Rozner: Not quite time to give up on Chicago White Sox
Less than three months into the second year of a rebuild, the Chicago White Sox have been deemed a failure.
So, yeah, that didn't take long.
Cheered universally for picking a lane a year ago, some in the national media have turned against the Sox and noted the terrible trades of Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Adam Eaton, and wondered how they could have gone so very wrong.
In June. Of Year 2.
Chicago Cubs fans can certainly relate, as there was screaming from the beginning of their teardown, all the way to Game 7 of the World Series, the plan labeled a disaster from start to finish.
Until it wasn't.
When they celebrated on the field in Cleveland, all the whining -- and all the certainty that it would never work -- was forgotten.
It should be remembered, however, that there were complaints at every ugly turn, probably at no time more than when they dealt Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland in the third year of the program.
Everything they did was wrong in the eyes of many.
But Cubs fans found their reward at the end of the rainbow. OK, there wasn't actually a rainbow, but the heavens did open and did it ever pour just minutes after Anthony Rizzo caught the final throw from Kris Bryant.
Now, White Sox fans are hearing much of the same criticism of their general manager and organization.
The Sox went into Monday night 26-51 and 17½ games back. On June 25, 2013, in the second year of their rebuild, the Cubs were 31-44 and 16 games back.
The manager was Dale Sveum and the most common Cubs lineup included Rizzo, Welington Castillo, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Luis Valbuena, Alfonso Soriano, David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz.
The rotation was Samardzija, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman, Matt Garza and Chris Rusin.
The bullpen was mostly Kevin Gregg, Carlos Villanueva, Hector Rondon, James Russell and Blake Parker.
Others who pitched for the Cubs included Michael Bowden, Shawn Camp, Brooks Raley, Matt Guerrier, Kyuji Fujikawa, Kameron Loe, Zac Rosscup, Eduardo Sanchez, Alberto Cabrera, Chang-Yong Lim, Rafael Dolis, Henry Rodriguez, Zach Putnam, Hisanori Takahashi and Alex Burnett.
Apologies if you just had breakfast, but that roster clearly wasn't on the cusp of a World Series appearance.
The Cubs finished in last place in 2013 at 66-96 and 31 games out. The Sox are currently on pace to go 55-107.
The Sox are not at the midway point of the second year and there is lots of noise and plenty of bad, as was expected.
So would they be winning with Sale, Quintana and Eaton? Would they have found enough pieces to put around them? They weren't winning with them, so would they be winning now? And if they were, could they even dream of competing with New York, Boston or Houston?
There's no promise this will work, no guarantee that the Sox will get it right, just as was the case with the Cubs, but at least the Sox have chosen a plan aimed at sustained success, hoping to be as good at it as were the Cubs and Astros, not to mention the Royals, who simply couldn't afford to keep their team together after winning.
The Sox have a pile of great prospects, but not all will make it while others not listed now will surprise and make the leap.
In the meantime, 23-year-old Yoan Moncada is called a bust after 490 big-league at-bats, producing 18 homers, 55 RBI and a .717 OPS with an OPS-plus of 96.
At the same juncture in his career, a 22-year-old Rizzo had produced 16 homers, 57 RBI and a .727 OPS with an OPS-plus of 98.
Bust, to be certain.
Experts are racing to judge young Sox pitchers and position players after small samples in the majors or minors, a baffling route to take.
At least locally, there seems to be a decent amount of patience within White Sox Nation, but Cubs fans can help out their friends on the South Side. Tell them that a couple of years from now they may be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
And unlike most of the years since 2005, perhaps it won't be another train coming right at them.
• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.