It's not quite a radical reconstruction, but the 2014 White Sox are partially rebuilt. Rick Hahn didn't burn down the house. But he did remodel the kitchen, re-do a couple of bathrooms, and added a deck.
The early numbers from the projection systems suggest a modest improvement. But compared to the Polar Vortex that was 2013, a modest improvement could be seen as a tremendous success.
ZiPS suggests Jose Abreu will be the best hitter on the team. That's nice to see that he will be worth the money (in a virtual sense), but Abreu has yet to see major league pitching. The cornerstone of the "new" White Sox is a big question mark.
73 wins would not be surprising.
79 wins would be great.
81 wins would be spectacular.
Anything beyond 82 wins, including contention, is House Money.
Rick Hahn is in the same position as his predecessor Roland Hemond in 1971. Hemond had to rebuild a White Sox team that lost a franchise-worst 105 games in 1970. After some major off-season surgery, the 1971 Sox finished 79-83. Yes, it was a losing season. But it was a considerable improvement over 1970.
Hahn has already won the war of perception. He's getting rave reviews for what he has done (so far) to rebuild the White Sox. If the team improves - he has successfully completed Step Two.
Step Three is continued improvement.
Step Four is a playoff appearance.
Most teams that are "rebuilding" never hit Step Two.
Case in point - the Kansas City Royals. Dayton Moore was as General Manager on June 8, 2006. His job was to rebuild a Royals team that had been an afterthought for two decades.
It took seven years, but the Royals finally reached Step Two in 2013. Step Three and Four are possible in 2014.
Dave Dombrowski took over the Detroit Tigers in 2002. The following year, the Tigers lost 119 games. Detroit "only" went 72-90 in 2004, which was a considerable improvement. Three years later, they were in the World Series.
2013 was "a bottom," as they say in the addiction and recovery community. The off-season has been very encouraging.
What is your definition of success? What would you like to see in 2014?
What is a "good" record? What would you like to see out of Abreu, Garcia, Davidson, Semien, and Eaton?
Have you given up on Beckham and Viciedo?
Are you still holding out hope that Hahn finds a catcher before the Sox head to Glendale?
Under normal circumstances, the standard for success is a simple one: playoffs.
Chances are, that's not happening this year.
That means we have to take our victories where we can. What would make 2014 a success in your eyes?