CHICAGO (CBS) -- For the third year in a row, the White Sox have canceled their annual offseason fan festival, SoxFest.
"Due to several factors, SoxFest 2023 will not be held this January. We know our fans are disappointed the event will not take place. Please check back throughout the 2023 baseball season to keep updated regarding future plans," the team announced Friday afternoon.
The team did not give any specifics on the reasons for this year's cancellation. SoxFest was 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, amid a supremely disappointing season.
Despite starting the season as the prohibitive favorites to win the American League Central title, and to contend for a World Series title, the White Sox struggled all season, finishing with a .500 record, 11 games behind the Cleveland Guardians.
Several key White Sox players were hampered by injuries -- including Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Tim Anderson, Yasmani Grandal, Michael Kopech, and Lance Lynn. But even when healthy, Grandal had one of the worst seasons of his career, and a lineup filled with power hitters saw their home run totals plummet from the past two years, with not a single player on the team hitting more than 17.
The team is expected to part ways with longtime first baseman Jose Abreu, who was the American League MVP in 2020, but is a free agent who will turn 36 before next season starts, and had only 15 home runs 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 possibly even move Eloy Jimenez from left field to designated hitter on a regular basis, in order to improve their outfield defense.
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