The White Sox have their own definition of rebuilding, which still doesn't mean they're fulfilling it

The White Sox have their own definition of rebuilding, which still doesn't mean they're fulfilling it
It's about you, but it's not really about *you* // Nuccio DiNuzzo/Tribune photo

"Rebuilding" is a term that has some pretty rigid standards in the baseball world.  You ship out all your valuable trade chips for prospects, and dutifully wait through years of futility as they and your presumably competently selected draft picks mature.  Low-cost veteran stopgaps, and low-ceiling youngsters will dot the big league roster in the mean time so that the fans don't rip their eyes out and pelt the field with them, but God help you if you block one of your sweet, blessed prospects!

There are exceptions.  There's a Washington Nationals-style where you see the light at the end of the tunnel and start spending and trading like crazy to bring it closer, or there's the A's-style where this rebuild doesn't feel quite right, so you start it all over again with better prospects, but there's the same requisite dormant period.

But does it have to be that way?  Kenny Williams would surely prefer not.  He realizes the farm system is perma-terrible and something as be done about it soon, but egads!  A full season of Zach Stewart starting?!?!  Surely it doesn't have to reach depths that low.

What?  You can't pay 26 year-old starters market value now and still rebuild?  Why does a larger organizational focus on getting younger and restocking the farm system have to include a fire sale?  Perhaps that's just something projected onto the concept by teams that don't have the resources and savvy of the Chicago White Sox!  Yeah!  That's right, hubris, dude.

I mean, where's that even in the definition of rebuilding?


 [ree-bild] Show IPA verb, -built or ( Archaic ) -build·ed; -build·ing.verb (used with object)

1. to repair, especially to dismantle and reassemble with new parts: Ex: to rebuild an old car.

2. to replace, restrengthen, or reinforce: Ex: to rebuild an army.

3. to revise, reshape, or reorganize: Ex: to rebuild a shattered career.

4. to build again or afresh: Ex: with the insurance money we can rebuild.

1.  Hmm, they have that "dismantle" part right in the definition there?  Yeesh, wasn't expecting that.  Uh-oh.

2. Replace?  That just sounds like signing free agents!  That's totally compatible with the organizational model...can't do it right now, though.

3. Reorganize?  That just seems like shifting resources around!  That's perfect!  Shattered careers?  Oh man!  Soooo many of those!

4. Insurance money!?!? That's a great idea!  /picks up axe, heads to Jake Peavy's locker

Clearly what the White Sox need is a consistent strategy to focus on acquiring younger, cheaper assets, while side-stepping the more thorough parts of the process where the big-league team slips into the abyss.  There's gotta be a way...

Danny Knobler

"..some White Sox people cringed when Williams began talking openly about "rebuilding."

'We are not rebuilding,' one of them said forcefully."


"the word in both the international scouting community and among White Sox people is that the Sox could be very involved in the bidding for 26-year-old Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who should become a free agent next month."

Aha!  The perfect alternative to rebuilding is to not rebuild at all.  While that does nothing to quell the mounting problems of being over-invested with minor league talent pool to draw from, those problems are covered by spending.

Spending, spending, spending Reinsdorf's money until money is no longer a thing in the world.  No players with starting potential in Charlotte?  Buy that Cuban outfielder with this money we just finished printing out downstairs.  He looked spry in his workout; give him this handmade diamond pistol as a signing bonus!  He'll love it, and totally not be taken aback by that design that's engraved on the handle.  Sure, we'd all prefer to have the guy who nearly OPS'd 1.600 in the same league, but Cespedes will do, and in time, that other guy will get bought too!


If reports are gospel, the Cubs have flip-flopped between being ready to sign the No. 2 free agent on the market and being completely committed to the rebuilding project they were planning all all along.  That'd be interesting if it were true, because it would be a large and very visible business being run by violently bipolar individual.

But for the White Sox, the progression away from rebuilding seems more natural.  They settled on a tact they viewed objectionable but necessary, toed the waters uneasily, and as the trade market continued to buck at the notion of the Sox re-shaping their roster on their own terms, where a fire sale meant reduced prices, they bucked entirely.

For the sake of the future, or just for entertainment, it'd be great if it sent them the other direction entirely.  Competing within reason, and reloading without rebuilding has served neither end of the organization well.


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  • Great stuff. All this "cringing" and "forcefulness" at the thought of a rebuild - Does anyone else get a sense that part of the aversion to rebuilding among Kenny and the Sox brass stems from the fact that they find it so emasculating? Like, "real men compete, only p*ssies rebuild." But as James alluded to in a comment yesterday, it takes giant cajones to dismantle a team as part of a longer term plan.

