Friday, April 6, 2012

Rebuilding The White Sox. 2012: PHASE ONE-THE FOUNDATION

        Rebuilding a team can be a stressful venture. Of course many components go into the project,  and while it is being constructed the team usually falls into an era of seasons similar to the dark ages, but it is all for the purpose of eventually reaching a golden age or a renaissance. Shortly after the close of the 2011 season it became clear that the White Sox were looking toward the prospect of retooling and reformatting their ball club. The reason for this is most likely due to financial reasons. With such a high payroll last year it wasn't feasible to run that type of payroll again. The entire situation is clearer when you compare it to the construction of a home. Last year, the White Sox had a stellar blueprint, one that covered all aspects of the game and one that incorporated key players, who all served a certain niche. Its architect was none other than Kenny Williams.
        But this blueprint had some flaws, some more crucial than others. The closer role was never definitive and Matt Thornton was chosen to fill it. He excels as a set-up guy, so it was a difficult transition for him. As it became known that he wasn't the man for the job, the managerial staff had a difficult time filling in the position with someone who could adequately perform in it. This was the first apparent struggle, but they just seemed to continue. Other components didn't meet prior expectations. Most notably, these players were Adam Dunn and Alex Rios, but as a whole the team underperformed. But enough about last year. The whole point is that Williams had to refine his blueprint, and make some necessary changes. As he went along, he seemingly got carried away with his eraser.
        Williams made three adjustments which are under question. The departure of Mark Buehrle was a combination of Buehrle's price and how much Kenny was willing to dish out. In the end, a high-profile player like Buehrle simply didn't jive with the design he had in mind. Buehrle ended up joining Ozzie Guillen with the highly anticipated Miami Marlins. Note the name change everyone. The second player to be let go was Carlos Quentin. The move is debatable. Sure Quentin is injury prone and extremely streaky, but when he enters into a hot streak he can do some damage and carry the team, lessening the pressure on Paul Konerko. Last season he was decent, hitting .254 and hitting 24 home runs. He was costly but would have helped production. He could have been an asset but he was traded away. This was the turning point in the offseason. The true moment when the word rebuilding started to be used. Quentin wasn't traded for an established veteran, but rather for two prospects. Simon Castro and Pedro Hernandez. It was stated that they would be future White Sox pitchers down the road. The third decision is the most questioning. It was the removal of Sergio Santos. Not only did he save the game on a consistent level, but he saved the White Sox from the embarrassment of not being able to field a definitive and a consistent closer. Was he traded for a different closer? No. He was exchanged for Nestor Molina, another pitching prospect. This means that the White Sox will still have to deal with the problem of not having a closer with experience.
        Overall, Kenny decided the complex team they had last season had to be simplified, reduced, and overall scratched. So the wrecking ball came down and crushed the dream team that was supposedly all in. It wasn't fully leveled. A few veterans remained only because there weren't any enticing offers according to Williams. However, the veterans were the few structural walls still intact. Williams laid the foundation by sturdying the farm system and constructing a few new framing beams in Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza. Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner approved the project and met with Williams the architect and hired a new project manager, Robin Ventura. The players will be the construction workers, improving and strengthening their new team that is taking shape. It will be a long and enduring process that will hopefully also be rewarding, this season and in the future.

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