White Sox rumors: Jim Thome enlisted to woo Bryce Harper(Keith Allison / Flickr)

White Sox rumors: Jim Thome enlisted to woo Bryce Harper

Plus: Patrick Corbin signs with Washington, the Astros sign a catcher, and more

The reports of the White Sox’ interest in Bryce Harper have advanced beyond twitpics of Michael Jordan’s statue wearing his jersey.

Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reports that the White Sox tapped Jim Thome in hopes of crushing their pitch:

The White Sox, for example, enlisted the help of longtime star and Hall of Famer Jim Thome during their visit to Las Vegas, league sources told Yahoo Sports. They needed to pull out all the stops, with Phillies ownership admitting the potential to spend “stupid” amounts of money this offseason and others recognizing the impact of an in-his-prime power hitter.

This brought the usual snark, gripes and general doubt that ensues when a Jerry Reinsdorf team tries to lure a major free agent. My guess is that the White Sox just needed to show up, and other particulars will matter more from here. Whether it’s Thome or Frank Thomas or Bo Jackson or Jack Parkman, it’s going to come down to money and competence, be it in the form of chances of contending or the creativity of the contract.

* * *  * * *  * * *

Case in point: Patrick Corbin. Expected to sign with his hometown Yankees or the ready-for-action Phillies, the market’s top starter instead landed with the Washington Nationals for six years and $140 million. The Yankees were unwilling to go past five years and $100 million, according to the New York Times.

The Corbin signing, when paired with the acquisitions of Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki, suggests that Mike Rizzo is going about executing his offseason plan without making Harper a priority. Chelsea Janes, the Nationals beat writer for the Washington Post, says that Rizzo doesn’t have the final say on Harper.

It’s hard to count out the Nationals due to their experience with dealing out big contracts, working with Scott Boras, and finding terms even when they seem tapped out. The Yankees, Phillies and Cubs also have more experience swimming in these depths, and that to me is the biggest strike against the Sox. Even if they had a nine-figure albatross in their recent history, at least they’d have shown they can ramp it up and close it out.

Rick Hahn will tell you they’ve offered more guaranteed money than Jose Abreu’s record-setting $68 million — I’m guessing to Torii Hunter and Masahiro Tanaka — but close only counts when Tyler Flowers is catching.

* * *  * * *  * * *

I didn’t include Robinson Chirinos in my summary of available catchers because he seemed too similar to Omar Narvaez — above-average bat, bad glove. He’s now off the market anyway, as the Astros signed him for one year and $5.25 million.

Like the Nationals, the Astros seem to be going with two new catchers after running with the tandem of Brian McCann (Braves) and Martin Maldonado (free agent) last year. Max Stassi provides the receiving value that Chirinos doesn’t.

* * *  * * *  * * *

After watching Miles Mikolas go from pitching in Japan in 2017 to going 18-4 with a 2.83 ERA over 200 innings for the Cardinals in 2018, I wanted to see who else got the idea to plumb the international market for Gaikokojin or Waegukin made good.

The Diamondbacks went there first, signing Merrill Kelly for $5 million over two years. Kelly never made the majors before jumping to South Korea, but he posted a 3.80 ERA over three seasons and 91 starts in the Korean Baseball Organization, which is no small feat given the offensive environment.

I imagine it’s going to be hard to find another Mikolas, but it’s a smart play for a Diamondbacks team that needs to get creative to address the loss of Corbin. I wouldn’t have minded seeing the White Sox take this chance.

6+

112
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
14 Comment threads
98 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
28 Comment authors
GoGoSoxFanXilioxwinninguglyJim Margaluskarkovice squad Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
roke1960
Member

It’s at least refreshing to see the Sox in the mix for Harper. Part of the reason for sending Thome could be that he played for both the Phillies and White Sox, so he can sell the Sox over the Phillies in that respect. The big market advertising possibilities are much better in Chicago than Philly. But if the Cubs, Dodgers and Yankees are involved, that advantage is nullified. I’m guessing he’s going to play in one of the three big markets. Jerry is going to need to get very creative. Boras always ends up dealing with the owner on these mega-contracts. It’s up to Jerry to come through.

Marty34
Member
Marty34

I think the Sox best chance is to give him an opt-out after 3 years. If that happens they are going to have to sacrifice prospects not named Eloy to bolster the starting staff along with signing a FA starter.

roke1960
Member

I think Eloy, Cease and Robert should be untouchable. All of the other prospects should be in play for the right match.

Josh Nelson
Editor

I’m thinking 2-3 opt-outs.

If it’s a 10-year deal, opt-outs after year 3 and year 6.

