After weeks months years of a front office crying poor and an increasingly cynical fanbase suspecting something is up, Ozzie Guillen finally told us what we already knew:

“We are rebuilding,” Guillen said, ”and we just want to have a mix between the young kids and the veteran players.”

And yes it sounds bad, and yes Kenny Williams will probably huff and puff a lot about getting guys who play the game the right way/grinder/grit/2005, but bad memories of 1997 aside we have to look at what, really, has transpired so far this winter:

  • Joe Crede got hurt earlier this year (as expected) and his agent convinced him he’d be better off on the open market (as expected), leaving the Sox without a reliable veteran third baseman, same as they’ve been since the 53rd game of 2007.
  • Orlando Cabrera, ultimately proven to just be a really expensive glove, didn’t work out too well but, if you think about it, worked out exactly as planned: the Sox saved some money by not having Jon Garland on the 2008 payroll and received two first-round picks for letting Cabrera walk.
  • Javier Vazquez had a losing record on a playoff team. A lousy playoff team, but a playoff team. He punched his ticket out of town a while ago, so let’s not act surprised at his departure. Yes, he received a hefty paycheck – but was he really worth it?
  • Nick Swisher.
  • Jim Thome’s option kicked in for 2009, meaning once again the slow, station-to-station, all-or-nothing core of he, Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye has no choice but to remain intact another year. Of the three, Dye is the only one with any substantial value on the trade market, although in these times a team needing an outfield bat could probably sign one of comparable overall skill for less than the $12 million due to #23 next season.
  • The argument for keeping Bobby Jenks is exactly as compelling as the argument for trading him. His health may deteriorate, but it hasn’t yet. His velocity is down, but this may mean he’s a better pitcher. His arm’s already been worked on, but at least his back hasn’t. He’s still a bargain, but he won’t be for long. Your guess is as good as mine.
  • The Sox don’t have anything reliable in the fifth starter slot. More importantly, they haven’t since the Orlando Hernandez/Brandon McCarthey tandem in 2005, and that was only briefly solving a rotation problem dating back to 1993 Tim Belcher.

This is rebuilding? This is the same offseason plan we’ve seen every year since at least 1982. Given the sad state of the franchise in Kansas City, the local economies in Cleveland, and the misery of both in Detroit, the only real concern here is the Minnesota Twins.

No, this isn’t rebuilding. This is cutting dead weight after the fact, shedding payroll where possible and being highly afraid of the Nuisance of 10,000 Lakes.

In other words, business as usual. Spring can’t come soon enough.