time. It’s about us winning baseball games. Until April, a couple weeks into April, a couple of weeks into the season, that’s when everybody should have an opinion and make a decision whether they like what we put on the field or not.”

I’m not sure Sox fans will hold off their judgment on the team’s chances of winning until a couple weeks into April. More likely they’ll know by the end of the holidays whether Getz has shipped off any of the underperforming veterans and replaced them with players with a proven track record.

Among those who could be gone are Tim Anderson, Dylan Cease, Elvis Andrus, Eloy Jiménez, Aaron Bummer, Mike Clevinger and Michael Kopech. Yasmani Grandal is as good as gone, and his would-be replacement, Korey Lee, has failed to give the impression he’s ready for a full-time job. The only untouchable is Luis Robert.

Getz should have a busy offseason, and if he wants to win next year Reinsdorf will have to shell out a lot of money to pay for free agents. Of course, the Sox could always go the other route and bring up kids to compete for jobs. They couldn’t do much worse than this year’s team, and if no one is going to games it shouldn’t matter if they go into a rebuild, even if they call it something else.

Grifol said all the prospects should be ready to fight for jobs next spring, as Getz recently suggested.

“Why not? If there’s ever an opportunity to do that, this is it,” Grifol said. “My suggestion, my advice to everybody who’s going to come to our camp next year in 2024, if they truly want to play in the big leagues, they’ve got to come in with that mindset because they’re going to have an opportunity to (play). They really are. We share a pretty similar — if not exact — vision on how we want to see this thing look next year. It’s pretty neat and cool to know that the general manager and the manager see things the same way and the style of baseball that we want to play.”

That style would be, well, like the way Chris Getz played, according to Grifol.

“He was a smart player that ran the bases well and was as consistent as consistent could be,” Grifol said. “That’s the kind of baseball he wants to see, and that’s the kind of baseball I want to see.”

That quote certainly will look good in Grifol’s performance review.

Getz was a gritty player, but he hit .250 in a seven-year career with three home runs and a .616 OPS. If the Sox’s “vision” is to have a team full of Getzes in 2024, they’re likely to wind up in the same position they’re in now.

Only five months remain until the start of spring training in Glendale, Ariz.

At least the Sox pitchers have a head start on their PFPs.


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