Now that the offseason is underway and the Winter Meetings loom large, the White Sox are in a unique position: what do you do when your literal rivals have eclipsed you in ways unfathomable in years prior? We’re all well aware of the whole Sox vs. Cubs rivalry, and all of it’s mental, emotional and social proclivities, but the Cubs weren’t playing the Yankees or Texas Rangers, they played a team the White Sox have to contend with: the Cleveland Indians.
The White Sox get to deal with a division evolving in front of them, as Kansas City is a constant threat, Cleveland is young and ready to strike again and the Twins are always a retooling away from being in the mix. The Tigers are in a similar position to the White Sox with bloated contracts and weak ownership - but they aren’t a few miles south from the World Series champs who already embarrass them in a multitude of ways.
Buyers vs. sellers
In recent years, two schools of thought have taken hold of baseball: develop and build a farm system, and cultivate your talent, or spend big money on players via free agency and hope you put the right pieces together. It’s not exactly a science, but it’s the culture.
The Sox haven’t had a winning record since 2012 or been to the playoffs since 2008 – that’s a lifetime in baseball. It’s time Kenny let go of his aspirations of getting a bunch of used up players at a bargain price, and let the kids play. We ain’t winning another ring for Jerry at this current pace.
The Chicago White Sox are going to have to take a page of out of the gospel of Theo Epstein, because if you don’t, we become less relevant by the day, considering the Cubs bandwagon isn’t emptying out anytime soon.
Theo’s brand of baseball is cut throat, but he’s brought two legendary titled-starved teams a ring in the Cubs and the Boston Red Sox, where he started his legacy. When he took over the mantle for the Cubs, Theo moved players around till he got his mix right, letting go over a hundred players in five years. It’s tedious, but he worked enough deals to get his magic team together. If you look at his time with the Red Sox, he didn’t exactly change his formula - it just takes a few seasons of goodwill. The White Sox have always been frightened of the sell-off. Barring the lauded “White Flag Trade” back in the day, we’re not big on rebuilds. But, now is the time.
Pick the low hanging fruit
Chris Sale is a gamer and a potential Cy Young winner, but he also isn’t exactly a guy the fans fell in love with. We like winning ballgames, but we’d rather cash in his value. Jose Abreu isn’t the masher we hoped for, but he’s still very much a cheap threat who fills a lot of holes at first base. Adam Eaton is a Gold Glove finalist and even Todd Frazier can still be traded off and earn the team a few prospects.
The pieces are there - they’re just not working for us. There’s no cohesive identity of the current White Sox. By rebuilding, you’d likely draw more fans to the park than currently are, because it feels honest instead of forced. Back in the day, teams used to cultivate their talent, not buy it. It’s time we got back to that on the South Side. There’s high demand for a winner or least a team that competes.
It’s time to move the chess pieces around the board
But, remember those two World Series teams? Both teams have a core that’s under twenty-six years old. In regards to the Cubs, its median age is twenty-four. That’s insane and a team built for sustainable success, and at a low price. The White Sox can’t continue a legacy of mediocre players rotating in and out at the fans expense. The White Sox front office could sell off ¾ of the team and get a plethora of prospects in return. Let this weak free agent class dictate the price, and go for the kill, Rick. Our farm system is laughable, we have so few top-tier prospects, it’s no wonder no one ever wants to trade with us. We have to buy everyone.
Some of the prospects will pan out, many won’t, but that’s the risk we need to take, and we need to take a page out of Theo’s bible of getting em’ in, testing them and shipping them out if they can’t make the cut. Simple as that.
Filed under: Editorial