There are several good things about being in a rebuild and being a White Sox fan. Justifying the win-loss record is one of those things.
The best thing is knowing that eventually, the White Sox will be one of the better teams in the MLB.
It is, however, difficult to judge exactly where the White Sox are in the rebuilding process. Does the team have one more year? Two? Or more, before the team becomes more competitive?
Judging the status of the rebuild
A good way to judge the status of the rebuild is by looking at what players must stay with the team. It’s easy to know who isn’t untouchable. Of the current 25-man roster, these players have already been discussed as being trade bait: James Shields, Joakim Soria, and Jose Abreu. These veterans could bring in some young talent, but someone has to want them.
When the team is nearing the end of the rebuild, the majority of the players are untouchable. But, looking at the position players, there are plenty who could go.
Staying with the 25-man roster, the infield seems to be rather set. It is difficult to imagine Rick Hahn trading away Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, or Yolmer Sanchez. It might seem odd to think of Sanchez as being “untouchable” at the trade deadline, but he is leading the AL in triples. It would be nice to see his home run numbers increase a bit, though.
As for catching, Omar Narvaez is the catcher that is the least likely to be traded. When it comes to batting average, he’s one of the better catchers in the entire MLB. And, he’s young. Welington Castillo hits for more power, but that could change after he returns from his PED suspension. He could stick around, but Alfredo Gonzalez in Triple-A is legit.
The outfield seems to be more fluid. All of the outfielders on the 25-man roster are 27-years-old or younger, which generally means they have a few more good years ahead of them. Of all the outfielders, Avisail Garcia seems to be the one that could be moved, as he has already proven himself. The other outfielders do not have the same years of experience, so expect to see Adam Engel and Nicky Delmonico around a bit longer.
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Daniel Palka is another story, as he was a pick-up from the waiver wire. It’s difficult to consider him untouchable, but his 12 home runs in 66 games aren’t bad.
The DH position is pretty easy to figure out. As a DH, Matt Davidson is only batting .221/.330/.438. Granted, he does have 14 home runs, but they come with so much inconsistency. Looking at batting numbers, Davidson isn’t doing much better than the Detroit Tigers Victor Martinez (who will turn 40 in December). In fact, Martinez has a better batting average than Davidson, and Martinez can barely run!
It’s safe to say that Davidson could be long gone by the time the White Sox become contenders. Of all players on the active roster, he might be the key to the status of the rebuild. When he’s gone, the team is ready.
As for pitchers, well, that’s an entirely different post, for an entirely different day. Stay tuned for it!
With the numbers of position players who could be moved, it is clear that the team is still in the rebuilding process. Heavily into it. The team is still figuring things out and testing where the young players will excel. There has to be room for the minor leaguers who will be slowly trickling into positions as the veterans are gradually moved to other teams.