The next baseball season won't be here for a while, but already we're starting to get a better idea of how the White Sox organization views 2014.
Once the division deficit grew to double digits, everyone knew -- whether or not they chose to admit it -- that the 2013 season essentially was over.
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And with that, our focus understandably shifted from the present to the future since the object now is for the Sox to become a better team.
The only real uncertainty is the timetable for said improvement.
While we don't know precisely how long it will take for the Sox to get there, it is apparent based on recent comments by general manager Rick Hahn that there doesn't seem to be much intent to concede next season for the sake of doing that.
But do they really even have to make that point? I'm not so sure they do.
If one of the main obstacles to the club making progress was the refusal to depart with aging and/or expensive veterans, I think they've already shown their mindset isn't there.
Alex Rios and Jake Peavy already have been dealt, as well as two of their priciest relievers. Anyone else who remains on the team following both trade deadlines is either young, cheap, on an expiring contract, likely immovable, or a combination of any of those.
The White Sox already have begun to get younger with the acquisitions of Avi Garcia and the relatively little-known talent in Leury Garcia, and they have quite a young pitching staff with only one starter even close to 30.
So what else, really, do they need to do moving forward? Execute a good draft?
Well, they're going to have to do that anyway, regardless of how they choose to fill any vacancies.
I believe their drafting problems in the past could be mostly attributed to the amount of money they've historically chosen to spend, which no longer appears to be an issue, and it seems the damage done in Latin America by the David Wilder scandal already is on the mend with the presence of Marco Paddy.
I suppose the bottom line is that it shouldn't hurt them to add free agents in the off-season as that should in no way hinder their ability to do and have the things I've mentioned.
Aside from just drafting poorly, the only other thing that could interfere with a fruitful draft is the team damaging its draft position by winning too many games this year.
But what are you going to do? Make them lose?
And if it just so happens those hypothetical free agents help them competitively next year, there's no harm done to the future. Those free agents would not affect how the team drafts, nor would they prevent a young talent-in-waiting from assuming a roster spot.
That's because there just isn't much on the farm that will be ready immediately.
The 2014 White Sox will not be a division favorite, and the 2015 Sox may not be either, but that does not mean a surprisingly quick rebound is totally out of the question.
•Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRongey and at chrisrongey.com. Subscriber Total Access members can email him questions each week via our online link.