As Saturday and especially Sunday showed, there are going to be tough moments during the White Sox’ rebuild — times when the performances are even uglier than the score.
But in the end, Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost thinks that’s fine because the Sox have bigger goals of remaking the franchise, building for the future and developing young players. Yes, losses will happen, but they’re happening for a reason that should keep things in perspective.
“What are you trying to do? You’re trying to win a world championship, and that’s the most important thing above everything else,” Yost said Saturday, when the Royals edged the Sox 5-4. “Your focus is always on that goal, and you’re always developing your young players to head in that direction. Sometimes the best tool for teaching is mistakes and getting beat, and they learn from it and they gain experience from it. Then, progressively, they get a little better and a little better and a little better until they’re at a point to where they can compete.”
Sox manager Rick Renteria stressed the same things Sunday after seeing his team lose 14-6, with two errors, three wild pitches and a misjudged fly ball in left field.
“I think as we continue to move along, hopefully [mistakes] continue to be fewer and far between,” Renteria said. “But is it to be expected that they might make mistakes like some that have occurred? Yes.”
Yost would agree — and he isn’t just speaking from the perspective of an opponent. He has been in the same place the Sox are now — first in Milwaukee, then in Kansas City, where he managed rebuilding teams that went through hard times. With the Brewers, Yost lost 94 games in each of his first two seasons and didn’t have a winning year until his fifth with the team. The Royals hired him in 2010 while their farm system was being hyped as historically great, even as the big-league team struggled. It took until 2013 for the Royals’ first winning record under Yost before they won the 2014 American League pennant and the 2015 World Series.
Undoubtedly, there were trying times for Yost in Kansas City, followed by the ultimate reward. And he sees the Sox doing this with the correct level of patience.
“You can’t expect them to come out and compete for a championship this year, but they’re building. They’re working,” Yost said. “It’s kind of like somebody wanting to build a new house, and you put the framework in and you want to move in. You can’t do that. It takes time. It takes time to get it right and to get it to a point where they’re going to be able to compete.”
That won’t be this year for the Sox, and it probably won’t be next year, either. But as the Royals and other rebuilding teams have shown, that’s how these projects work. Success might not be coming now, but if things are run properly, it should eventually.
And Yost sees it coming for the Sox. He said they’ve amassed “some incredibly talented” young players, and sounded like a manager who realizes how much trouble they could cause when they’re ready.
“They’ll get [success],” he said. “It’s going to probably take them two to three years before they start really putting it together. Once they put it together, they’re going to be a real, real tough team in this division.”
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