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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Cubs, White Sox ready for 2024 season

Matt York
Chicago White Sox shortstop Danny Mendick throws a baseball during the second inning of a spring training baseball game Friday in Tempe, Arizona. The White Sox and Chicago Cubs are set for their respective Opening Day games on Thursday. (AP Photo/Matt York)

MLB opening day is fast approaching as the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs open up their 2024 seasons Thursday. The White Sox begin with a three-game home series against the AL Central rival Detroit Tigers. The Cubs travel to Arlington for a three-game set with the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers to kick off their season.

The White Sox are coming off a disastrous 61-101 2023 season, their worst since 1970 and just their fourth 100-loss campaign in franchise history. Center fielder Luis Robert emerged as a superstar for the White Sox, finishing third in the AL in home runs with 38, making his first All-Star team and earning his first career Silver Slugger award. 

The Cubs finished 2023 with an 83-79 record, finishing one game behind the Miami Marlins for the National League’s final wildcard spot. After a long-awaited free agency decision, Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger returned to Chicago. The 2019 NL MVP turned in his best season since his MVP campaign, finishing 10th in NL MVP voting and earning his second Silver Slugger award. 


Key Signings: None

Key Departures: Pitcher Dylan Cease, shortstop Tim Anderson, pitcher Liam Hendriks

The White Sox bid farewell to numerous fan favorites this season, most notably Anderson, Cease and Hendriks. 

Due to the White Sox struggling during the 2023 season, they traded away many of their most valuable pieces at the 2023 trade deadline. Third baseman Jake Burger, pitchers Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly and Reynaldo Lopez are all faces from last season’s opening day roster that have since found new homes.

Anderson was the White Sox’s longest tenured player at the time of his departure, as he spent eight years on the southside of Chicago. After an AL batting title in 2019, finishing 7th in AL MVP voting in 2020 and helping lead the White Sox to an AL Central title in 2021, the 30-year-old fell on hard times his last two years in Chicago. 

Anderson battled injuries during the 2022 season and appeared in just 79 games before posting a .245 batting average in 2023, his lowest since 2018. Anderson will be reunited with Burger in Miami, looking for a fresh start with the Marlins.

Cease had big strikeout games but also struggled immensely with command until 2022. Cease put it all together in 2022, finishing with a 2.20 ERA and second in AL Cy Young Voting. After regression in 2023, which saw his ERA balloon to 4.58, the White Sox decided it was time to part ways. 

Cease was shipped to San Diego for a package surrounding Padres No. 5 prospect pitcher Drew Thorpe and Padres No. 7 prospect outfielder Samuel Zavala on March 13. 

Hendriks was named the 2021 AL Reliever of the Year during his first season in Chicago, leading the league in saves and being named to the All-MLB First Team. After a second consecutive All-Star season with the White Sox in 2022, Hendriks battled extreme adversity throughout 2023. Hendriks was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

The 35-year-old beat his cancer diagnosis and returned to the mound in May, pitching in five games. His 2023 season was ultimately cut short due to Tommy John Surgery. Hendriks was cut by the White Sox after 2023 and inked a two year deal with the Red Sox during the offseason.

The White Sox are in full-blown rebuild mode and have traded away or seen almost all of their major talent leave town. The biggest names the White Sox brought in for the 2024 season are pitcher Michael Soroka, shortstop Paul DeJong and outfielder Kevin Pillar. The White Sox are likely in for another very long season.


Key Signings: Outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger, pitcher Shota Imanaga, manager Craig Counsell

Key Departures: Pitcher Marcus Stroman, third baseman Jeimer Candelario

With Bellinger back and new manager Craig Counsell at the helm, the Cubs are ready to compete for an NL Central title after finishing second behind the Milwaukee Brewers in 2023. 

Stroman was the Cubs clear cut No. 2 starter last year behind the emergence of pitcher Justin Steele. Stroman left the Cubs after two years on the Northside to sign with his hometown New York Yankees. Stroman was an All-Star in 2023, but injuries ultimately derailed the second half of his season. The 32-year-old pitched just eight innings after July. 

The Cubs signed Imanaga from Japan after the 2023 season as the 30-year-old will pitch in his first MLB season in 2024. Imanaga will likely take Stroman’s place as the No. 2 pitcher in the Cubs’ rotation behind Steele. 

A trade deadline acquisition in 2023 from the Washington Nationals, Jeimier Candelario signed a three-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds after just 41 games with the Cubs. Candelario hit a career-high 22 home runs last season and drove in a career-high 70 runs. Candelario’s switch hitting ability will be missed by the Cubs. 

While Counsell won’t be impacting the play on the field, the Cubs scored one of the most successful managers in MLB. Counsell managed the division rival Brewers since 2015, taking them to the playoffs five times in the last six years. Former manager David Ross will always be loved in Chicago due to his heroics in the 2016 World Series, but the Cubs scored a massive upgrade with this hire.

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