As the Cubs raise a World Series banner at Wrigley Field, the White Sox can only look with envy at a process they should have started two years removed from their World Series championship. Let’s not kid ourselves, Theo Epstein did not invent the “tank-to-win” approach, he just perfected it. The Marlins were the architects of this technique using it to win two World Series championships in a six-year span. Even the White Sox intelligently used this approach prior to Kenny Williams rise in the organization in 1997 in the infamous “White Flag” trade that brought the White Sox the number one ranked farm system and Central Division title in 2000, and a World Championship in 2005. The Cubs won their World Championship 4-years removed from having the number one ranked system. Do the math.
So, today the White Sox should not be so focused on winning games as they should be focused on developing talent, but because of their go-for-broke approach the last few years they almost have too much offensive talent to completely tank. With the amount of veterans that still sit on the offensive side of the ball like Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Todd Frasier, and Geovany Soto are they truly set-up to tank? To complicate matters, Rick Renteria’s fundamental approach to the game, similar to Ozzie Guillen’s without the theatrics, only lends itself to winning. Sure, it’s nice to win games, but I’d rather be 0-5 right now then 2-3. I’m ok with competitive, but just lose the game.
Another complication is the above average performance of the White Sox starters in the first weel. Above average performances by James Shields and Miguel Gonzalez, along with a plus performance for new White Sox starter, Derek Holland, have kept the games close for the most part. The flip side to the list of pitchers doing well is the White Sox could find themselves with even more assets to trade than originally expected.
The fourth item of concern is that players like Yolmer Sanchez and Avisail Garcia have been developing at the major league level for a few years and nearing that magic age of 27 when everything seems to begin to click for players. If that happens you again have the talent exceeding the expectation for 2017.
I haven’t even mentioned the blue chip, Jose Quintana, but his trade is crucial to take the next step in this rebuilding process. If you’re a true believer in this as I am, then the Sox need to have the worst record in baseball and trade Quintana sooner than later for the haul they’ve been waiting for from either the Astros or Cardinals.
The Astros seem like the most likely candidate if something was going to happen before the trade deadline as Collin McHugh went down with an elbow injury.
I must admit, I’m a bit anxious to get some of the White Sox veterans on the move, as my fear that I’ve expressed above is another 72-win season with a mid-draft pick that does not do the team any good.
The only hold-up with ta Quintana trade with the Astros is the White Sox are rumored to be asking for four players including their top 2 prospects, flame-thrower, Francis Martes and outfield phenom, Kyle Tucker. I’m not so much about quantity as I am about quality, and if the Astros are willing to send their Top 2 highly touted prospects, I’m not sure the White Sox need that much more. Perhaps a mid-level prospect with some upside, but to me quality supersedes quantity. Then again, you look at the Adam Eaton trade and think anything is possible.
The point to all this is the White Sox should move some the aforementioned players sooner than later if possible before something really bad happens to unearth last year’s mantra, “mired in mediocrity”. Godspeed Rick Hahn, Godspeed.