The Chicago White Sox won the World Series in 2005. Since then, they have been to the playoffs but once, winning only one game. They haven’t been to the playoffs in 8 years. And the blame for that, rests solely on management. But especially one person – owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
See, teams like the New England Patriots have something called the “Patriots Way”. They hold onto their management, players, and coaches so long as they are useful. That philosophy began with coach Bill Belichick. The White Sox have the opposite – they hold onto everyone well past their expiration date.
After Kenny Williams was the GM of the White Sox in that 2005 season, he was quickly promoted to President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago White Sox. Williams managed to bankrupt the White Sox farm system in the pursuit of that World Series. The White Sox have not been a good team at all during his reign as PBO.
The White Sox, as it currently stands, are mired in mediocrity. They have two great pitchers – Chris Sale and Jose Quintana – as well as one good bat – Jose Abreu – but the team begins and ends with those three players. Both pitchers are expected to be moved this offseason.
That means the White Sox will officially be starting their rebuild. They have already fired manager Robin Ventura. The rebuild, however, comes three years too late. Ventura, with no managing experience, should never have been hired in the first place. But because of White Sox over-loyalty, what I would call the “White Sox Way”, he was hired because of his ability as a player. That ability does not necessarily translate to coaching.
Ex-Ex-Skip, Ozzy Guillèn (2004-2011)
Kenny Williams’ best move may have been hiring general manager Rick Hahn. But the White Sox have remained entrenched firmly within mediocre baseball because of Ventura. It’s too early to tell how good Hahn can be and has been. Yes, Hahn has been able to acquire talent like Quintana and Abreu, and signed Sale to a good deal. But he was unable to move both Quintana and Sale at the trade deadline.
Loyalty in sports is an interesting subject. Many teams don’t display it in the slightest. These teams are often successful, like the Patriots. If a team uses players only for usefulness, it won’t have the best GM/player relations, but it will likely have a superior on-field product. If a team has some loyalty to players, like San Antonio with Tim Duncan, it can have success. If, however, a team shows over-loyalty, like the Lakers and Kobe Bryant this last season, you can have some poor play.
And that’s what the White Sox have been experiencing. Over-loyalty to not only management, but players like Paul Konerko, has led to a decline in play. If there wasn’t the level of loyalty there is within the organization, the White Sox would already have started a full rebuild, much like the Cubs have successfully done.
The blame rests solely on Reinsdorf for that. Williams wasn’t smart enough to understand the need for a fresh start. Reinsdorf, if he was a good owner, would have understood that and moved on. Instead, because of one good season in a decade, Williams remains the head of the team. It’s clear it’s not a role he deserves.
The White Sox should require a full rebuild, and they should start with selling the team.