Four questions facing the White Sox as spring training nears

Four questions facing the White Sox as spring training nears originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The White Sox are on the cusp of another season that they hope features a deep playoff run to satisfy the ongoing championship window the South Side finds themselves in.

Last season, the team took a dip, recording a .500 record after finishing two winning seasons that each featured playoff berths in the American League. On NBC Sports Chicago's White Sox Talk Podcast, Joe Kelley described last season as the "worst-case scenario."

The organization is confident they have the talent in the clubhouse to make a deep run at the playoffs. Yet, there are still questions that need answering before Opening Day in April.

Here are the four biggest questions facing the White Sox:

Who will start at second base?

It seems as though the White Sox are still attempting to answer this question.

In January, Rick Hahn mentioned his confidence in rolling out the likes of internal options Romy González, Lenyn Sosa and Leury Garcia as the solution at second base. However, he didn't close the door on an external solution either.

"If, in the end, we're choosing from Romy and Lenyn, with Leury as a potential backup – that's something we certainly feel gives us an opportunity to win, but at the same time isn't going to necessarily preclude us from looking at ways to get better," Hahn said.

MORE: Hahn content with 2B options; door remains open

The White Sox, indeed, supported their interest in searching for other options, as Ken Rosenthal reported the team's interest in trading for the Royals' utility man, Nicky Lopez.

The report indicated the Royals would likely be reluctant to trade Lopez, but the interest is all White Sox outsiders need to see to understand the team isn't completely satisfied with rolling out González on Opening Day.

What does the right field debacle tell us?

During an interview with 670 the Score, newly hired manager Pedro Grifol admitted prospect Oscar Colas will receive "every opportunity" to become the team's everyday right fielder for the upcoming season.

In an indirect response, Eloy Jiménez expressed his disinterest in moving to a full-time designated hitter spot amidst an outfield rotation of Colas, Luis Robert and Andrew Benintendi, that would leave no room for Jiménez in the grass.

MORE: Eloy Jiménez preparing to play more RF than DH this year

Jiménez explained the insurmountable amount of work he's put into playing the outfield this offseason, while describing his mentality of playing defense to start the season.

“I’m really preparing for playing outfield,” Jiménez said. “Not more DH than (the) outfield.”

What can we expect from Pedro Grifol?

This question, to me, serves as one of the biggest for this team.

Certainly, Jiménez's insistence on playing right field seems to be a miscommunication between Grifol and Jiménez. "Communication" is one of Grifol's self-proclaimed skills, using it as a selling point for his management style during his premiere media session.

Fans should be curious to dive deeper into Grifol's trademarked communication skills.

What is his process for communication? What does good communication look like in his eyes?

On the White Sox Talk Podcast, one of Grifol's former players, Eric Hosmer, explained Grifol would give his players small tidbits about how they can improve on the field, which Hosmer explained would pop into his head while he was playing.

"He does a really good job of – there's so much information out there sometimes it can be overkill," Hosmer said. "I think he's really good at dissecting what's important and kinda giving us the simplified version of what we needed to know. So when you get out of the field there's little tidbits that you remember and you're not overwhelmed with all the information"

Can Andrew Vaughn fill the shoes of Abreu at first base?

The White Sox have not needed a longtime first baseman since any fan can remember.

Frank Thomas rocked the 1990s and early 2000s with a Hall of Fame career. He then passed the torch to Paul Konerko, who became one of the franchise's most renowned sluggers and clubhouse leaders.

Jose Abreu took the baton and ran with it in 2014, spending the first nine seasons of his career with the White Sox as their designated first baseman and defining the identity of the White Sox during its ongoing championship window. He signed with the Houston Astros this offseason.

Hence, Vaughn is posed to become the club's first baseman, filling the shoes of White Sox greats before him. He's impressed in his first two seasons, slashing .271/.321/.429 last season from the plate, showing off his power and plate discipline.

How will he respond now, with the rights to the seat of the throne?

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