The 2013 Chicago White Sox are hard to watch.
Inconsistent offense, sloppy defense, and overall poor play have them sitting at 33-47. They are 14 below .500 and are 10.5 GB of the Detroit Tigers. A poor June, where they won 8 out 26, sealed the White Sox fate for year. This team isn't winning anything. Analysts and fans are waiting to see what GM Rick Hahn is going to do with this team. Reports from various outlets surfaced last week that everyone was available in trade other than Chris Sale and Paul Konerko. Many fans want a complete rebuild on the Southside and are sick of watching the team as currently constructed. Fans are starting to turn on manager Robin Ventura this season after praising him last season. Former GM and current team President Ken Williams has received much criticism that his "win now" mentality during his tenure has finally caught up with the White Sox. The minor leagues are ranked every year towards the bottom by Baseball Prospectus and there isn't much major league ready talent. So should Rick Hahn start a total rebuild?
My answer to that question is No. I can see the reactions to that answer on people's faces as they read this. "Are you kidding me?", "What team have you been watching?", "You don't know anything about baseball?". I look at it from this stand point. Teams are judged on winning championships, especially in Chicago. For me, that's the ultimate goal. The White Sox have not made the playoffs since 2008. Let's say though they instead of missing the playoffs the last 4 seasons that they made it. Would you be happy with first or second round exits? You may say I just want my team in the playoffs, but I say I want my team to win the playoffs. A total rebuild would take the White Sox out of any championship contention for the foreseeable future. Rick Hahn knew this team would need a rebuild at some point, but I believe he was targeting 2015 when some of the White Sox's young prospects, that they do have, would be ready. A rebuild right now sends them into a spiral. Also, remember that the White Sox are a business. A business that season after season has attendance issues. How many people are going to spend money on the team if it's blown up?
The White Sox need to "retool" for 2014 rather than starting a major rebuild. While Rick Hahn has some trade chips on the current roster, he doesn't have a lot. You can't make a trade just to make a trade. A team needs to get something of value in return, unless it's a straight salary dump. You have heard the names that will draw interest. Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton, Alex Rios, Jake Peavy and Alexei Ramirez. While I understand trading the first three names for impact players, I would not move Peavy or Ramirez. The White Sox have no one to fill Ramirez's role at shortstop right now. As bad as he has been this year, he is still one of the better shortstops in the American League. If Hahn goes with my idea of "retooling" instead of rebuilding, he will need starting pitching. Jake Peavy is a affordable top of the line rotation guy, who is a leader in the clubhouse. He signed a very team friendly contract this past offseason. A rotation anchored by Sale, Peavy, and a fully healthy John Danks is a good start for any club. Add Jose Quintana and AAA prospect Erik Johnson to the rotation and it's a tough 1-5. Hahn should look to move Alejandro De Aza and Adam Dunn if possible. De Aza because the team will not be committing to him long term financially and Dunn to free up salary to bring in new players. Another name I have heard the Sox should trade is Addison Reed. I don't think the White Sox should trade Reed, because you need a solid closer to win you games. Any trade of players like Sale, Reed, or Gordon Beckham to me would mean a complete rebuild.
I may be from the Ken Williams school of "win now", but that's because I want to win. Prospects are great, but they are not a proven commodity. We have seen the next big prospect turn out to be the next big bust. I only hope Rick Hahn feels the same and decides to "retool" this team for 2014, rather than starting a long rebuilding process. I, for one, do not want to see a " The Kids Can Play 2" campaign in 2014 and beyond.
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