Yesterday, when I was morosely pouring over the prospects (or lack there of) for the White Sox immediate future in the wake of Kenny Williams’ promise to “play the young guys”, I forgot one thing I was supposed to do.
Praise the decision.
As Colin from South Side Sox detailed, Kenny Williams hasn’t just been stacking up veterans recently, he’s been paying top dollar for them as well. That means even when the returns are great (Konerko, Buehrle), the excess value is minimal, and when he takes a bath (Peavy, Dunn, Rios) it’s of biblical proportions.
As it stands, the Sox have reached a point where they are already heavily invested for 2012 ($94.75MM according to Cot’s) without even factoring in arbitration raises or finalizing the final roster spots.
Worse, it’s the remains of a 79-83 team, the biggest investments and weakest performers are completely unmovable, and 27 year-old callup Alejandro De Aza is the only ‘up-and-comer’ who eclipsed 2 WAR. There’s not a world-beater lurking underneath the surface.
To improve would require investing past their self-imposed pay wall, or purging more young assets to make room for short-term improvement, but most likely it would mean both.
Perhaps it’s not even a choice anyone lower than Reinsdorf had given the payroll, but the proper decision is to step back. The current roster has not justified the organization putting itself any further out on a limb on its behalf.
The still existing age of the team makes ‘re-building’ a misnomer, and the next season, when Kenny Williams won’t already be dug in for $90MM after the last out of the season, his conservatism cannot be expected to stick.
That’s too much to worry about now. The last time the Sox took a year of semi-reprieve (2007), it did plenty of good.