2016 for the White Sox: Your 2021 World Series Champions

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CHICAGO – With a copy of a particular Guns & Roses song, a roster and a well-aging bottle of champagne, South Side baseball rooters need to settle in for a couple of years.

This will take time (hence the bubbly), Patience (hence the Guns and Roses song) and an easily changeable list of players (because you’ll need to know who they are). But there is a big payoff potentially on the horizon.

The Chicago White Sox: Major League Baseball’s 2021 World Series Champion.

Is this far-fetched? Too positive? Perhaps. Yet the start of the team’s much publicized (and perhaps overdue) bottom-to-top rebuild has been rather successful.

First, Rick Hahn actually did it.

Don’t look on his decision by the general manager and the organization lightly. While it was a popular move among the fan base to trade away Chris Sale and Adam Eaton while also shopping around other high level players, it takes guts to do it.

Rebuilding with prospects pretty much guarantees a sub-standard 2017 season with likely the same in 2018 and 2019. For a team that’s progressed with a win-now mentality for over a decade and is constantly looking for ways to boost attendance, the move cannot be made lightly.

But Hahn and the White Sox went through with what they had to do. The face of the franchise is gone along with a Gold Glove caliber outfielder, and more changes are coming that likely will put the White Sox near the bottom of the league this year.

Just going through with it, again, is just one thing. Executing it well is another – and what a job Hahn did.

In the Sale trade, the White Sox picked up MLB.com’s number one prospect in 2016 – third baseman Yoan Moncada. Pitcher Lucas Giolito, part of the Eaton trade, was ranked third in that same list. In fact in those two trade alone, according to MLB.com, five of their top ten prospects in their farm system were acquired by the team.

Expect to hear a lot from pitchers Michael Kopech (Sale), Reynaldo Lopez (Eaton), and outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe (Eaton) over the coming months and years.

More prospects are on the way, too. Jose Quintana trade talks remain active as the beginning of 2017 and he’ll likely be moved for another collection of prospects before spring training begins. David Robertson is likely on his way out to for some youth in return.

Add into that group some promising 2016 rookies like shortstop Tim Anderson, pitcher Carson Fulmer, and outfield Charlie Tilson, and there is reason to feel very optimistic about the future on the South Side.

Again, this will be in the somewhat distant future.

The history of these kinds of builds points to a down time that lasts around 3-to-4 years, where wins are lean and patience is tested like never before.

But the White Sox went through with it. “Mired in Mediocrity” is what Hahn said the win-first team was back in the summer and he did something about it in the winter. A load of prospects are headed into a depleated White Sox farm system to begin this new era.

Nothing is guaranteed, of course. But after eight seasons without a playoff appearance, it’s OK to dream. Perhaps set your sights on late October and early November of 2021.

Something special could be on the horizon. Just have a little patience.