The Chicago White Sox are in the midst of one of their worst seasons in the last 25 years.
There's no doubt that they have been bad in just about every area this year and it's been tough to watch.
I have to admit that I have seen less White Sox baseball this season than I can ever remember, and that's not by accident.
As we approach the July 31st trade deadline for Major League Baseball, the Sox find themselves in a position that they are not particularly accustomed to.
They currently sit dead last in the AL Central, 14 games out of first place, and have managed to record their worst first half since 1989 by going 37-55.
That 1989 team finished the season with a record of 69-92 and were the last White Sox club to finish the season in last place.
Could this year's team be the next?
It's certainly possible, as they are only on pace to win 66 games, which would be their lowest total since 1976, when they also finished in last place.
However, the Minnesota Twins are currently only two games in front of the White Sox, so they do have a chance to avoid the cellar, for what that's worth.
Either way, it's been a rough ride for Sox fans this year.
How bad has it been?
In the 23 seasons between 1989 and this current season, the White Sox have only finished under the .500 mark seven times and had a combined winning percentage of almost .530.
And in only three of those seven losing seasons did they have a winning percentage below .488.
That's certainly not the case this season, as they have struggled to win just over 40 percent of the time.
What does all of this mean?
Well, the general consensus seems to be that it's time for GM Rick Hahn and his staff to start over and completely rebuild this team from the ground up, much like what the Cubs have done on the north side.
This is something that former GM Kenny Williams refused to do during his tenure, and some would say that's exactly why the White Sox are in the position that they are in.
Williams was continually criticized for his willingness to trade away young talent in exchange for aging veterans in order to help the club remain in contention every year.
And most would argue that it is because of this that the White Sox farm system is lacking talent who are major-league ready.
So the question is, do the White Sox need to completely start over? Should they follow the blueprint of Theo Epstein and company on the north side?
It's certainly an option, but it's not the only option.
By now everyone has read about how the White Sox will be one of the top sellers in baseball leading up to the trade deadline. There has been rumor after rumor and countless articles on which guys should go and what the possible trade scenarios are.
So far they have only dealt veteran reliever Matt Thornton to the Boston Red Sox for minor-league outfielder Brandon Jacobs and cash. However, there are almost certainly more moves that will be made in the coming weeks.
Initially, it was stated by Hahn that everyone on the White Sox roster is available for trade, with the exception of Chris Sale and Paul Konerko, but lately there has been rumors that Sale may actually be available.
Obviously, we will find out in the near future what deals will actually take place, but for right now it's all just speculation.
However, I will say this: the White Sox would be foolish to deal Chris Sale.
Sale is a 24-year-old, left-handed ace who any team would love to build around and that's exactly what the Sox should do. They just recently signed him to a five-year contract extension in order to anchor their rotation and they should keep it that way.
Guys like Sale don't come around very often and if you are looking for someone to build your team around, a left-handed ace is a good place to start.
In addition to Sale, the White Sox also have the makings of what looks like a pretty solid, young rotation.
With Jose Quintana (24), Hector Santiago (25), John Danks (28) and possibly minor-leaguer Erik Johnson (23) in the rotation with Sale next season, the White Sox would certainly have one of the better, and younger, rotations in baseball.
Of course, this is assuming that Jake Peavy is dealt this season, which seems like a strong possibility depending on how he bounces back from his trip to the DL.
If not, he would remain in the rotation next season and that wouldn't be a bad thing.
Starting pitching is what you build a team around, and that is one thing the White Sox actually have at this point.
If they can keep that intact and start to add some pieces offensively, they may be back on track sooner than many think.
The question is, can Rick Hahn acquire some MLB-ready talent as he begins to dissect the current White Sox roster?
We will soon find out, but the one thing Hahn shouldn't do if the White Sox want to contend in the near future is deal Chris Sale.
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