On Wednesday morning White Sox pitchers and catchers held their first workout of the spring, James McCann stood in the hallway outside the team's Camelback Ranch locker room. It took all of two questions before the All-Star catcher made a bold statement about what he and his teammates believe they can accomplish.
"If I said we weren’t trying to win a World Series, then I’d be lying," McCann said. "You go into every season with the expectation to win. This season is obviously no different, but there is a little more in regards to…the moves that were made in the off-season. It’s win now, and it’s not just get to the playoffs, it’s win a World Series."
Other players stopped short of mentioning the World Series, but still expressed optimism about the upcoming season.
"Everybody’s excited," Catcher Yasmani Grandal said. "When you’re excited, the energy’s going to be up. Yeah, I think we have really high expectations to what we want to do and what the season should be, but like I said, it’s a long season."
"Expectations are high, but that just means we have high goals," expressed Starter Lucas Giolito. "We just gotta continue to work hard to achieve those."
Manager Rick Renteria sang a similar tune. Last month, the Sox skipper said he'd be disappointed if his team missed the playoffs. Does he still feel that way? In short, yes.
"I’d be lying to you if I said I’m OK with it," said Renteria. "No, I’m not OK with it. We want to play to win, we want to play to put ourselves in a position to get to the dance. Again, that’s what it’s about, ultimately. If people think I’m scared to say that, you’re looking at the wrong guy,."
For GM Rick Hahn, it's important to keep expectations in place. He looks at things from a 30-thousand foot view and wants to do everything in his power to ensure the Sox aren't just successful this season, but for many to come.
Still, Hahn admits the talent is there to put an immediate end to the organization's rebuild.
"I think we’re better today than we were at the end of last season, I think we’re going to be better at the All-Star break than we are Opening Day, and I think we’re probably going to be better at the end of the season than we are at the All-Star break," Hahn said. "So it’s a continued, upward progression that in the not too distant future is going to put us in the position we want to be in."
On a day filled with hope and anticipation, Hahn did inject a bit of gloom by announcing three minor injuries. Giolito has a chest muscle strain, Grandal has a left calf strain, and pitcher Gio Gonzalez is dealing with left shoulder soreness. All are expected to be ready for Opening Day.
"Stuff happens, and for them, we are very happy that it’s not something of significance," Renteria said. "We're starting, so we’ve got plenty of time to get everybody ready to do what they got to do as we move forward."