CHICAGO (SCS) — For the third year in a row, the White Sox have canceled their annual off-season fan festival, SoxFest.
“Due to several factors, SoxFest 2023 will not take place in January. We know our fans are disappointed the event will not take place. Please check back throughout the 2023 baseball season to keep up to date. aware of future projects,” the team announced on Friday afternoon.
The team did not provide details on the reasons for this year’s cancellation. SoxFest has been canceled in 2021 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move comes amid a pivotal offseason for the White Sox, as the team is currently searching for a new manager, after Tony La Russa retired last month due to health reasons, at the middle of an extremely disappointing season.
Despite starting the season as prohibitive favorites to win the American League Central title and to challenge for a World Series title, the White Sox struggled all season, finishing with a record .500, 11 games behind the Cleveland Guardians.
Several key White Sox players have been hampered by injuries, including Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Tim Anderson, Yasmani Grandal, Michael Kopech and Lance Lynn. But even healthy, Grandal has had one of the worst seasons of his career, and a roster filled with power hitters has seen his homer totals plummet over the past two years, with no player on the team hitting any. over 17.
The team is expected to part ways with longtime first baseman Jose Abreu, who was the 2020 American League MVP but is a free agent who will turn 36 before the start of next season and has only had 15 homers in 2022, despite a .304 batting average. The White Sox also have first basemen Andrew Vaughn and Gavin Sheets on the roster, and both have spent the past two seasons playing out of position in the outfield.
Letting Abreu go should allow the White Sox to move Vaughn to first base, and maybe even move Eloy Jimenez regularly from left field to designated hitter, to improve their outfield defense.