Jeff Copeland GM of the SSG White Sox held a Town Hall, moderated by their social media director, with fans last night to address the growing unrest among the fanbase this offseason.
In his opening remarks Mr. Copeland finally acknowledged the team was rebuilding. “I know no one wants to hear the R word, but 2021 is definitely going to be a rebuilding year. We made some moves over the past few years that were short term, win now type moves that didn’t pay off. Now we are having to step back and rebuild. We have some good young talent that we will build around. I still believe we can be a team this year that other teams don’t want to play against… we’re going to ruin some ERAs.”
“We don’t set out to just bring in youth,” Copeland said. “That’s not the goal when we talk about trades and when we’re looking at players. We’re trying to incorporate every piece of information, including the risk. There’s talent. There’s the scouting side. There’s statistical analysis. There’s character. There’s health. There’s just general outside, relative to that risk. We try to bake all that together into a bread and see what happens.”
After his opening remarks he took questions directly from the fans.
Bob F. expressed concern about the Avisail Garcia trade and then asked if the trade was financially motivated. Copeland said “Look everyone has a budget, whether we live by one or not. Jerry (Reinsdorf Jr.) has been very generous over the years when it comes to this team. Avisail was in the last year of his contract and we could not come to terms with him on a contract extension. We were working on one right up until the day of the trade. Both sides were just very far apart. I think fans will really enjoy the way that Johnny Moore plays.”
“What about Leury Garcia?” asked Rita C. clearly dismayed, “he still had 3 years of team control!” Copeland responded, “Great player, fantastic person, I wish him the best. Our motivation was to build up the farm system and the return on that deal was just too good to pass up. Drew (Pomeranz) will also be a good option in the rotation for Jose(Oquendo).”
One question that slipped past the moderator was from a user called “FireCopelandNOW” and he simply asked “Is it true you are on the hot seat?” Graciously Copeland did give an answer after the moderator apologized for the mistake. “I’m not happy with the past 6 years. We’ve had bright spots, but no playoff appearances means that we need to do better. Our winning rate of 46.3% over that span is certainly disappointing. But none of that answers the question does it. I think the answer is yes, but I think that any person in the organization from player to manager to social media director could be on the hot seat at any moment. Ownership has expressed its disappointment, but I still have their full support, whether I’m still allowed to be here next year, that is out of my hands.”
S.SideTom asked “What about Lance Lynn, he seems to be the odd man out with his payroll and age?” “Right now Lance is part of our plan for 2021” answered Copeland quickly. “He’ll be our Ace and we’ll rely on him every 5 days. Lance was having a heck of a season before his forearm started acting up last year. He’s been vocal about his displeasure as of late, but I like guys who want to compete and that is Lance.” (At the time of publication rumors began swirling that Copeland has been trying to move Lynn.)
“Who are the starting 5 as it stands right now?” asked fan Nate W. Mr. Copeland replied “We are going with a 6 man rotation this year and it will be: Lynn, Mike Kelly, Helmis Rodriguez, Justin Masterson, Teddy Stankewicz, and Drew Pomeranz. Drew and Mike both throw tremendous gas, Helmis had a great season for us last year and we expect more of the same, Teddy continues to develop and we love the leadership that Masterson brings to the staff. Dave Smiley was picked up in the Rule 5 and he could push 1 of the 6 other guys for a spot in the rotation.”
Mark C. wanted to know if Copeland was done making moves “We are always making calls and listening to offers, but right now this is the team I would expect to take to Spring Training. If we can add another piece to make the team better we will, but right now we don’t have much wiggle room.”
Copeland concluded his town hall with the fans by thanking them for their continued support and asking them to have some patience this year.