CHICAGO -- Tanking? That is not a word that has been used in reference to the current White Sox rebuild. This rebuild looks a little bit different in terms of the remaining talent on the Major League roster than other teams that in recent years have rebuilt in full.
"I'm not anticipating this to be a 62- or 63-win team," said White Sox director of amateur scouting Nick Hostetler, referring to the 2017 season. "Right now, the way that the team is constructed, we are going to compete in games, battle."
Trading Chris Sale, one of the game's best starting pitchers, and moving a strong contributor on both offense and defense in outfielder Adam Eaton, certainly will affect the win-loss total of this year's squad. As would a deal of fellow All-Star starter Jose Quintana.
Nonetheless, a mix of accomplished veterans and talented young players still exists on the Sox 25-man roster. Anyone is fair game in the course of a rebuild, especially players with only one or two years of team control -- such as Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Melky Cabrera, one or all of whom might be gone before the All-Star break. But the team as presently constructed does not look like a typical contender for the No. 1 or No. 2 pick in next year's MLB Draft.
Given the amount of talent the Sox had to deal away -- netting them several high-end prospects this winter, with more no doubt on the way -- and there is no need to "tank" and shoot for the top pick in the Draft. The talent they're getting in return via trade fills that need and speeds the rebuilding process.
"I think the perception of having to be terrible and tanking and that's the only way you can get better isn't the case," Hostetler said. "It's especially true when you have commodities like Chris was and Adam was, and guys that we currently have on the roster that if we decided to move them, those guys can actually speed up the process of rebuilding.
"This team is going to be a fun team to watch this year. They are going to have energy and young guys fighting for jobs. The rebuild for us is a little bit different than what it was with some other teams."
The Cubs' highly-lauded rebuild doesn't end in a World Series title without Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber. Bryant stood as the second pick overall in the 2013 Draft, and Schwarber was taken one pick behind White Sox hurler Carlos Rodon at No. 4 in the '14 Draft. Carlos Correa (the top pick in '12) made a huge difference in the Astros' turnaround.
All of these players arrived courtesy of those team's poor seasons the prior year. The Sox, on the other hand, brought in an equivalent (or better) haul of prospects via trade. Hostetler is just fine picking seventh or eighth instead of one or two -- it's all about getting the best guy.
There's little doubt the now much younger White Sox will be on a learning curve in 2017 and quite possibly '18. But White Sox manager Rick Renteria views success beyond the won-loss record.
"Wins or losses are determined by performance," Renteria said. "So, if experience or lack of experience in some instances with certain players is where the failure in certain actions may occur, you are still winning. It's something that you have to be able to learn from in order to move forward.
"You are always winning in some capacity, if that makes sense. As long as you don't lose sight of the big picture, you always have a chance to have a positive trajectory. You want wins, you want 99 wins. I get all that. But those are results. You win or lose through the actions you take in the course of a ballgame. So every moment that occurs in a game is important."