“We were going to try to rebuild, because we just didn’t feel we could count on the attendance supporting the level we had to get to spend to get better to beat Minnesota. So that’s where we started out,” Reinsdorf said, referring to their 2010 attendance figure — 2,194,378, the lowest since 2004. “But what we didn’t want to do was just lower the payroll, which would have been easy, without doing it in a way that gave us hope for the future. Which meant the players that we were going to have to let go were going to have to bring something back for us as we build for the future.”
Free agents Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski would have yielded two Draft picks after being offered arbitration and signing elsewhere, but even first-round picks never are certainties.
“Then, as we looked at the rest of the players that we could move, without getting into particulars, it didn’t look like we could get enough back, so all we would end up doing was having a worse team with a low payroll,” Reinsdorf said. “We would make money, but we wouldn’t be building for the future.
“I didn’t mind taking a step back, because we’ve done it before, but I didn’t want to take a step back without feeling really good that that step back was going to help us going forward. We just could not see where the players we would have remaining were going to bring us the talent we needed to get better in 2012.
Sounds like no GM would offer good talent for the White Sox players.
Brent Ballantini has more. Here’s Reinsdorf on the Ozzie to the Marlins “trade”:
“There wasn’t going to be a trade,” he said. “The Marlins approached us about wanting to talk to Ozzie. OK. We couldn’t trade Ozzie—he has a contract to manage the White Sox. [If he asked] we could let him out of his contract—I love Ozzie, but if Ozzie didn’t want to be here, I would consider letting him out of his contract. But not for nothing.”
With the understanding that talks would only move forward at a cost, Reinsdorf tapped into his excellent negotiating skills and turned up the heat on South Florida.
“I said to the Marlins, ‘If you want to talk to him, we have to agree on what we get if he decides to leave,’” Reinsdorf said. “We couldn’t agree on that. If we had been able to agree, Ozzie probably still wouldn’t have left. We couldn’t have traded him—and we would have tried to keep him. I would have gone to Ozzie and said, ‘OK, the Marlins want to talk to you and we’ve given them permission to talk to you, but I hope to God you don’t leave.’ It would have been his decision, not our decision.”