White Sox: With Offseason Underway, What Should Team Do?

White Sox haven’t declared what direction they will take this offseason. What should team do, retool its roster or start rebuilding for the future?

With the offseason starting today, it is time for the Chicago White Sox to get to work. With four consecutive sub-par seasons, the Sox front office has some difficult decisions to make. What will they do, and which direction is best for the organization? Here are the two key issues confronting the Sox over the next several months:

1. Choose a direction

Over the past decade, the Sox have been in a “win-now” mode for the most part. Given that hasn’t produced the best results, but it was the way they chose to run their franchise. Now that their farm system is improving, would it make sense to deal away some of their better players in order to load the minors with young players?

Well, there are a few key issues that need to be calculated before making such a decision. First, would there be enough currently left at the MLB level in order to avoid risking too many of the prospects busting? Second, what could they get in return? If the Sox choose to deal their high-end talent, the answer is a lot. However, that would make them awful and mean a Houston Astros-like rebuild. And that could take a long time.

On the other hand, would it make sense to add to the current roster with talented veterans in order to make another run at it in 2017? Ken Williams has talked about a 3-year window, which would run out after 2017. The current core is strong, but would supplementing it with more solid players make the roster competitive?

If the Sox choose to go in either direction, they need to commit to it. Not just for 2017, but in the future as well. If the Sox go for it next season, they need to spend money on the draft as well. Failing to do either will result in both short-term and long-term consequences for the organization. And none of them are good.

2. Trim the dead wood

While players such as Avisail Garcia and James Shields were much hyped acquisitions, they have fell far short of expectations. Even though the Sox are stuck with Shields, it is possible for the team to get rid of Garcia. There are many reasons why.

First, he is supposed to be a middle-of-the-order hitter, but is playing as though he belongs in Triple-A. Garica can’t get on base (.310 career OBP%) and doesn’t hit the ball out of the ballpark (career high for HR’s is 13). Even though he has great speed, he doesn’t swipe bases, as he is 18/35 in his MLB career. On top of that he can’t make contact, which can be seen by looking at his 369 K’s in 1,429 career at bats.

To compound Garcia’s issues, it is hard to put him in the field. While he has a strong arm (17 assists in 2015), his DWAR has never been above -0.2 since he came to the majors in 2012. He takes poor routes to fly balls, and struggles in his all-around game in the outfield.

However the Sox are stuck with a declining Shields, who may be worse than the 4-12 record he posted for the Sox in 2016 going forward. Since he isn’t going to opt-out of his contract, he is going to be on their roster through the end of 2018. But, if they can find a way to remove Shields, it might be a wise move for the South Siders.

All in all, the Sox are at a breaking point in regards to the future of their organization. It is going to be a tough offseason for them in regards to decision making if they do indeed want to go for it, mostly due to the lack of quality free agents on the market. However, they could elect to shake up the roster with some creative trades.

One thing is certain, and that is the fact the Sox have to make a decision which way to go. In or out, and all the way no questions asked. If the front office fails to do that, expect many years of irrelevance in baseball. Which is something Sox fans do not want.

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