Thoughts On The Possibility Of A White Sox Rebuild
On Thursday afternoon, a few hours before the White Sox took on the Tigers at US Cellular Field, Rick Hahn sat in the White Sox dugout surrounded by media. Hahn talked about the future of the White Sox organization, and said they were "mired in mediocrity," which is a refreshingly honest thing to hear from somebody holding a major position in the front office.
Still, while Hahn talked about how the Sox have to be open to ideas, the biggest surprise of the session came when he talked about a possible rebuild.
Hahn made sure to say that the idea of a rebuild might be "a little extreme," but he didn't completely write off the possibility. For so many years, that's always been the case with the White Sox when rebuilding is brought up.
They don't believe in it.
They're going to retool constantly, not start over.
So the fact that Hahn even mentions it as a possibility is somewhat startling, and I'm honestly not sure how I feel about it.
Back in 1997, on July 31, the day of the trade deadline, the White Sox pulled the trigger on the infamous White Flag Trade. The Sox, who were a game under .500, but only 3.5 games behind the Indians, traded Wilson Alvarez, Danny Darwin and Roberto Hernandez to the Giants for six players, including Keith Foulke, Bobby Howry and Mike Caruso.
At the time I was a 16-year old kid obsessed with two things: White Sox baseball, and trying to get laid. In that order.
The trade made me furious.
In retrospect, it was the right decision. The White Sox weren't catching that Indians team, but I didn't realize it at the time. All I know was that I saw a team I cared an awful lot about just giving up, and setting me up for a few years of misery watching bad baseball.
I actually withdrew from the team for a while. I didn't stop being a White Sox fan, but I didn't care nearly as much. I felt as if I'd been let down, and I felt as though I'd been stabbed in the back. It was a few years before I'd truly recover, too.
Well, it's 19 years later, and I'm a lot different. I care about White Sox baseball and getting....
Okay, so maybe things haven't changed that much.
But back to the business at hand.
If the White Sox really do go down the rebuilding path -- and I don't believe they will -- I'm somewhat conflicted on the idea. The logical part of me believes that, in this day and age, it's the best approach to take when you're in this position. You can't do it on the fly, no matter how smart you think are. The Sox have proven this to us all the last few years.
These days in baseball, you're a have or a have-not, and a lot of times you need to be a have-not for a while to become a have. Just look at what the Astros and Cubs have done in recent years.
Now, there's no guarantee. You can't just lose a lot of games and wait for generational talent to roll in. You have to be smart, and you have to make wise decisions along the way, but even without a guarantee, the risk involved is worth it. The payoff could be huge, compared to what we have now, which is "hey, maybe we'll win 82 games and get lucky."
The problem is I'm not just a logical human being.
Just thinking about trading somebody like Chris Sale hurts me. It literally sends a shiver down my spine to even consider the idea.
There are very few players of Sale's caliber that come along in your lifetime, in any sport, and in any team. You want to cherish them while they're there, and the thought of the White Sox willingly giving that up, even with the possibility of a huge return, scares me.
I'm also not sure I want to sit through two, three, or possibly even four 100-loss seasons. Yes, I love baseball, and I love the White Sox, but that doesn't mean I want to subject myself to bad baseball for what could be two calendar years of my lifetime.
This shit is supposed to be fun!
Dreaming on prospects and potential can only get you through so much of the grind.
I say all of this with complete and total understanding that it's these very feelings I have about a rebuild that have helped contribute to the franchise's fear of actually doing one. I also know that I'm not alone in having these thoughts.
No matter how badly a rebuild may be, no fan ever truly wants one.
That's the dilemma I'm staring in the face right now. What I know is right isn't exactly what I want.
And now, thanks to Rick Hahn's words, I'm preparing myself for a choice I don't want to make.
The White Sox are mired in mediocrity, and I'm ensnared in ennui.