Poor attendance, thin minor league system. Williams hands are tied

GM Ken Williams addressed the media as the White Sox returned home to start their home stand vs. the Chicago Cubs. During his discussions, the topic of attendance was brought up again. Williams acknowledged that attendance is not where he wants it to be. He also said that low attendance will tie his hands in the ability to add to team come the July 31st trade deadline. With the Sox seemingly a contender in the Central Division, there is hope for a playoff push. Don't be fooled though, the Sox have some glaring holes. Everyone knows them. A shaky starting rotation, a revolving door at third base, and some young arms in the bullpen that may fatigue. The Sox have cooled of late, but people want Williams to add in hope of a championship. How is Williams going to add though?

It's easy to play fantasy GM for fans. Go get this guy, trade for that guy. The Sox last season raised their payroll to $120 million dollars. 2011 was a dismal season and eventually led to the Sox cutting nearly $20 million in payroll. The biggest loss in my opinion was Mark Buehrle. Adding more payroll to a team that can't support it would be a bad idea.  Another criticism of the White Sox is the lack of talent in the minor league system currently. That leaves Williams with very little chips to trade. You can't trade of the major league roster because you would lose talent and create a hole. So if the attendance is bad and minors are thin you have to accept Sox fans, what you see is what you get.

The Sox will likely contend for majority of the season in the Central. There will be low points (last 10 days) and some hot streaks. Detroit will get hot and the division lead will change hands on a weekly basis. The trade deadline will come and Detroit will add. But don't expect Williams to bring in the big sexy names. I have heard trade for Cole Hamels, Kevin Youkilis, and add another bullpen arm. The few prospects the Sox have are still developing so their value is not high enough for a big name. Hamels would be a rental, so do you want to lose a young talent for 2 month player? You traded a few years ago Daniel Hudson for Edwin Jackson to a dd a veteran pitcher. You later traded Jackson for Zach Stewart. So Daniel Hudson became Zach Stewart. Not a great trade. Let's not talk about trading Gio Gonzalez for Nick Swisher either. Youkilis would be a mistake. He is past his prime and high priced. Will Williams add something? Yes, a minor move most likely. If the rotation remains shaky you're going to turn to guys like Dylan Axelrod, Nestor Molina, Charlie Leesman, and Simon Castro before you go get a stud. Third base? Hopefully, Morel can come back because there is no one else close in the organization to take over. If he doesn't, it will be a revolving door.

The Sox are not a team able to sustain a high payroll. In the next few years, the few prospects they have in the minors will need to be on this big league club as veterans will depart. It's hard to contend and rebuild at the same time. Williams wants to win every year, but he is in reality trying to rebuild too. As Sox fans, we need to accept that no big trades are coming. This team is what it is. You want bigger name players? Well, Williams has spelled it out to you over the years. You need to fill the ball park. Otherwise, his piggy bank is empty.

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  • In that Sox fans are not like [at least former] Cubs fans and come out despite how mediocre the team is, and thus there are financial constraints, is not Williams's fault.

    However the two things that are his fault are (a) trades that don't seem to have any upside, like trading Gio Gonzalez several times, and (b) having such a depleted farm system, either through poor development or as having used the players as bargaining chips, that there aren't sufficient quality players down there to bring up or use as bargaining chips now.

    Theo and Jed haven't yet demonstrated that their trading philosophies work, but they seem to be more than "can we trade with the Blue Jays again?"

    And, as far as ability to sustain a payroll, how much are they making off of Miller, Leinenkugel, and 4 or 5 car brands' ads? Or broadcast rights funded by the above?

  • In reply to jack:

    I agree with most of what you said Jack. The Gio Gonzalez trades are a black eye for Williams. I would put Daniel Hudson in that category as well. Two things I would disagree with is the development of minor leaguers. It's not a rich system in talent currently, but if you look at the major league roster today there are developed players through our system. Beckham, Viciedo, De Aza, Flowers, and etc. All these plyers spent time in our system. So credit to drafting and scouting. Currently though the system is thin. Williams has made a lot of trades so right now they are trying to rebuild that system. In regards to advertising, I know for a fact Sox Marketing has seen a decline. Reinsdorf puts the money back in the team. He's never made a real profit. So when they say moneys tight I believe them. Thanks for reading and the comment. I appreciate your continued readership.

  • In reply to Brian:

    While I agree that there has to be a budget and you can't spend what you don't have, first it isn't Reinsdorf's money, since it is an LLC and he is only the face or managing partner (sort of like that the $2 Billion for the Dodgers was not Magic's money), and someone posted on Chicago Now a couple of weeks ago (White Sox Observer of June 6, 2012) that the losses are mostly tax dodges, such as depreciating the contracts.

    Also, as acknowledged, there are players who came up through the system. The Cubs seem similar in that some of their players also came up through the system, but both cupboards are now bare. Jed claims that he is restocking.

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