LAS VEGAS -- The answer from White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams regarding the time being right for the organization's high-end rebuild to get more aggressive required just one word uttered with great confidence."Yes," Williams said during a media session after he was a featured speaker at the Diversity
LAS VEGAS -- The answer from White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams regarding the time being right for the organization's high-end rebuild to get more aggressive required just one word uttered with great confidence.
"Yes," Williams said during a media session after he was a featured speaker at the Diversity and Inclusion Unfiltered Winter Meetings seminar on Monday at Mandalay Bay.
Of course, with that aggressiveness comes the greater spending of money for a team with only $16 million of present contractual commitments, according to Spotrac.
"They go hand-and-hand," Williams continued. "It is time now. The conversations are very different in the room this year than they were in the last few years. We have our eye toward getting better.
"It's not by accident we are in a better position to go out and do some things in a more aggressive way. We prepared for this. That was part of our plan all along. We knew we would get here, and maybe a year too early, but the opportunities that exist, they exist this year. We are going down the road and see where it leads us, and hopefully, we can trend upward."
That road has a light at the end of the tunnel as described by general manager Rick Hahn during a Monday morning appearance on MLB Network. Hahn's tunnel reference was aimed at some of the club's prospects who will soon help in the Major Leagues getting to the Double-A level, but White Sox fans currently are more interested in information concerning potential faces of the franchise picked up through free agency such as outfielder Bryce Harper and infielder Manny Machado.
Hahn described the discussions with Harper and Machado's respective camps as "private" with a wry smile and would go no further. The team has discussed both internally and seem to be in the prime running for both, but there are intangibles left to play out.
Will White Sox manager Rick Renteria, who has benched players for not hustling as he tries to create a new culture on the South Side, be happy with Machado's supremely talented, but admitted not-always-all-out style of play? How do other teams bidding on both stack up against Chicago's interest?
Even with 100 losses in 2018, the White Sox are far from an unappealing longterm choice. They have the young talent, if most of these players pan out, to keep themselves in American League Central contention and beyond.
"To call it a complete non-factor might be a little strong," Hahn said of the losses. "They want to understand what we're looking at going forward and how we plan on getting there, and the status of some of our young guys. It might be slightly premature to push in across the board, but on select opportunities, we're going to explore it and let those people know what we're about."
"Winning matters," Williams said. "You develop people, you acquire people that the fans like, and will come out and want to see. That even helps the cause to a greater degree. It gives you more revenue, more resources so that you can then try to improve the team even more."
Williams doesn't have time to gauge White Sox buzz by listening to radio or TV shows, or reading any articles, pointing out the front office has its collective heads down and is grinding through. It's that aggressive approach within the rebuild, trying to get the White Sox into their championship window.
"Listen, the closer we get to our young players coming up and starting to have an impact, the more exciting it gets, the more light at the end of the tunnel for sure," Williams said. "The losing has not sat well with us, so we are looking forward to a trend moving upward and onward.
"Ultimately, you have to prove it to White Sox fans, and we know that, and that's what we are setting out to try to do. We are trying to earn their patronage."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.