Sustained Success. A phrase that White Sox fans are very familiar with going into the 2018 offseason. It is the phrase which keeps our heads up through a disappointing 62-100 season, good (or bad) for third worst in the MLB. The phrase that Rick Hahn has referred to time and time again when talking about the long-term plan for this organization: build a team capable of sustained success.
Furthermore, Rick Hahn has without a doubt delivered on his promises of doing the rebuild the right way by trading key talent such as Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Jose Quintana and many more. Those three players alone brought back seven former or current MLB Pipeline top 100 prospects: Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, and Dane Dunning.
Looking at these players along with Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal, Alec Hansen, Blake Rutherford, Jake Burger, among many others, you can see why the White Sox farm system is easily among the best in the league. It gets better, the White Sox pick No. 3 overall in next season’s draft. Therefore, despite the injury-filled season for the organization, the White Sox still have plenty of talented prospects throughout the system who can step up to fill any voids. Importantly, don’t forget about young team leaders like Carlos Rodon and Tim Anderson who are already setting the tone in the clubhouse which is crucial to the success of any rebuild.
Rick Hahn has seemingly done everything right from the moment he committed to this rebuild and for the first time in a while, Sox fans are starting to see a clearer path into contention. The GM has a game plan and he has been executing it to perfection. The Sox hope to soon follow in the footsteps of true rebuilding success stories such as the Astros and the Cubs.
Heading into the rebuild, everyone knew that there would be three main stages. The first was acquiring young talent from trades and the draft. The second and also current stage that we are in is developing these young players in the minors and eventually at the major league level. The third stage will likely be taking place in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 off-seasons. This consists of Rick Hahn and co. going out and finding that star free agent who can instantly put a young team into playoff contention.
The third stage is arguably the most important. Rick Hahn already stated that the Sox will not be afraid to go after the big target and are willing to spend the money to do so. The first and most obvious target is 26 year old all-star shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado. He would fit perfectly into the young White Sox core as they do not have a solid third baseman, and he would be the missing piece that could bring this team into contention. Though very unlikely, another big-name target could be 30-year-old All-Star starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw. With Kopech out for all of next season the White Sox desperately need help at starting pitching and Clayton Kershaw could come in and bring that veteran presence along with providing valuable mentoring to young pitchers such as Giolito, Lopez, and even Kopech. The most reasonable signing though is 32-year-old veteran third baseman Josh Donaldson. With the possibility of Machado signing with another big market club who offers the best deal, the White Sox will be left with a hole at third base. This is where Josh Donaldson comes in. He is a very solid third baseman and could be the veteran presence that this team needs in the infield, helping young guys such as Anderson and Moncada further develop their game. Next offseason, one other intriguing name to keep an eye on is Nolan Arenado if none of the above potential signings pan out.
With all of that being said, I firmly believe that Jerry Reinsdorf will give Hahn the resources to go get the big free agent that can make this club immediate contenders. With the kind of talent available in the upcoming free agent classes, the Sox could be major suitors in the upcoming offseasons with the second lowest payroll in the MLB. It only makes sense for the organization to spend big with the next wave of top prospects set to join the team in 2019.
The White Sox are sure to see their on-field product trending upwards shortly, and the organization could not be happier with who’s at the helm the ship. Many fans are finally optimistic again on the South Side and beginning to see hope for a team that could potentially take this league over in the near future. Though it still may take some time, sustained success is on the horizon and Rick Hahn is the right guy to lead us to the promised land.
Featured Photo: USA Today
Read also: 2018-2019 Free Agency: A Complete Guide to Machado/Harper for White Sox Fans by Nik Gaur