A new Collective Barganing Agreement in place, the Winter Meetings opening this weekend, and scores of Chris Sale rumors circulating have eliminated any conceivable obstacle to the beginning of the teardown.
They might as well.
Beyond strangely and cryptically half-committing to a rebuild already, the White Sox offseason has been listless and inactive, unless it’s interpreted as doing anything other than sussing the market for a massive trade. Barring that we count retaining Avisail Garcia and Brett Lawrie as major steps toward the 2017 AL pennant, the White Sox are probably sliding behind the buyer’s market if they want to employ Nick’s plan of slapping together a soft contender for this coming season while continuing to keep their options open to sell at the deadline.
A more straight-line interpretation is that Lawrie is an inexpensive, starting-quality non-shortstop infielder who could facilitate a major deal by fitting into a larger package or fill space after Todd Frazier gets traded. But Garcia is the big tell, because giving him at-bats is only justifiable if the games don’t mean anything at all.
So, all the stars are alligned for the White Sox to instigate a massive sell-off that is unprecedented during the Williams-Hahn regime, which has not been fully committed to publicly, and has only included rumors of dealing the tempermental ace that was at the center of multiple truly bizarre clubhouse incidents. This is not to cast doubt on the idea of a Sox rebuild being legitimate, they’re widely expected to be huge sellers this week–a fulfillment of a Dave Cameron prophecy–but rather to show just how much the White Sox have shrouded the process in mystery, presumably for their constant pursuit of maximum trade leverage.
Eight years of hyper-concentrated frustration and listlessness has crystallized frustration in the White Sox fanbase to an unprecedented level. The fanbase, at least its most visible portions on line, is more willing than ever to suffer a rebuild–even a less than necessary one–for the sake of a coherent direction. This week, if it contains a Sale trade, let alone even more tactful fencing of some of the great White Sox players of the last decade, will be an emotional bloodletting of the highest order, but the agony might be matched if they slip through the meetings with no trades consummated and and still no indications of where this is all headed.
Lead Image Credit: Rick Osentoski // USA Today Sports Images