When the White Sox traded Adam Eaton, I was more surprised. I knew the Chris Sale trade was coming, and was glad of the return. But Eaton was a, at least somewhat, lesser kn0wn trade prospect.
The really surprising thing about the Sale trade was that we chose to trade the ace within conference. I get it, Sale can’t hit, but neither can most pitchers. I expect that the greatest return came from Boston, and that’s really what we needed to worry about when trading Chris Sale.
There’s one more piece expected to move this off-season, Jose Quintana, and one more that could move, Todd Frazier. The rebuild has nearly started, and that’s not a hasty statement when the White Sox ace for next season figures to be third-year pitcher Carlos Rodon.
The White Sox know that they have to go the direction of the Cubs in the early 2000s if they expect to be competitive again. Especially now that the other Chicago team is great, the White Sox have to earn their fans, and their fans’ money, back.
The Sox can do this by developing their farm system. This system includes minor league prospects at every position, including Zack Collins at catcher and a vast wealth of youth at the pitcher position. The White Sox this year are going to be very young, but that should be its own kind of exciting.
The White Sox have seen how a good rebuild works. Their closest rivals just completed their own, capping it with the first franchise World Series win in much more than a century. I don’t expect the White Sox to go without a championship until 2105, but hey, you never know.
They have to take lessons away from the Cubs championship. These lessons include drafting well and developing those draft picks, as Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, and Javier Baez were all home-grown stars. It also means using free agency well, as the Cubs acquired Jayson Hayward, credited by the players for the win, Jon Lester, and even manager Joe Maddon in free agency.
The White Sox have to also make the most of trades, where the Cubs acquired Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo, and Jake Arrieta. The Sox have gotten off to a good start by acquiring Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, as well as two minor leaguers, for Sale and Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning for Adam Eaton.
Moncada looks likely to play in the infield with future star Tim Anderson. Giolito and Lopez look to solidify the White Sox future rotation, and Dunning was a first round pick.
The White Sox have progressed rapidly towards a rebuild, while also keeping players like Jose Abreu and Brett Lawrie around to mentor the young kids the White Sox will have coming in. The Sox still have room to grow though, as most of their pitching prospects throw rightie, and the Sox still have need in the outfield.
While those positions can be addressed through free agency when the White Sox are just a few pieces away, it would be better to, like the Cubs, get young players to grow with the ones already in the Sox system. Perhaps that should be the ideal return in a Jose Quintana trade.
In the coming years, the White Sox will hope to make themselves the next young exciting team in baseball. They’ve already started on that track by acquiring Moncada and allowing their key players to filter out. But the White Sox have yet to fully commit to the rebuild, and if they want to earn back the attention of their fans, who are now surrounded by 365 media attention towards the Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, in addition to the now vastly superior Cubs, the White Sox had better get started on their own team.