Are the Chicago White Sox rebuilding or retooling for next season?
Either way, it is not a great situation for Luis Robert Jr. to be in.
Over the last few days, the White Sox have waved goodbye to Tim Anderson, Liam Hendriks, Elvis Andrus, Yasmani Grandal, and Mike Clevinger.
That, coupled with the moves made during the season that saw them move Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Joe Kelly sent a message that the previous rebuild didn't work as planned and it's time to make adjustments again.
Robert Jr. is the team's best player and his talents are being wasted on a franchise that is still searching for a way to get things right.
A disappointing 81-81 record in 2022 was followed up with an even more abysmal 61-101 mark, and it could get worse than that in '24. MLB.com writer Scott Merkin says it's possible the White Sox could "take a slight step back in 2024 to better the future while holding out hope for competing in the AL Central".
Luis Robert Jr. deserves more from the Chicago White Sox going forward.
Since making his debut in 2020, Robert Jr. has already won a Gold Glove (2020 when he was also second in Rookie of the Year voting), made his first All-Star game in '23, and is a finalist for both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards.
The '23 season was a breakout year for Robert Jr. as he belted 38 homers while batting .264 with a wins-above-replacement total of 5.1. His defensive prowess was also on full display as he led the AL in putouts and assists.
What's more, unlike years past when injuries were an issue, Robert Jr. played a career-high 143 games which was third-best in the AL.
He has seemingly lived up to the hype that accompanied his arrival in the league. The same cannot be said for guys like Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech who were also viewed as game-changing type players.
Rebuilding or retooling is just letting the clock tick on a player who should be the centerpiece of a championship-caliber team.
Robert Jr. is signed through 2025, and if starting from scratch is the way general manager Chris Getz opts to go, it just wastes his talents for a team that will be headed nowhere while it waits on young guys to develop.
Following the release of Tim Anderson, Mike Clevinger, Yasmani Grandal, and Elvis Andrus, Getz has to address pitching, second base, right field, catcher, and shortstop.
Korey Lee will get a long look at catcher after 24 games last year, while Colson Montgomery is viewed as Anderson's replacement at shortstop. However, Montgomery's ability to break camp with the club remains to be seen.
Too many question marks surround the White Sox without any firm answers.
Robert Jr. is just 26 years old but is entering the prime of his career. To take advantage of his talents, the White Sox need to put a solid team around him that can achieve playoff success.
While the development of young players is always a part of a team's plan, when a team has a player with the talent of Robert Jr., it has to make the most of the situation.
Wasting a talent such as Robert Jr. is similar to what's happening to the Los Angeles Angels with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Both players are the definition of superstars but the organization has failed them by not putting complementary players in place to make the team playoff-worthy.
Guys like Trout, Ohtani, and Robert Jr. should be on display for baseball in postseason play and not just in a home run derby or All-Star game.
Robert has not accomplished as much as those two yet, but his star is rapidly rising. The White Sox would be wise to make him the new face of the team and put a winning team on the field now rather than risk watching him move on elsewhere in the future.