Friday, December 30, 2011

Rebuilding Does Not Mean What Kenny Williams Thinks It Means

This is what Kenny Williams said after he traded Sergio Santos to the Toronto Blue Jays for Nestor Molina. Pay attention to a word that begins with the letter "R" and ends with "ebuilding."

"It is the start of a rebuilding, and you guys know I have not used that word in 12 years. But it is the start of a rebuilding. Now, is it the start of falling-domino rebuilding? No. Absolutely not.''

Notice how Kenny qualified it with the "falling-domino?" Yes, well apparently to Kenny there's a huge difference between rebuilding and falling-domino rebuilding. In Kenny's mind rebuilding means "not doing anything differently" and falling-domino rebuilding means "rebuilding."

Here's what he had to say on Thursday after the team officially announced John Danks' new deal.

"As I tried to articulate to everyone, the only way we would move any of our impact players is if we got impact players, young players back. So we are still in win mode, but yeah, you can still be in a little bit of a rebuilding phase.

"I tried to articulate it wouldn't be a true rebuilding because we have too many veterans, good ones, who are looking to bounce back. We've filtered in our fair share of minor league players as we've gone along. It was never going to be that traditional rebuilding anyway.''

No, you really can't still be "in win mode" and a "little bit of a rebuilding phase" at the same time. Rebuilding means starting over. It's tearing down the house and building a new one on top of where the old one stood.

What Kenny is doing is building a new deck in the backyard. He's buying a new 3D television to replace the old regular HD one he had. He isn't rebuilding a damn thing.

Now, to be clear, I'm not upset with Williams one way or another for rebuilding or not. While I feel like this organization definitely needs to make some big changes and give its farm system a jolt of adrenaline, it's really hard to do all that while you're still saddled with contracts like the ones that belong to Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, and to a lesser extent, A.J. Pierzynski and Paul Konerko.

All of whom are on the wrong side of 30 and will be making between $12 and $17 million in 2012 -- okay, not all, Pierzynski is making $6 million, but the point remains. None of these players are really tradeable at this point, save for maybe Konerko, so it's impossible to clean house and begin anew while they're still here.

So, in a sense, the team is stuck in a bit of a holding pattern while waiting for these deals to expire.

What bothers me about all of this is that if it's not a rebuilding, don't say rebuilding. Kenny said himself that he hadn't said the word in 12 years, so why the hell start saying it now? I mean, in what winter hasn't Williams explored trades for any and all of his players? That's what the offseason is for.

So if you're doing the same damn thing you've always done, why give it a new label? Nobody likes to hear that word, even when it's necessary. When asked why you traded a cost-controlled young reliever that could possibly get even better than he already has been for a prospect that you're hoping can turn out to be a third starter in your rotation, just say "we liked what we've seen in Molina and believe he can be a part of our rotation for years to come, and starters have more value than closers, even when that closer is young, cheap and very effective."

Then we'd all just nod our heads and say "he's right." Then everybody would wait around for a year or two and see what happens with Molina and Santos before deciding whether you were an idiot for making the deal or not.

Instead you say "it is the start of a rebuilding" and we light ourselves on fire.

1 comment:

  1. Nice read. What I believe you are getting at is this: so long as you have the albatross contracts of Dunn, Rios, and Peavy you almost owe it to yourselves as an organization to leave enough around to win in the event that two or more of them bounce back. Its like an if-then rebuild. If Peavy rios and Dunn bounce back this team is absolutely capable of winning not only the division but the whole thing. if they don't bounce back you have trade pieces to plunge restock the system. One quick point, Santos blew a lot of saves and was not even close to an elite closer last year and very well may never be one.


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