One look at the White Sox's lineup tells you pretty much the whole story: Aging, beloved veterans, large free agent signings, and a reliance on "old man skills" -- power and on-base percentage being the norm, and not the exception. The White Sox are a team built to compete in the here and now, but they are not a particularly young, or potential-filled, squad.
There are two reasons for this: The White Sox cupboard has been left bare by trades, and the talent the Sox did have on the farm has been utilized to great effect. Most notable is the case of Alexei Ramirez. The other reason is that the cupboard wasn't all that full in the first place. The White Sox simply have not had a good farm system for some time now.
What does all this lead up to? According to the Trib, the White Sox are revamping their minor league system in a variety of important ways:
The revamping of the White Sox's farm system involves the hiring of former major league slugger Chris Chambliss and re-hiring of former hitting coach Gary Ward. The system-wide changes, which started last summer, were announced Monday by Buddy Bell, the director of minor league instruction.
Chambliss, 59, takes over as manager at Triple-A Charlotte, replacing Marc Bombard. Chambliss, a 16-year major-league veteran, served last season as hitting coach at Triple-A Richmond. Chambliss managed in the Detroit system nearly 20 years ago and was a major league hitting coach for the New York Yankees, Mets and Cincinnati. Chambliss interviewed for the Arizona managerial job that went to Bob Brenly after the 2000 season.
In other words, almost every position at the minor league level is being changed or re-assessed. Why? It's a simple answer: The White Sox, if they want to be good for longer than the next year or so, have to find some players to complement Ramirez and Quentin. The rest of the current lineup is getting old, and starting to drop off in production. Those things will only get worse as players like Konerko and Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye get older.
It will take more than new managers to get the Sox' system right, but Kenny Williams has shown he can build a winner before. Now he'll have to do it from the bottom up.