Sox GM Won't Say Dreaded “R Word”

Unfortunately for him, Williams can't advertise a rebuild

Picture yourself as Kenny Williams. By most accounts, you're a successful professional baseball GM. You've already won a World Series, after all, and you've helped turn an occasionally moribund franchise, the Chicago White Sox, into an annually competitive group. You're respected within your profession.

And yet, there is one itch you still have to scratch: You still have to rebuild a team.

But of course, you can't actually call it that. You have to say that you're getting younger and getting more competitive at the same time -- which can oftentimes be true! -- because if you say you're "rebuilding" fans get mad. So Kenny, savvy as he is, goes with this quote instead:

"Just because I'm talking about playing a more youthful team doesn't mean we're sacrificing our goal of trying to win the division this year," Williams said after trading starting pitcher Vazquez and reliever Boone Logan to Atlanta. "Along the way, if they show you they can do certain things or cannot show you, you've built up enough depth to make an adjustment. Right now we'd be among our competition in the division."

It's a pre-emptive strike against those who will convince themselves that Williams is tanking the season, or something, merely because he's not playing seven different guys over the age of 38 or something. That's a slight exaggeration, but the point is made.

Why can't Kenny "rebuild"? Simple: the Chicago Cubs. Not only are the Cubs the traditionally more popular team, next year, they should be at least moderately successful again. A down year, or a rebuilding year, could cause even more potential White Sox fans to choose the Cubs instead. Avoiding such a scenario is an organizational imperative Williams has surely been dealing with since he was hired.

So the White Sox don't have the luxury of "rebuilding," even though, in baseball, rebuilding is absolutely a good thing, so long as you don't spend too much time in the hole. Instead, it's a "youth movement." Fortunately for Williams, the Tampa Bay Rays just proved you can be both young and good; Kenny will be hoping his White Sox can assume that rare template.

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