Say what you will about some of Ozzie Guillen's antics, but there is no question that his eight-season run as manager of the Chicago White Sox was an unmitigated success. The South Siders posted a .516 winning percentage under Guillen -- eighth-best in baseball in that span -- and won their first World Series title since 1917.
Guillen has left to lead the new-look Miami Marlins, and it appears his timing is impeccable. The Sox went 79-83 last year, 16 games behind the first-place Detroit Tigers, and the talent gap between those two clubs is evident. With the Kansas City Royals and (to a lesser extent) Cleveland Indians doing a good job of hoarding promising youngsters, Chicago's future appears grim, so grim that GM Kenny Williams has even brought up the R-word.
"It's the start of rebuilding now," Williams said. "Is it the start of a falling domino-type rebuilding? No. Absolutely not."
It's possible Williams was being coy, and for the sake of Chicago fans, let's hope so. Because if there is any team that is in need of a "domino-type rebuilding," it's the White Sox.
While it's possible for the White Sox to compete in 2012, it seems unlikely. Realistically, Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko are their only position players who project to be above-average relative to their position, and their roster is loaded with players on the wrong side of 30, including Konerko, Adam Dunn, A.J. Pierzynski, Jake Peavy and Alex Rios. In other words, they're all more likely to get worse rather than better.
With the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, it behooves Williams to start moving a number of his key players as soon as possible.