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updated: 10/2/2017 7:56 PM

White Sox wrap up another losing season, but future finally looking bright

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  • Chicago White Sox's Yoan Moncada, top, gets Cleveland Indians' Yan Gomes, bottom, out at second base and throws to first base in the third inning of a game Saturday in Cleveland. The Sox finished the regular season with a 67-95 record.

    Chicago White Sox's Yoan Moncada, top, gets Cleveland Indians' Yan Gomes, bottom, out at second base and throws to first base in the third inning of a game Saturday in Cleveland. The Sox finished the regular season with a 67-95 record.
    Associated Press

 
 

It was the final day of the 2016 season, and it was a somber scene on the South Side.

After the Chicago White Sox lost to the Minnesota Twins in the "last" game at U.S. Cellular Field, renamed Guaranteed Rate Field in November, manager Robin Ventura was out and replaced by bench coach Rick Renteria.

At 78-84, the Sox wrapped up their fourth straight losing season, and they missed the playoffs for the eighth straight year.

Ace starting pitcher Chris Sale, among others, was fed up.

"Something drastic needs to happen," Sale said. "You can't do the same things over and over and expect things to change."

Two months later, Sale was involved in a drastic trade that signaled the beginning of a long needed roster overhaul.

The left-hander was sent to the Boston Red Sox for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and two minor-league prospects.

Outfielder Adam Eaton was traded to the Washington Nationals the day after Sale, netting the White Sox minor-league starters Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning.

Before the current regular season wrapped up on Sunday with a 3-1 loss at Cleveland, Sox general manager Rick Hahn traded nine more veteran players for prospects between July 13 and Aug. 31.

Acquired from the Cubs in the Jose Quintana deal, outfielder Eloy Jimenez has future all-star potential. The White Sox are also excited about outfielder Blake Rutherford, who came over from the Yankees in the Todd Frazier, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle trade.

Add in Zack Collins and Jake Burger -- the Sox's top draft picks the last two years -- and international addition Luis Robert, and it's easy to see why there is some excitement after another losing season.

With Moncada, Giolito and Lopez already on the major-league roster and Kopech, Jimenez, Collins and starter Alec Hansen getting close, some think the White Sox can contend for the playoffs next season.

"I think it's possible," Renteria said. "You never know. Anything is possible. It's a combination of having talent and coming together with people and executing, a commitment to a belief in themselves. You can believe in them, but they've got to believe in themselves. I think they're taking on a persona that, I think our club right now is building towards a very positive future."

Before the White Sox played their final home game last Thursday, Hahn admitted "we still have a lot of work to do."

Adding multiple relief pitchers is on this winter's to-do list after Robertson, Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak, Dan Jennings and Tyler Clippard were traded and Nate Jones, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricks went down with arm injuries.

With Carlos Rodon a big question mark following last Wednesday's arthroscopic shoulder surgery, the Sox are likely to add another veteran starter or two on one-year contracts.

They could also look for upgrades in center field and designated hitter, but Hahn knows it's going to take more time for prospects like Jimenez, Kopech and Collins to make an impact with the White Sox.

"When we set out to do this, we talked about the fact that rebuilds take time and this is a long-term project," Hahn said. "This is something that we've seen through the league, and even the best of them have taken four or five years. Now again, we felt we were in a little bit of a different position in that we had some assets at the big-league level that were going to allow us to make some pretty impactful trades as opposed to just starting from scratch and going through the draft.

"So we weren't ready to commit to any sort of time frame, but the notion that people are even entertaining the idea that we could contend in one year into this process, I think shows that people feel very optimistic and pleased with what we've been able to do so far."

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