Amidst a stretch where the team has lost five of their last six games, its time for White Sox to focus on future of team and sell thier best assets. The White Sox will be better off selling now and buying later.
The White Sox have tried to reach the postseason with patchwork rosters in place for the past two seasons. Unfortunately for White Sox fans, they’ve endured some poor baseball while watching players that were deemed good enough to help the team by the front office fail in spectacular fashion.
White Sox fans have become accustomed to seeing players who’ve succeeded with other teams in the past, come to the team and not struggle but have one of the poorest seasons of their careers. The half-measured attempts to ‘retool’ instead of fully rebuild has done more damage to the organization, than a complete tear-down would have.
The organization hasn’t reached the postseason since 2008, my freshman year of college, and they’re on the verge of losing a generation of kids to their crosstown rival. Attendance has continued to decline since its high-point of 36,511 in 2006. Television ratings have been poor for some time, and last season was awfully bad at 0.8. Although the ratings climbed to 1.15 through 60 games according Crain’s Chicago Business, the White Sox aren’t anywhere near the top five in MLB.
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In fact, the White Sox rank in the bottom five of MLB teams in regional television ratings this season according to the Sports Business Journal. The White Sox join the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics in the bottom five of regional television ratings so far this season. The Dodgers get an exception as their television deal with Sportsnet LA blocks out majority of viewers in the Los Angeles area.
Other than the Dodgers, the White Sox are among teams who are clearly not going to reach the postseason this season. The Braves, Angels and Athletics are well below .500, and their regional television ratings are justifiably suffering for it. The White Sox however, sit at 46-47 but a horrible month of May and early June has kept many fans from watching their games on television. Despite still being in the wild card hunt, the White Sox are six games behind the Toronto Blue Jays as of Wednesday.
With lagging attendance, and poor regional television ratings the White Sox need to focus on truly rebuilding. The White Sox offense isn’t consistent enough to carry this team for the remainder of the season, as they rank 24th in MLB with a .250 batting average. Although the back end of the bullpen is solid with David Robertson and Nate Jones, the bullpen still lacks a consistent middle relief option. This is primarily due to Jake Petricka being lost for the season due to injury. However, if Carson Fulmer has outings like he did this past Sunday and Tuesday night, the White Sox might be able solve this issue for the season.
With Fulmer ,Tim Anderson and Carlos Rodon on the team, the White Sox focus should be on their young players moving forward. Chris Sale, drafted in the first-round by the White Sox in 2010 could jumpstart a rebuilding effort. By trading Sale, the White Sox could haul back a host of top prospects if they trade him to the right contending team.
In 1998, the Seattle Mariners traded ace Randy Johnson to the Houston Astros for three minor league players that included future all-star pitcher Freddy Garcia. Johnson was only with the Astros for half a season, but the Mariners were able to get solid contributions from Garcia until he was ultimately traded to the White Sox in 2004.
The White Sox would surely get a prospect that can help the team in the future, but if they wanted to add more prospects to their farm system they could also explore trading Jose Quintana. The White Sox could also get back a solid prospect in trading Melky Cabrera. Although it wouldn’t necessarily be a top prospect being traded for Cabrera, the White Sox could add depth to the farm system with a trade of the left fielder.
Other potential trade candidates include Brett Lawrie, Adam Eaton, Robertson and Todd Frazier. The White Sox have the perfect opportunity to restock their farm system with a wealth of talent. This wealth would be added to what is appearing to be a good 2016 draft class for the White Sox.
Each of the White Sox first four picks are contributing early. Zack Collins, the White Sox first-round pick continues to impress with Single-A Winston-Salem in his first week with the team. Zack Burdi, the White Sox second pick in the first round, has been fast tracked through the farm system with stops in the Arizona League and with the Dash. Burdi is currently pitching with Double-A Birmingham Barons.
Alec Hansen, the White Sox second round pick is pitching for Great Falls Voyagers of the Pioneer League after a brief stint with the Arizona White Sox. Hansen pitched four scoreless innings with eight strikeouts in his debut with Great Falls. Alex Call, the White Sox third-round pick was promoted to Single-A Full Season Kannapolis Intimidators after hitting .308 with 17 runs batted in for the Voyagers.
Burdi might be the first of the White Sox recent draft picks to make his MLB debut, but the team appears to be well-suited for success in the future with their current prospects. In order to add to their farm system, the White Sox would be wise to abandon any hopes they have of reaching the postseason and sell their best assets at the trading deadline.