Home News Chicago White Sox, Pedro Grifol motivated for 2024 season

Chicago White Sox, Pedro Grifol motivated for 2024 season

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Chicago White Sox, Pedro Grifol motivated for 2024 season

Motivation can come in any number of ways for a major-leaguer.

“Everybody’s got their own motivational clock or theme,” Chicago White Sox manager Pedro Grifol told the Tribune on Wednesday morning in his office at Guaranteed Rate Field. “I’ve talked to them about this — what motivates them. Is it family, is it money, is it fame, is it your teammates, is it championships? Everybody has a different motivation. And none of them is wrong.

“Motivation makes you the very best that you can be. When you go through the roster, everybody does have something to prove. Whether it’s a year that they feel they can build upon. Whether it’s a year they felt they weren’t at their best. Whether it’s a year plagued by injuries. Whether it’s a contract year coming up. Whatever the case may be, there’s individual motivation.”

Grifol, 54, said the team’s motivation for 2024 should be simple coming off a 101-loss season.

“We let everybody down last year,” he said. “And the ones that return, we felt it. We know what it feels like. And we’ve just got to go out there and prove now that we can do this thing.”

Their first opportunity to prove themselves comes Thursday with the season opener against the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field (3:10 p.m., NBCSCH).

There was plenty of roster turnover from last year: an entirely different rotation and a new starting catcher in Martín Maldonado and middle infield in second baseman Nicky Lopez and shortstop Paul DeJong.

The preseason predictions were bleak. According to the team PECOTA projections unveiled by Baseball Prospectus, the Sox have a 0.0% chance of winning the World Series in 2024. The site projects the Sox to finish last in the American League Central with a 0.2% chance of winning the division and a 0.3% chance of making the playoffs.

It’s another motivating factor for the Sox. Grifol is well aware of the 0.0% figure.

Photos: White Sox prep for opening day at Guaranteed Rate Field

 

“I enjoy (predictions) just because I get motivated by adversity or people thinking we can’t do something,” Grifol said. “When somebody says you can’t do something or there’s a prediction out there that you can’t do this, that kind of strikes a little fire in me and I know it does in them, to a point where, ‘OK, let’s see what happens.’ ”

Grifol is beginning his second season as the team’s manager.

“I know he’s much more comfortable with the role he’s in,” general manager Chris Getz said Wednesday. “I was very happy with how spring training was run. He feels like he has the staff around him that can go out there and do the job on a regular basis and he’s going to have to lean on his staff. I’m here to support him. It takes a lot of people to go out there and put together a successful 162 games, and we’re in position to do that.”

Grifol said he has embraced changes across the board.

“I think change is consistent, change is healthy,” he said. “We’ve changed a lot of stuff here. Philosophies, players, staff. You learn in this game, change is constant and you either embrace it or probably won’t fit in. Over my career, I’ve learned to embrace it and have fun with it.”

The new-look pitching staff is highlighted by opening-day starter Garrett Crochet, who is making the move from the bullpen to the rotation. It also includes three starters who were elsewhere last season in Michael Soroka (Atlanta Braves), Erick Fedde (NC Dinos in the Korea Baseball Organization) and Chris Flexen (Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies).

The bullpen includes players acquired via free agency (John Brebbia and Tim Hill) and trade (Steven Wilson), along with Michael Kopech transitioning from the rotation.

“When you talk about the construction of our pitching staff, it’s exciting because there’s a lot of unknowns but there’s a lot of talent,” Grifol said. “This can go really well quickly or it can create some challenges. What I do know is that these guys are hungry, they’re talented and they love to compete.”

Grifol said part of the message offensively is “don’t try to do too much, don’t try to carry the whole team.”

“Let the rhythm and the tempo of the lineup take shape,” he said. “Just stay in your role, be who you are, be selfless, play selfless and let’s just see what happens.”

Generally speaking, Grifol has said the expectation is to “to get better every single day.”

“We’ve established our core values as an organization, we’ve established a style of play we want to play and we have to play within those core values and that style,” Grifol said. “Our expectations is to improve within that style of baseball every single day.

“Expectation can be a negative when you start putting certain numbers or certain goals in front of you because you never want to limit yourself and you never want to limit a team. We have to wait and see what this team, this group of 26 guys do together.”



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