Rozner: White Sox have genuine reasons to dream big

The reason general managers look older than they are is they don't sleep.

They don't sleep because they're always worried.

And they're always worried because of the injury they can't forecast.

"It's a lousy way to go through life, but part of this gig is to be worried about what could go wrong," White Sox GM Rick Hahn said as spring training began. "We know we have the talent to win a championship with this group, so the wish is being blessed with good health.

"You can't always promise that so depth may be tested and we may have to go outside the organization to address a need as it arises."

Welcome to the news that Eloy Jimenez is out until at least Labor Day.

The comparison to Kyle Schwarber was made immediately by those dreaming of a heroic return for the World Series, and perhaps that will be the case for the Sox and Jimenez.

It's worth remembering that the Cubs won 103 games in 2016 without Schwarber and had the division wrapped up in May, so losing Schwarber had little impact on the regular season.

The Sox expect to be that good, to get even more from a deep group of young hitters and veterans that were so very good in a shortened 2020 season.

But the best thing they have going for them is the bullpen, which is very strong and probably as deep as any in the game. When your sixth reliever is Garrett Crochet, you're in a pretty good place.

A strength has only gotten stronger over the winter.

The rotation should be superb, but predicting starting pitching is never as easy as it looks. The wild card is Dylan Cease. If he's really good, as Cease has been this spring, talk of a World Series makes a great deal of sense as the best of the American League continue to have injury problems in March.

As for Carlos Rodón, he believes mechanical changes will keep him healthy, which would be a rather large bonus. A healthy and effective Rodón would bolster what appears to be a fine starting five.

They will need Lucas Giolito to stay at the top of his game and for Dallas Keuchel (33) and Lance Lynn (34 in May) to stay healthy, and that might mean watching their innings.

"When you go from 60 games to 162, that makes you want to have multiple pitching options," Hahn said. "We're not looking for a six-month season. We need those guys strong and contributing come October.

"Obviously, we need to get to October first, but there's always going to be one eye on how we get these guys sprinting through the finish line. It's one of the reasons we wanted to build a very strong bullpen, to lighten some of the load on the starters."

It will be up to Tony La Russa to manage those innings while not going to the bullpen too early and too often, and burning out the relief corps. This is something La Russa has always done well, so he will be monitoring every pitcher on the staff.

There are many good reasons to think the Sox are going to the World Series this year or next. They are that talented and they're on the verge of breaking through.

Still, things have to go their way and the Twins aren't going away. That's a good club in Minnesota, so don't discount what should be their biggest rival.

The Sox will need to pitch as advertised and they will need those young hitters to produce again as the league adjusts to them. Not all of them will.

And when you get to October, you will need to move the occasional runner, as you can't count on only the long ball in the postseason when facing great pitching.

There is much to look forward to and solid reason to expect a very big year from the South Siders, but it's baseball. Injuries and poor performances always come out of nowhere.

It's the reason Rick Hahn never gets any sleep.

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