When this space started at Cubs Insider, the idea was that after years in the wilderness, the White Sox were on the brink of something special. They were a young, up-and-coming team. The future was bright. So why not keep tabs on the South Side? The abbreviated 2020 season led to an exciting 2021 division title, with 93 wins and the promise of better things to come.
Instead, as we pass the trade deadline for 2023, the White Sox are 22 games under .500, shipping off veteran players and losers of eight of their last 10. Every time it feels like it can’t get any worse, it just does. The current low point is general manager for life Rick Hahn saying that he feels, “Very good about what they were able to accomplish” at the trade deadline. So that’s where White Sox nation is at, taking pride in a necessary sell-off because the team as constructed stinks on ice. “Change the Game” indeed.
The White Sox did get some interesting prospects in their trades, which was how the majority of their current roster came to the team as well. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in this latest round of organizational regrouping. The players acquired might be highly rated in other farm systems, but once they hit the White Sox system, it’s a different story. Player development has been a weakness of this organization for at least 20 years and there are no signs of improvement on the horizon.
So a familiar storyline is coming for at least the 2024 season, probably longer. This season will end and the postmortem will center on disappointment, but there’s hope for the future, especially when all of these new players mature. Promises will be made about how the current deficiencies in the team will be addressed through trades and free agency, but mostly trades and the farm system. Unfortunately, there won’t be a Soxfest to vent regarding any of this. By the time February 2024 arrives, the holes from 2023 (and 2022, 2021…) won’t be covered, or if they are another hole was made.
Perhaps the White Sox will sign a free agent for over $100 million, but that’s asking a lot. Instead, it will be a “historic” $85 million signing, probably for a slightly over-the-hill second baseman. No, it’s a safer bet that Kansas City makes a bigger signing, leaving the White Sox and Oakland as the only teams never to cross the $100 million rubicon. The team that breaks camp might be able to contend in the worse division in baseball, but little else.
Poor talent assembly at the major league level, poor player development, and poor leadership decisions aren’t going to change as long as Hahn, Kenny Williams, and the latest golden boy, Chris Getz are removed from consequential positions within the organization. Especially in the cases of Williams and Hahn, they have had more than enough time to demonstrate something approaching competence. Getz may be new, but he already seems to be within the sanctum santorum. Unfortunately, what we know about Jerry Reinsdorf is that he would rather be loyal to his employees than field a winning team.