Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams has a choice to make this offseason. Williams can either forsake the next two or three years and completely rebuild the White Sox, or he can try to find a way to keep them competitive in 2013 and beyond.
Unfortunately for many White Sox fans, rebuilding is not an option for Williams, and there are three reasons why.
First, the White Sox need the turnstiles to spin, and according to the team's MLB.com beat writer Scott Merkin, the front office has already addressed what they believe to be the root cause of declining ticket sales.
Merkin reported on Oct. 18 that the White Sox are taking “aggressive steps to reach out to their fan base and entice more people to attend games in 2013” by slashing both ticket and parking prices at U.S. Cellular Field.
The barrier to rebuilding is that if the product on the field isn’t worth watching, then no reduction in cost will be sufficient to increase attendance. In other words, the only way reduced ticket prices can impact attendance is if the team on the field is competitive.
Secondly, in order to rebuild, the White Sox need to shed payroll, and the players who are due the most money in 2013 are unattractive.
Paul Konerko ($13.5 million) and John Danks ($14.25 million) are both coming off surgeries, so the return Williams would receive would be minimal, while Adam Dunn ($15 million) is overpaid and immovable.
To be sure, Alex Rios ($12.5 million), Alexei Ramirez ($7 million), Matt Thornton ($5.5 million) and Jesse Crain ($4.5 million) may generate some attractive offers. If Williams wants to maximize their value, however, he would be best served waiting for the 2013 non-waiver trade deadline.
Finally, the White Sox were so close this past year and Williams is not one to back off.
Look for Williams to do everything in his power to bring A.J. Pierzynski back, land a third baseman not named Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman put those rumors to rest Saturday) and address the need for another right-handed starter after Jake Peavy’s option is not picked up.
The bench will look a bit different and there figures to be at least one new everyday position player for the White Sox, but the rest of the team will look relatively the same as it did in 2012.
This is sure to upset some fans, but rebuilding is simply not in the cards for the 2013 White Sox.