Chris Sale liked this White Sox team’s fight to the end but walks away from the 2016 feeling “frustrated and empty inside.”
He looks ahead to 2017 bent on doing something to change that.
Sale, who finished on a flat note himself, giving up an inside-the-park homer to Byron Buxton on the first pitch before serving up four runs in the fourth in the last-place Twins’ 6-3 season-ending win over the Sox, said the players have talked in recent weeks about “making changes around here” next year, “doing some things better collectively as players to put a better product on the field.’’
Sale, who finished 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA and 233 strikeouts – the sixth most in club history after he set the club record in 2015 — doesn’t want to be known as one of those All-Star pitchers who has never seen the inside of a postseason.
He noted the Sox’ eighth straight season without one and winced.
“It’s not good,’’ he said. “We want to change that, we’ve tried to change that. … Want to make some changes, shake things up and change the name, change the tone of the Chicago White Sox. Just be a better team, be a better organization, get to the promised land, to the playoffs to show what we’ve been working for.’’
Sale, who had his share of spats with Robin Ventura — who managed his last game Sunday after five years on the job — played it down the middle by paying respect to Ventura and applauding him for agreeing it was time for a change.
“If you’re going to make a big change, something drastic needs to happen,’’ Sale said. “You can’t do the same things over and over and expect things to change. More than anything people should look at what he said and respect that. Not all people can stand up in these lights and say that.’’
Sale’s name came up in trade talks before the Aug. 1 deadline and will again this winter, although the Sox might not deal him – unless the get a bundle in return.
“Absolutely, it could [happen],’’ he said. “This is sports. Anything can happen. I don’t anticipate that happening or necessarily really want that to happen but it could.’’
Sale called Rick Renteria, who is expected to replace Ventura as manager, as an “awesome” choice.
“Very well respected,’’ Sale said. “In this clubhouse he would have the respect of every single person in here.’’
This and that
Jose Abreu’s RBI single gave him 100 to become the seventh player and the first Sox to record 100 or more in each of his first three seasons, joining Albert Pujols, Hideki Matsui, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Pinky Whitney.
*Todd Frazier finished with 98 RBI but became the first Sox leader in both homers (40) and stolen bases (15) since Jorge Orta in 1976.
*The paid attendance of 21,828 (80 dates) put the season total at 1,746,293, the sixth straight year under 2 million. The Sox ranked 26th of 30 teams.
*Sunday’s season finale was the last game at “U.S. Cellular Field” before the ballpark’s new name, Guaranteed Rate Field, takes effect Nov. 1.
*The Sox will have the 12th pick in next year’s draft.
*Both television (Ken Harrelson, Steve Stone, Jason Benetti) and radio (Ed Farmer, Darrin Jackson) broadcast teams are expected back next year.
*Closer David Robertson on bench coach Rick Renteria: “Rick’s a great guy. I’m excited to have him. It’s nice that he speaks Spanish, too, so that helps. I’m excited to see what’s in store for us when we get to spring next year.”