White Sox rumors: There could be a lot of them

White Sox rumors: There could be a lot of them

Financial flexibility makes them a contender for big-name free agents, and agents will use them as such

Ken Rosenthal uncorked rumor season for the White Sox on Monday, and he didn’t back off the Manny Machado trail after sleeping on it a little.

In fact, he expounded upon the notion. After giving it part of a paragraph on his first column, he devoted a whole section to it this morning, saying the upcoming TV negotiations could be the way to justify a spending spree:

For one thing, the White Sox are coming off their sixth straight losing season, and second straight with 95 or more defeats. They have minimal contractual commitments in 2019 and beyond. And they are due to sign a new local TV contract, the kind that often prompts clubs to spend more freely.

The partnership between the White Sox, Cubs, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks with NBC Sports Chicago includes only one more guaranteed year, sources told The Athletic. The White Sox then expect to enter into a joint venture with the Bulls and Blackhawks, be it with NBC Sports Chicago, a different media distribution partner or perhaps even a private equity firm.

It makes a fair amount of sense. While the splurge usually comes after the TV deal, the White Sox are far below their historical payroll commitments, and they’d probably want to stoke some interest in the product, given that the White Sox had the league’s worst TV ratings last year. (A partnership with the Bulls and Blackhawks doesn’t sound all that enticing at the moment, especially with the Hawks firing Joel Quenneville this morning.)

One way or another, it’s in the White Sox’ interest to establish an upswing this season. It shouldn’t be hard — throw Eloy Jimenez with Yoan Moncada, Reynaldo Lopez and (hopefully) Lucas Giolito going into their second full seasons, and maybe that’s enough to get to 70+ wins without any drastic changes. But with Jose Abreu hitting free agency after next season and Avisail Garcia potentially earlier, they’ll have payroll space for an in-his-prime centerpiece.

Hell, Jon Morosi of MLB.com went beyond Rosenthal:

After the Phillies, the White Sox are perhaps the best candidate to pursue both Machado and Harper — although there’s no guarantee they will land either. At present, the White Sox have the second-lowest payroll commitment of any MLB team for 2019. With Jose Abreu entering his final season before free agency, the White Sox need a new face of the franchise. Chicago’s affinity for Machado is well-established, as it pursued him via the trade market last offseason.

I’m guessing you’ll hear the White Sox involved in a lot of rumor mills, regardless of whether they’re actually interested.  There’s just so much money available.

* * *  * * *  * * *

A couple more items:

*The Baseball Hall of Fame released its 10-player Today’s Game Era ballot, which gives former Sox like Harold Baines and Albert Belle a second chance at induction after falling off the ballot. I wouldn’t count either as likely, but they stand out on a pretty weak ballot. George Steinbrenner is the only one who really rises above the rest, but he also has tons of baggage.

*For those offseason planners who had Sonny Gray on their rosters, Brian Cashman made it pretty clear he’s available:

“We are going to move him if we get the right deal because I don’t think it is going to work out in The Bronx,” Cashman told me Monday at the GM Meetings. “I don’t feel like we can go through the same exercise and expect different results.”

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KenWo4LiFe
Member

Harold Baines is Tony LaRussa’s guy. I hope tony calls in every favor he has to get this done. Jon Heyman even said Harold is deserving on MLB Network! This may be the year! Come on Harold!

Also, convert on these god damn free agents for once let’s fucking gooooooo

asinwreck
Member

Coaching the same NHL team for a decade is a remarkable achievement. I suspect Quennville’s firing is not the last major change for the Blackhawks this season.

Lurker Laura
Member
Lurker Laura

I love that I first heard about this on a White Sox blog. Of course, I’ve been following election stuff this morning, not sports, so.

asinwreck
Member

Trying to avoid that news until dusk, aside from being able to report my precinct was absolutely packed at 8:30 this morning.

Ted Mulvey
Editor

Same here. Typically I’m between voter 5-10 in my ward, and I was 65th today, 15 minutes after polls opened.

Josh Nelson
Editor

I’m going to be paying very close attention to your ward, Ted.

Ted Mulvey
Editor

We’re the best ward in Oshkosh! Seriously, though, I’ll be curious to see what the final tally is. My wife voted about a half hour later and was in the 200s. The poll workers were evidently saying they didn’t usually reach those numbers until mid-afternoon.

Lurker Laura
Member
Lurker Laura

I always go late morning to avoid whatever line there is. It will be interesting to see what it will be today.

ParisSox
Member

Let us know what your experience is.  I’m very curious.  

Lurker Laura
Member
Lurker Laura

No line at noon at my polling place. But I’m in a district/ward that has no real contested races, so I’m not sure that’s indicative of anything. 

Josh Nelson
Editor

I always show up when the doors open at 6 am. I was 15th in line and by the time I finished with my ballot the line was out the front door.

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

I highly recommend vote by mail. It’s breathtaking.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Worked until 1 am, slept until 7:30, went to training for a couple hours, then hit my polling place after around 11:30. Plenty of people, but no line. Was similar experience in 2016.

Buehrlesque
Member

Has a GM ever been so open about wanting to trade one of his players the way Cashman has with Gray? Wait.. going to answer my own question: KW with Jon Rauch. Still, this feels pretty brazen for Cashman.

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

Cashman’s comments won’t improve his value, that’s for sure. I believe Gray will be in Chicago shortly.

Buehrlesque
Member

That’s what’s odd about it for me. Cashman is typically so measured and reserved in these situations. Why would he go out of his way to diminish his player’s value? (Granted, it’s low to begin with.) Does he think going public will incite more teams’ interest and ultimately improve his return?

Josh Nelson
Editor

Maybe not GM, but I remember the Padres owner not being happy with James Shields.

https://deadspin.com/padres-chairman-shits-all-over-his-own-players-1780070315

Trooper Galactus
Member

Yeah, poor guy had to settle for some nobody prospect as a result.

yinkadoubledare
Member
yinkadoubledare

A favorite comment on Harold, and I forget who called him this, was I think in his age 40 season and he was killing the ball in Baltimore, and someone referred to him as “The Dick Clark of DH”

Otter
Member

The White Sox haven’t made a good baseball move in a half decade, just saw their star pitcher win the WS with another team, have struggled to developed players, & have fallen into 5th place in the Chicago sports scene… this strikes me more of “HEY LOOK AT US” than actual smoke.

Otter
Member

[deleted]

Double_Dog
Member
Double_Dog

Typically “good baseball move”s take about five years to really play out…let’s compare Adam Eaton in three years against Giolito, Lopez, and Dunning. Or, 2022 Quintana vs Eloy and Cease.
I agree that there might not be legitimate smoke here, and in truth, who’s to say locking up these two guys for well over half a billion dollars will even be worth it?

Eagle Bones
Member

Trying not to let myself get too excited based on some random high-level rumors… but it is nice to at least hear that there seems to be thinking in the industry that they’re going to spend.

armchairGM
Member

rumors are fun.

screw it, sign both harper and machado. and low ball trades for sonny gray and kyle seager. in all seriousness, i would love it if the white sox went guns blazing in free agency

Marty34
Member
Marty34

How would partnering with a private equity firm for their new TV deal work, you suppose?

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

Something like Toys R Us or Sears would be my guess.

billyok
Member
billyok

TODAY I LEARNED THAT A HISTORY OF WINNING GAMES IS A BAD WAY TO KEEP GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT AS A SPORTS COACH IN FUCKING CHICAGO

ParisSox
Member

Winning coaches can’t possibly understand the lessons learned from losing. And isn’t that what is truly important?