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Don Cooper has said on more than one occasion that the rebuild is only two months old. While it’s somewhat a matter of self-interest — the younger the rebuild is, the less anybody can say progress has stalled — it also probably didn’t feel like a rebuild to him when he had Jose Quintana, a healthy Carlos Rodon and a loaded bullpen.
Or maybe it’s taking the construction metaphor too literally, not thinking anybody would start rebuilding before the teardown had been completed.
Whatever the case, the Rebuild, proper noun, started when the White Sox ceased going for it and traded their best players with the aim of building rosters years away, and subsequent positive developments for the incumbent roster only resulted in more trades. We’re in the eighth baseball month of most on-field decisions not mattering in the big picture.
That part continues apace. When listing the White Sox’ possible outfield combinations with Avisail Garcia and Yoan Moncada out, I listed the Nicky Delmonico-Trayce Thompson-Daniel Palka alignment as the one I’d least like to see, at least in a way that wins games.
Renteria then started that one on Tuesday. It didn’t go that well, but at least it’d give us the opportunity to learn how well Thompson plays center. I filed this play away.
In other years, I’d complain about Renteria giving the ball to Chris Volstad instead of Hector Santiago in long-relief situations that could decide the ballgame, which is also something he did on Tuesday night. I’d rather see Santiago in that position, especially since Renteria said before the season that Santiago was useful because he could counter lineup that are stacked to face the White Sox’ all-righty rotation.
But the conversation about the outfield turned to the idea that it didn’t really matter, and the same can be said for long-relief situations, which are typically not so frequent a consideration for teams that are good enough to contend.
We’re basically in the long-relief portion of a blowout that takes 186 days instead of nine innings. A 9-24 start is like Lucas Giolito or Carson Fulmer getting shelled in the second, and there’s still a lot of ground to cover before the damage stops. It’s a metaphor with flaws, and Michael Kopech or Eloy Jimenez can blow it up if they’re able to provide more than the short-term amusement of a position player pitching.
Then again, metaphors are usually not supposed to cover every technicality. That’s what leads people to say the rebuild is only two months old when it’s easily been a few folds longer.