White Sox maneuvering toward contention

Lawrie confident offseason moves have put club on winning path

White Sox maneuvering toward contention

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It didn't take long for Brett Lawrie to make his presence felt with the White Sox, and he did it Monday morning without swinging a bat.

"You look at the number of guys and you look at who's in this room. We've got so much talent, it's World Series caliber, 100 percent," said Lawrie during his first meeting with the media. "It's just about refining that and coming together as a group and having some fun out there, and that's one of the biggest things."

That's right, the new White Sox second baseman believes the team currently assembled has the ability to win it all. There's no question the 2016 White Sox are improved with the addition of Lawrie, third baseman Todd Frazier and even the low-risk, potentially high reward, pickups of right-hander Mat Latos and infielder Jimmy Rollins, who agreed to a Minor League deal that included a big league camp invitation with the White Sox on Monday .

Rollins signs Minor League deal with White Sox

General manager Rick Hahn continues to work at assembling the best team possible, even with position players scheduled to officially report on Tuesday.

"I haven't signed that Opening Day roster and sent it to MLB just yet," Hahn said. "Until that happens, we're going to feel like there's always something else we can do."

As of now, the most ardent of fans might not quite envision this group as one playing well into October. There's still a lack of comfort with designated hitter Adam LaRoche and right fielder Avisail Garcia after their rough 2015 seasons.

Detractors will point to Garcia having 1,098 career plate appearances, meaning what has been seen from him could be pretty much what the White Sox will get. Those plate appearances also have been staggered over four Major League seasons, with the 24-year-old having one season in which he was healthy from start to finish and having lost a large portion of an important developmental year in 2014 because of an injured left shoulder.

Bounceback efforts from both Garcia and LaRoche will be needed, not to mention Tyler Saladino asserting himself as the team's new shortstop -- especially defensively. But Hahn's move Monday represents another step in giving the White Sox flexibility, versatility and greater leadership and energy.

The pitching staff looks solid from one through 12 and a little beyond. Whether or not it's a roster worthy of World Series consideration will begin to play out over the upcoming weeks.

"We like the guys that we have," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Everybody wants to make predictions and everything else, but it depends on how we play. We want to get them focused on baseball down here, hungry to win these games first."

"Anything can happen," Lawrie said. "It's a long year. It's definitely a marathon, not a sprint, and we just have to come together as a group and have some fun and just enjoy each other's company and go play baseball."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.