2014 Outlook: Chicago White Sox

2014 Outlook: Chicago White Sox
January 11, 2014, 8:00 am
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2013 record: 63-99, 5th place in AL Central
Manager: Robin Ventura, 3rd season
Estimated 2014 payroll: $85 million
Key additions: OF Adam Eaton, 1B Jose Abreu, 3B Matt Davidson, RHP Felipe Paulino, RHP Ronald Belisario, LHP Scott Downs
Key losses: RHP Addison Reed, RHP Gavin Floyd

Projected lineup
CF Adam Eaton
LF Alejandro De Aza
1B Jose Abreu
DH Adam Dunn
RF Avisail Garcia
SS Alexei Ramirez
2B Gordon Beckham
3B Matt Davidson
C Tyler Flowers

Projected rotation
LHP Chris Sale
LHP Jose Quintana
LHP John Danks
RHP Erik Johnson
RHP Felipe Paulino

Top relievers
CL Nate Jones
RHP Matt Lindstrom
RHP Ronald Belisario

Biggest questions entering 2014
1. Is Jose Abreu the real deal? Desperate to improve the AL's least-productive offense, the White Sox made a major splash this winter, signing the Cuban defector to a six-year, $68 million contract. That's the biggest contract in franchise history, for a a relatively unknown quantity. Abreu mashed the Cuban league before defecting via Haiti. Will he be the next Yasiel Puig or Yoenis Cespedes? The White Sox sure hope so.

2. Can Nate Jones fill the closer gap? The White Sox traded away promising, young closer Addison Reed to the Diamondbacks to get Adam Eaton and Matt Davidson. The move helps them offensively, but they still need somebody to close. Enter Jones, who was fantastic as a rookie in 2012 but took a step back last season in a setup role. Given how few runs this team figures to score, Chicago really needs Jones to be able to lock down low-scoring, 2-1 or 3-2 victories.

3. Do Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko have anything left? To say that Dunn's four-year, $56 million contract has been a disappointment is an understatement. Through three seasons, he owns a .197 batting average and .405 slugging percentage, miles below his career norms. He's slated to DH once again. Can he prove productive enough? Konerko, meanwhile, re-signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract, understanding he'll be coming off the bench. But whether it's splitting time with Dunn at DH or giving Abreu days off at first base, he's going to need to be productive to help the White Sox score some runs.