  • Unlike the Cubs, I don't think that the Sox can afford 3 years of empty ballparks [meaning of course, that enough Cubs fans will come out for the beer party] until they can unload Dunn's salary and whomever else comes up from Birmingham. They showed that by reupping Danks, when all indications were that he was going for free agency, eventually. They are also spending for Floyd. I'm fairly sure that they didn't sign either just to trade them to the Yankees for three players from Scranton.

  • In reply to jack:

    To respond to both of you at once, this was basically Tom Fornelli's thinking; that Reinsdorf saw the reaction to Buehrle leaving and the general cyncism for a noncompetitive 2012 in the early ticket sales, and called off going any further down the rabbit hole. Unless they're willing to spend their way out of it--and why would they if they're concerned about ticket sales--that would seem to ticket them for no man's land until they crawl out from under their more prohibitive deals.

    I wonder if they'll let me pre-order 2015 season tickets.

  • In reply to James Fegan:

    So your saying Sox execs were not afraid of being unmanned, but unprofitable? Fine, but I think the "macho males refusing to accept defeat make against all odds attempt to win without reinforcements only to be massacred like Custer at Little Bighorn" trope had more potential narrative appeal.

  • In reply to Ham N Egger:

    that's "So you're saying . . ." I was told there would be no grammar.

  • In reply to Ham N Egger:

    This is Chicago Now. Grammar, math, citing sources; all kind of on the honor system here.

  • In reply to James Fegan:

    By the way, "I was told there would be no math" (and its variations) derives from an old SNL Chevy Chase as Gerald Ford bit that I sometimes fall back on when I make some kind of clerical error (which is, needless to say, often). Reaching for obscure, antiquated comedic material in vain attempts at humor is exhibit 1A in the case showing why I am not a funny person.

    Anyways, lest this comment be recognized as a total digression: GO SOX!

  • In reply to Ham N Egger:

    I wouldn't call it obscure, I've heard it plenty even though I wouldn't have been able to track it to its source.

    As I used to include in my bio, I've been writing and performing sketch comedy for the last, jeez, 5 years or so, and my first instinct is continue to riff on any joke I like rather than let it stay still.

    That said, I've chortled many a time at your offerings, keep it up.

    Oh God, this is too personal....


  • In reply to Ham N Egger:

    I think it still works. They could be too busy dithering over short-term losses to hold out for long-term gains.

  • In reply to James Fegan:

    "I wonder if they'll let me pre-order 2015 season tickets."

    Well, sure. After all, Jerry ran the Bulls organization when they were soliciting people to sign up for the season ticket list, until Michael and Scottie were gone, and the list suddenly vanished. Then they took anyone's money. ;-)

    Ticketmaster or whomever might not have those tickets in their computer, but I'm sure someone will take your money.

    I realize that that wasn't the point of your comment, however.

  • In reply to jack:

    Doesn't mean it wasn't funny.

    "White Sox Baseball: Still Accepting Your Money"

  • In reply to James Fegan:

    And that of Miller Lite, who says to "man up."

  • In reply to jack:

    One day there will be a beer company whose advertising will promote prudence, reasonable expectations, and measured investment, and they will be the perfect sponsor for the White Sox....

    ...except for the part where they have no money. No money at all.

  • In reply to jack:

    It also says "tastes great," and that's a full blown lie.

  • In reply to Ham N Egger:

    That is a lie, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the ads where they say "has MORE taste". You know, for the type of person who struggles to experience physical sensations of any kind, and thus has to shop in terms of quantity.

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    It saddens us all that the we have to wait out another year with KW's thoughtless ego of stupid trades and poor decisions. He forces Ozzie to go elsewhere because he forced him to play Dunn and others who clearly should have been sent down at mid season. How are you supposed to win with players who don't perform? Now he puts in a temporary manager that has no heart for managing a team of what will soon be whiners hoping to be traded before the deadline. This team will be a disaster by the all star break and they only solution will be to fire KW, let RV finish the season then find start over. Start planning now. Good luck.

  • In reply to Notacubfan:

    I suppose Kenny secretly forcing Ozzie's hand the whole time is one possible explanation for why he played awful veterans all year and gave cryptic and standoffish reasons as to why, but I think if that was the case, we'd have a Joe Cowley piece with unnamed sources detailing the whole thing. Also, while Dunn and Rios may have been KW's guys, 700 plate appearances from Juan Pierre is all Ozzie's doing. I'm not a fan of any theory where one of them is completely devoid of blame.

    Robin Ventura is a pretty curious hire from an organization that shirks standard procedure often to their own peril. If he's a disaster, it should be enough to sink Williams, but I'm stopping short of questioning Ventura's commitment before Spring Training has even started.

    For all the doom and gloom you're projecting, where a team of typically pretty muted player personalities becomes a pack of whiners, having it all wrapped up by the end of the season is pretty optimistic.

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