Two years ago, the White Sox were on the verge of clinching the AL Central and beginning their World Series run.
Now they are six days from saying so long to a few more of their erstwhile heroes and rebuilding for 2008.
"It's going to be a long winter for us, especially for (general manager) Kenny (Williams),'' Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said back in mid-September.
Without a doubt, Williams has to make some big changes on a team that has gone 101-129 since the 2006 all-star break.
As the White Sox get ready to wrap up the 2007 season with six home games, here's a look at five players most likely to be wearing different uniforms next year.
When he's healthy, there aren't many leadoff hitters in either league who can match Podsednik.
Trouble is, the 31-year-old left fielder spent much of the season on the disabled list and has been injury-prone throughout his career.
The Sox gambled on Podsednik this year, giving him a $2.9 million contract.
Now, it's almost certain Josh Fields will be patrolling left field for the Sox in 2008.
Another key player from 2005 appears to be nearing the end of his stay on the South Side.
The 28-year-old shortstop has good power numbers (20 home runs, 65 RBI), but his batting average (.230) and on-base percentage (.281) are too low to ignore.
The free-agent market for shortstops is going to be thin, but the St. Louis Cardinals' David Eckstein would be an upgrade over Uribe and the $5 million club option he has for next year.
If the White Sox go the trade route, Baltimore's Miguel Tejada, Atlanta's Edgar Renteria and Pittsburgh's Jack Wilson are options.
Jon Garland/Jose Contreras
One of the Sox' veteran starters figures to be moved this winter.
Garland is signed through next season ($12 million in 2008), and he has the most value. There were multiple rumors the right-hander was nearly sent to Atlanta at the July 31 trade deadline for Renteria.
Contreras is owed $10 million in each of the next two seasons, and the White Sox likely would have to agree to pick up some of that money before a trade could be made.
Yes, he has an above-average arm, but the 30-year-old relief pitcher has been a huge disappointment since coming over from the Kansas City Royals in a 2006 trade.
Like much of the Sox' bullpen this season, MacDougal's inability to throw strikes has been the biggest problem.
The right-hander is signed through 2009, so Williams is going to have difficulty finding a trade partner.
He has been a complete bust coming off the bench, and the 28-year-old infielder is likely to be released if the White Sox can't trade him this winter. Cintron is signed through next season.
White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field
TV: Comcast SportsNet today and Thursday; Channel 26 Wednesday
Radio: WSCR 670-AM
Pitching matchups: The White Sox' Jose Contreras (10-16) vs. Brian Bannister (12-9) today; Jon Garland (9-13) vs. Zack Greinke (7-6) Wednesday; Lance Broadway (0-1) vs. Billy Buckner (1-1) Thursday. All games at 7:11 p.m.
At a glance: The Sox open their final homestand of the season with another showdown for last place in the AL Central with the Royals. Last week, the two clubs split a four-game series at Kansas City. Sox rookie Josh Fields was named AL player of the week Monday after batting .524 with 3 home runs and 6 RBI. With Mark Buehrle shutting it down for the season, Broadway makes his first major-league start Thursday.
Next: Detroit Tigers, Friday-Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field
-- Scot Gregor