So they might just tear it all down

The next few years figure to be very rough.

To that end, the White Sox look closer than ever, or as close as they will allow themselves to be, to declaring the start of a rebuild. From Dan Hayes:

“’We’ve always been focused on putting ourselves in the best position to win,’ Hahn said. ‘At the same time, I think we’re veering away from the standpoint of looking for stopgaps. A lot of what we did in the last few years had been trying to enhance the short-term potential of the club to put ourselves in a position to win immediately. I feel the approach at this point is focusing on longer-term benefits. It doesn’t mean we won’t necessarily be in a good position in 2017. It means that our targets and whatever we’re hoping to accomplish have a little more longer-term fits in nature.’”

There are trade leverage reasons why it is not in Rick Hahn’s interest to speak more directly, but it would certainly add some reassurance if he declared it outright, as half-measures and serving the dual interests of competing and strengthening the organization from within have repeatedly proven to be too great of a strain of the Sox resources.

The appeal to this direction would be a full-scale teardown. The Sox are lacking for natural advantages beyond Herm Schneider and Don Cooper, and suddenly being in the position to fence a lot of high-level talent in its prime and on affordable contracts at least makes them kings of the sellers.

There are some conflicts with reality that would come with trying to move every single fungible veteran on the roster in the offseason, or even by the 2017 trade deadline, but it should be their goal if they seek to take a step back at all. The most nauseating, galling and unwatchable teardown will spur the deepest replenishing of the Sox collection of young talent, which will be something to remember while watching Leury Garcia trying to bunt his way on in front of cleanup hitter Jason Coats in a one-third full Guaranteed Rate Field.

A line from Hayes’ story that I genuinely appreciated is to identify the needs of this current roster and assigning the same budget figure we placed on it in our analysis:

“At the very least, the White Sox as constructed need a starting catcher, a center fielder and a big left-handed bat — potentially upwards of $30-35 million in contracts — as well as another reliever.”

Everyone has gained a jaundiced familiarity with the White Sox skeleton contender, hoping several key spots of their lineup improbably break right, or at least are not disastrous enough to prevent them from being contenders at the deadline, when frantic patches can be made. If Hahn could not get approval to add the salary needed to craft a real contender, rebuilding certainly beats the prospect of crafting another fake one, even if a potential $120 million budget ceiling is a dark cloud hanging over the competitive window of the future Sox core we haven’t even met yet.

This unquestionably looks like a dark moment in the franchise history, the spurning of some of the most transcendent homegrown talent the South Side has ever seen, but the Sox could at least engineer a true moment of opportunity out of it, and we’ve reached the point where that will do.

Lead Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas – USA Today Sports Images

Related Articles

5 comments on “So they might just tear it all down”


Sign Cespedes, Ramos, and Fowler. We are co-favorites to win the division with the Indians.


Is there a tie between the timing of the tear down (or avoidance of it) and the expiring TV deal in 3(?) years? They’re already terrible in TV ratings and a bad team for 2-3 years will only making things worse leading into the next negotiations.


If the team is bad at the time the TV deal expires, it will merely drive the club toward seeking a short-term deal. (The Cubs certainly wish their existing TV deals were shorter.)

The question of a TV deal matters more to the next ownership. Would the franchise buyer place more value on a long TV deal already being in place, or would the franchise buyer prefer to have one about to expire so they can craft their own? The present owner liked the prospect of building his own TV deal (OnTV/SportsVision) after buying the franchise.


The Sox don’t need another reliever, they need 4 relievers. Jones is fine, but the rest are walking batters at rates that scream SUCK. When the 2nd best BB/9 in the pen is Albers, you have a disaster on your hands. Robin did a horrible job of managing the pen, but any manager has to rely on bringing in relievers that don’t walk people at high rates.

And let’s not forget that the defense sucks. This is a team where the manager couldn’t find a DH, even though the White Sox were below league average defensively AT EVERY POSITION except RF.

They were actually above league-average at SS and 2B, but only after Rollins was kicked out and Lawrie got hurt – those two players were below average defensively – and every indication is that Lawrie will start at 2B in 2017 which is a major mistake. Assuming the roster doesn’t change, the team would probably be better served with Lawrie at 3B and Frazier at 1B with Abreu the DH – all which could have been done in 2016 if the club knew how to make use of statistics.

Despite the talk of the Sox’ “core”, they actually have more gaping holes than core. It’s isn’t bad luck or a tough schedule that made them under .500. They have too much suck in the starting 8.


They have only themselves to blame for the current position they are in. This is the way back, and unfortunately, it is going to be painful for a while. More painful than actually TRYING to win and still sucking? Probably not.

Leave a comment

Use your Baseball Prospectus username