The Chicago White Sox, under owner pfontaine, have been around a long time. One of the longest-tenured owners in World Major Leagues, pfontaine has been at the helm since S5.
Recently though, the White Sox have stepped up their collective game, excelling in the hyper-competitive AL North. They've won 93+ games each season since S28 and in the past 3 have kicked it up another notch, winning 107, 101, and 110 games in S30, S31, and S32 respectively. Amazingly, the middle of those 3 seasons (S31) wasn't even enough to win the division, but did snag a Wild Card berth. In S32, the White Sox came roaring back, winning the division handily and running through the playoffs with an 11-5 record on the way to their first WS title.
So how was the juggernaut born? I decided to take a look at the current ML roster to see what I could learn.
Some highlights -
Total IFA signed by CHW - 3.
1 each in S25, S26, and S27. Total of $79M in IFA Bonus.
Total true 1st Rd draft picks made by CHW - 4.
2 each in S25 and S27, all 4 top 8 picks.
Total other draft picks made by CHW - 5.
Mostly specialists/role players or depth. 1 Supplemental Rd 1, 3 rd 2, 1 rd 3.
Players traded to CHW - 5.
FA signings - 7.
No max deals, but some pretty big ticket items - total expenditure of $209.6M.
Rule 5 players - 1.
From way back in S24.
Overall, pfontaine did an excellent job of accumulating truly top talent (9 of the 25 players were top 8 draft picks, plus the 3 IFA stars) and supplementing them with complementary role players under affordable contracts. With the current makeup, there's little reason to see the CHW falling off a cliff in the next 2-3 seasons, so owners in the AL North - as well as everyone aiming at a WS title - have their work cut out for them.