Deep Blue Sea is a pretty awful movie. Murderous CGI sharks given super-brains for stupid reason does not make very good Oscar-bait.
However, it does contain of the more memorable "This just got real" moments in film, when one of the murderous CGI sharks with a super-brain rips Samuel L. Jackson in half right after a big motivational speech or something. Nameless mercenary dude? LL Cool J playing a chef? Sure, one of those guys seemed ripe to get eaten, but the last capable actor on set? Dead with 45 minutes left? That signaled a bit of a change in tone.
Occupying a similar role is Sergio Santos. A reliever with a world of ability signed to an affordable deal, Santos was the most valuable trade chip the Sox had, but possibly one too good to use. Danks, Quentin, Thornton, and even Floyd all existed as assets that would merit purging first.
Surely Santos would only be sent off if a full gut-rehab was planned.
Welp, Sergio got dealt first out of everyone, so that should make things pretty clear.
This should make things more clear.
"It is the start of a rebuilding," said Williams
This should make things less clear.
"Retooling, I think is the same -- I think you can use that same word," Ventura said.
And this is just gibberish.
KW: "Now, is it the start of falling domino rebuilding? No. Absolutely not."
What follows from Kenny Williams in that linked-to Scott Merkin piece is a varied series of doubletalk about being turned off by the current market for his starting pitchers to the point of writing off trading them, while also acknowledging that he changed his mind on trading Santos over the course of three days...or less. Spontaneity! This particular multi-million dollar organization loves spontaneity.
If there's any lingering uncertainty over whether the White Sox are rebuilding, look no further than the return for Santos.
For the pleasant, alluring company of Sergio, the Blue Jays sent over RHP Double-A pitcher Nestor Molina, who will turn 23 before Spring Training. There's pretty much no way he's ready to contribute to the 2012 team in a significant way, which is notable. What he does do, is immediately become the top starting pitching prospect in the White Sox system.
How notable that is, is a matter for debate.
Molina just came off an absolutely wondrous breakout season in his first year as a starter, throwing 130.1 innings between High-A and Double-A, and posting a 2.21 ERA with 10.2 K/9, and an incredibly low 1.1 BB/9. Listing the combined totals isn't even deceptive, as he was better after his promotion.
He was originally signed by new Assistant to the GM Marco Paddy when he was with Toronto, and undoubtedly comes along with his giddy recommendation, and signals Williams willingness to listen to Paddy and invest in minor league talent.
That would be the good part. The part where Molina is the type of high-ceiling starting pitcher prospect who would make trading a proven major-league commodity with a great contract straight-up for a kid in Double-A starts to make sense.
The (inevitable) bad part is that the rest of the scouting world is more mixed on him, with Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus projecting him as a middle-rotation type, and others pointing to Molina only having two reliable major-league level pitches at the moment as a sign of a future in the bullpen. While that would be better than Molina's arm getting severed during clubhouse shenanigans, a career-reliever would be a pretty disappointing turnout.
Obviously, the White Sox disagree if they're swapping off a commodity like Santos, but it begs the question of whether or not they could have gotten a prospect whose value as a starter was not unique to their assessment. Reports that Toronto valued Molina highly are encouraging, but there's a significant risk factor here, as there is in relying on any single pitching prospect to produce.
It'd perhaps be more comforting if the White Sox had pulled off the rumored deal for Matt Thornton to Atlanta (which was hilariously debunked), because it would allow for a larger view of the rebuilding efforts, rather than a snapshot of the front office having tunnel vision on one kid.
Perhaps it's for a good reason we're left in limbo. Rumors have Williams brushing off initial offers from the Orioles and Red Sox for Quentin, and still commanding something in the neighborhood of 'a private island with talking dolphins for butlers' in exchange for John Danks, and it appears the process is being slowed by his insistence to wait out the market. For those that endured the hurried dash to drop-kick Nick Swisher to New York, and the bailing out on Dan Hudson after three starts (one of which was great), this is welcome news.
If the departure of Santos and his sweetly mesmerizing slider, talks of Gordon Beckham being on the block, and the possibility of the worst outfielder of all-time getting time in the outfield are any indication, the White Sox are willing to let this rebuilding process get every bit as ugly as it needs to be.
Ugly means Buehrle in another uniform, ugly means uninspiring retread veterans to fill space and pass the time, ugly means empty summer nights in U.S. Cellular Field, throwing 2012 to hell and severely testing Reinsdorf's commitment to Kenny Williams.
It also probably means a September call-up start for Nestor Molina. So that should be fun*.
*Ugly could also mean a lot of Zach Stewart (/bites off fingers)
Tags: Adam Dunn, Baltimore Orioles, baseball, boston red sox, Carlos Quentin, dan hudson, deep blue sea, Gavin Floyd, Gordon Beckham, Jerry Reinsdorf, John Danks, Kenny Williams, kevin goldstein, ll cool j, marco paddy, Mark Buehrle, Matt Thornton, nestor molina, New York Yankees, nick swisher, Robin Ventura, samuel l. jackson, Sergio Santos, toronto blue jays, White Sox