It’s not what any Chicago White Sox fan thought they would be hearing a few years ago, but the Sox are once again rebuilding.
If there’s anything the South Siders have learned over the last several seasons, it should be the reality of baseball. Teams aren’t owed success. Nothing is given, promised, or assumed.
The White Sox have been arguably the most disappointing team in baseball over the last two seasons. Their poor performance in 2022 carried into this season and has turned Chicago into MLB’s premier seller. Chicago has been the busiest team in the league this deadline, already making several trades, like moving starters Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn as well as relievers Reynaldo Lopez, Joe Kelly and Kendall Graveman.
“We have mixed feelings and some disappointment involved in trading guys like Lance, Kendall and Joe,” general manager Rick Hahn told reporters. “However, there’s a great deal of excitement, certainly at our end of the building, about the prospects we received in exchange.”
“We’ve got work to do in terms of continuing to execute deals like the ones we have. Come August, September and certainly October, that’s the time to sort of reflect on the season and direction and what’s next.”
White Sox fans were sold on the idea of sustained success following the team’s last rebuild that kicked off in 2016 following the trades of ace Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton. The execution of that rebuild brought in several prospects, many of whom became part of the team’s “core.” It also resulted in a stretch of three consecutive losing seasons that saw the White Sox lose 95, 100, and 89 games, respectively.
But it was the shortened 2020 season where the White Sox had hoped all the losing would finally turn. They reached the postseason in both ‘20 and ‘21, but no one realized that that is where Chicago’s rise to relevance would meet its sad end.
Is it easy to blame part of the White Sox’s spiral to the hiring of former manager Tony La Russa? Sure, La Russa’s hiring threw cold water on everything the team built in the years prior. But the White Sox’s problems ultimately came down to a combination of poor health, stalled development and flawed rosters.
Since 2019, each member of the Sox’s core of position players of Tim Anderson, Eloy Jímenez, Luis Robert Jr., Yoán Moncada and Yasmani Grandal have each missed extended time. But the team’s holes on the roster, despite that core, remained unfilled, leading to a lack of depth.
There will now be much attention turned to Hahn, who has overseen the last decade-plus of White Sox baseball. There hasn’t been much success despite multiple rebuilds. A question for this offseason will be if he gets to be in charge for yet another teardown.
Now the White Sox enter familiar waters without a real feel of direction. With three trades completed and others potentially on the way, there’s no way to tell when the Sox could compete for the postseason.