This team underwent a modified rebuild during the 2013 season and into '14, but it did not feature the broad scope of this current rebuild undertaken by general manager Rick Hahn and the organization. The '17 version of this squad certainly is more about the longer-term picture than a one-year fix.
"The focus of our scouting department, of our player-development people, of the Major League staff is on building something that's sustainable," Hahn said. "In the short term, we might have to pay some price at the big league level.
"Everyone here understands what we're trying to accomplish for the long term. Stranger things have happened in baseball where teams that weren't expected to contend come together and are able to succeed. If that happens, fantastic, and we'll help facilitate it as much as we can. But in reality, we're closer to the start than we are the finish of this process of rebuilding this club."
The team won 78 games last season and already has traded one of the game's best pitchers in Chris Sale and a strong contributor both offensively and defensively in Adam Eaton. The perfect season might also include a couple of more trades to net yet more top-level prospects. Pitchers Jose Quintana and David Robertson are still drawing interest from teams hoping to contend, and slugger Todd Frazier might as well.
So the focus turns to those players acquired or those players already in the system via the Draft. Players such as Moncada, Giolito, Lopez and Burdi figure to get a big league chance at some point in '17. But the perfect scenario would be for this group to continue to learn and improve, developing a cohesive feel.
Much like the Astros and Cubs before them, a White Sox core that plays together, develops together and even loses together some day can win consistently together. That hope becomes the White Sox mantra for '17 regardless of the big league win total.
"I don't see any difference in how I take my job in terms of how we try to prepare players on a daily basis," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "These guys are trying to compete to show you what they're capable of doing, and taking care of moments that are presented to them. When we get a whole lot of good moments, we start winning a lot of ballgames."
"As a veteran guy, just teach them the ropes," said Frazier of his role with the young players. "Adversity is a big thing in this game and causes a lot of people to break down. Show them what you got. Bulldog mentality."