The Chicago White Sox will enter camp this morning , embarking on a new chapter of White Sox baseball, one that has been long overdue. While the White Sox are not expected to be competitive in 2017, this is the most preliminary look into what an exciting new future holds.
When the White Sox open up camp today, they will officially turn the page on the previous chapter of White Sox baseball, and we will get our most preliminary look at what the next chapter holds for a fan-base that has battled the October blues for far too long.
The White Sox have failed to qualify for the postseason for each of the past eight seasons, and haven’t made it beyond the divisional series since they won it all 11 years ago in 2005. While the 2017 season may very well end up being the ninth consecutive season that the White Sox are absent from the Major League Baseball Postseason, the current organizational direction will ensure that the White Sox will have one hell of a shot at avoiding a decade of October-less baseball on the south side of Chicago.
The feeling of optimism around the White Sox as Spring Training kicks off this week is one that has not been felt in quite some time, even though the White Sox have made splashy moves in the offseason’s leading up to the 2016 season, the splashes were never enough to get the job done, and we always knew that deep down. Those offseason’s left us with an uneasy feeling, seemingly always waiting for the other shoe to drop and squash another summer of White Sox baseball, and in that sense we were never disappointment.
White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn has been unleashed by his bosses, Kenny Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf, and Hahn has begun the process of creating a new brand of White Sox baseball, not only by finally ditching the half-baked efforts in free-agency, but by creating a level of transparency with the fan-base that they are total strangers to at this point. It’s no secret that there has been a major distrust between the White Sox faithful and club owner Jerry Reinsdorf, as well as VP of Baseball Operations Kenny Williams, who is widely viewed as Reinsdorf’s “guy” to put it as kindly as possible.
But since this past November when Rick Hahn told the media that the White Sox would be changing course for this offseason, abandoning the stop-gap style of roster construction, and moving into a direction that will create a system of sustainable long-term success by liquidating their top-talent in exchange for a plethora of young and controllable talent, Hahn has built an impressive level of trust with the fan-base. If you remember as far back as last season, Hahn hinted that the rebuilding efforts were imminent as far back as last July, when he repeated often that the plan would make sense in due time.
Gone are the days of debating how much Jimmy Rollins has left in the tank, or what league-minimum veteran the White Sox could acquire to fill an everyday position at the major-league level. Gone are the days of the White Sox being the owners of one of the most neglected farm-systems in all of baseball. Gone are the days of the stars of yesteryear being billed as the answer for the White Sox of this year.
With pitchers and catchers reporting to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona for the start of Spring Training this morning, we will finally get to see the new plan in action, and there is plenty to be excited about.
General Manager Rick Hahn, after finally receiving the go-ahead from Kenny Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf, has worked feverishly to pull off one of the most drastic farm system revitalization’s that we may ever see in baseball. To date, Hahn has moved Chris Sale and Adam Eaton to the Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals respectively, netting top prospect Yoan Moncada and highly touted pitching prospect, Lucas Giolito, as well as a hand-full of other Top-100 prospects.
Hahn has taken a lower third farm system in baseball, and elevated it all the way to the second rated system in baseball according to Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline, in a matter of roughly eight months if you go as far back as the phenomenal 2016 Draft this past June, and Hahn still has plenty of pieces to cash in on before all is said and done.
This spring is different, this season is different, and it feels good. Fans have spent the last two months clamoring for prospect reports and video on all of the newly acquired White Sox stars of the not so distant future, rather than crunching the WAR rating of third-tier free-agents that the White Sox have pegged to round out an incomplete roster.
This spring we will get a sneak peek of the stars of tomorrow before they’re assigned to the minor-league camps to continue to polish their skills before playing their part in the newest chapter of White Sox baseball.
But even when the top-prospects head to the minor-league level, there will still be things to get excited about at the major-league level in 2017. Will Wilmette, Illinois native Charlie Tilson return from his injury in his major-league debut last season motivated to assume the everyday center-field position for the White Sox in 2017? Will he be able to perform well enough to earn a role in the future plans of the White Sox?
How will former first-round draft choice Carlos Rodon fare in his third season with the White Sox, and is he ready to assume the staff ace role once Jose Quintana is traded? What will Tim Anderson achieve in his sophomore season after wowing White Sox fans last season?
The White Sox will open their Spring Training camp this week with a new manager, a myriad of talented new youngsters, a new player development staff, a new organizational direction, but most importantly a new feeling of optimism and excitement for what the future will bring to the south side.
Enjoy this experience, and pay close attention to all of the happenings around the organization, because this team is going to be relevant a lot sooner than some of us may think. Welcome to the new chapter of White Sox baseball.