Life In The Slow Lane: Living That Rebuild Life
Rebuilds can last an incredibly long time. In fact, the truth of a rebuild is that there is no guarantee any of it is ever going to work. You can be stuck in one within decades if things don't go the right way.
Which is why patience is of the utmost importance when you're at the helm of such a project. Think of it like sailing a ship across the Atlantic in the early 1900s. It's not so much about getting to the other side of the ocean as quickly as possible as it is just getting there at all, ideally with most of your cargo intact. There are all sorts of pitfalls to avoid along the way, be it icebergs, major storms, or some German U-boat just looking to stir some shit.
Patience is also important for fans, though not for reasons of building the team into the winner you hope it to be, more so for the sake of your own sanity. There's really no way to prepare yourself for it if you aren't a patient person already, but if you're new to this phenomenon, the last few weeks have been an excellent example of what you can expect.
Sure, the rebuild got off to an exciting start when Rick Hahn went to the Winter Meetings and in the manner of days he shipped Chris Sale to Boston and Adam Eaton to Washington for a gaggle of prospects. They weren't just any prospects, either, they were some of the top young players in the game.
It was one hell of an adrenaline rush to start the process, but guess what? It wore off. We sat around waiting for Jose Quintana to get moved next, and then Todd Frazier and other pieces we were ready to say goodbye to.
Only they're still here, and we really haven't even had many rumors to satisfy that craving for more rumors.
Every once in a while a national reporter would pop up and say teams we already knew would be interested in Quintana are still interested in Quintana, but there wouldn't be any real substance to the rumors, just an acknowledgment of interest.
Instead of a blockbuster Quintana trade, we've been given minor transactions.
In the last 24 hours the White Sox have signed Geovany Soto to a minor league deal, as well as Cody Asche. Then the Sox announced they'd claimed somebody named Willy Garcia off waivers from the Pirates, and designated Jason Coats for assignment.
That's your excitement now. This is your new reality.
This is a rebuild.
Yes, we're going to get another rush or two from the eventual Quintana trades, and the smaller deals that will go with it, but the reality of the situation is that a lot of a rebuild -- from a fan's perspective -- is boredom. You spend the winter watching other teams make fun and exciting free agent signings, while you peruse the clearance aisle looking for spare parts you can possibly salvage for something.
Your friends are getting Armani suits while you're checking out this polyester number at Goodwill.
Then, when the season does begin, you're hit over the head with loss after loss after loss. You try and keep yourself from falling apart by focusing on the development of the younger players, as well as keeping tabs on guys in the minors, overreacting to every little thing they do.
And then you wait some more. You suffer the losses and along comes another winter, where you trade away anything that's good enough to trade, and head back to Goodwill. Then you lose more games.
It just keeps going on and on and on until hopefully one day everything suddenly works and you start winning games.
Which is why, even as I knew it was probably the right move to make, internally I fought against the idea of tearing it all down. Prospects are fun to dream on, but I'm not as interested in projecting how some 19-year old I've never actually seen play is going to turn out as much as I am watching the actual White Sox win games. So the shivers down my spine these days aren't from the wind chill. They're from the idea that the next three to four (five? six?) years are going to be a lot like the last few weeks.
I hope we see land sooner rather than later.