If it’s a 12-year deal, opt-outs after year 3, year 6, and year 9.

HallofFrank
Member

Do you think they could get a team opt-out in? So if its a 10-year deal, player opt-outs after 3 & 6, but team opt-out after 7. Or is that a non-starter for him?

roke1960
Member

I can’t imagine Boras would go for that. I think Josh’s scenario is right.

Josh Nelson
Editor

No idea. I’ve never negotiated with Scott Boras.

GreatjonHumber
Member
GreatjonHumber

and with that attitude, you never will

Marty34
Member
Marty34

Something like:
3y/$150M opt out
3y/$135M opt out
4y/$160M

A 10y/$445M offer I would think would put the Sox in the mix. Given the length of a deal needed to get Harper I wonder if Sox ownership after Reinsdorf was addressed in their presentation. It would be a legitimate issue for a player the magnitude of Harper.

Trooper Galactus
Member

This is the first set of figures I’ve seen suggested where I would not mind the White Sox taking a pass on Harper for. Good gravy.

GoGoSoxFan
Member
GoGoSoxFan

Amen. You could sign three Patrick Corbins for $445M.

HallofFrank
Member

An opt-out after 3-4 years is fine with me. The big downside with contracts like this is the (not so uncommon) risk of the player declining after 30 and the team being saddled with a debilitating contract. If Harper opts out after 3-4 years, the Sox get his best years and no risk of that happening. I’m sure they could find something to do with $35-40mil. in 2021/2022.

GreatjonHumber
Member
GreatjonHumber

Opt-outs are never good for the team. If the player underperforms the pre-opt-out phase, then the player won’t opt out and we’ll end up saddled with the debillitating contract. If the player overperforms, then the team is worse off than they would be without the opt-out because the player will simply leave instead of the team having an asset to keep or to trade.

HallofFrank
Member

This is not true. It may, in the moment, seem bad for the team, but examples of teams who are glad players opted out of their contracts abound. There’s an example of this on our own team: surely it was good for Orioles that Wellington Castillo opted out of his contract last offseason?

GreatjonHumber
Member
GreatjonHumber

I’m sure you can find examples in retrospect (as you can with any signing), but at the decision point a player will opt out if the remainder of his contract is below market value. If the contract is above market value, the player will opt in. If the contract is below market value, it will cost the team more to replace the player than the value of the existing contract. If the team simply doesn’t want to compete any more and wants to lower payroll (starting a rebuild or whatever) the team would be better off with the tradable asset (a below market contract) than nothing.

HallofFrank
Member

Right, all signings are judged in retrospect. My original point was that there’s a decent chance an opt-out works out in our favor. If you asked me now…Bryce Harper for 10 years or Bryce Harper for 5 years, both at $35mil/year? I think I take the 4-5 years. Even if he mashes in those 4-5 years, I’d guess there’s a less than 50% chance he’s worth $35mil a year age 31-36. Even if he opts-out and still mashes in those years, the Sox still have $35mil to spend elsewhere. 

yinkadoubledare
Member
yinkadoubledare

But that’s not really how it is. Every team would rather have the shorter contract. With opt-outs what you have is all of the downside risk on the team (if he gets worse/underperforms, you’re gonna be on the hook for the whole thing) without the upside of the long term contract, that you have him locked in if it turns out he’s better.

GreatjonHumber
Member
GreatjonHumber

Right but that’s not the choice you have. It’s not up to you if you are stuck with the bad years, it’s up to him!

HallofFrank
Member

Sure, it would be great (from the team’s perspective) if there were team opt-outs all the way down. My only point is: give the man some opt-outs. Worst case? He opts out after 3, which very possibly could also be the best case. Him having opt-outs lessens the chance the team gets saddled with a bad contract. If he doesn’t have opt-outs, the team is stuck either way. 

Marty34
Member
Marty34

When talking about a $400M deal, I don’t think opt outs are a bad thing for the team at all.

yinkadoubledare
Member
yinkadoubledare

The issue is it’s only a $400 million deal if it turns out the guy severely declines. So it’s the big bucks if the contract is already bad at the optout. If he’s good, then he might leave or you end up paying even more than the remaining original contract in order to keep him.

melidoperez
Member
melidoperez

I’ve never understood this idea. Opt outs can lead to disappointment, but independent of that, things probably went well. Greinke went to the Dodgers, pitched 600+ innings of just below CY performance (nearly 6 WAR avg). He went to Arizona. The Dodgers got 3 years of prime without absorbing any of the expensive decline.

If we’re being honest with ourselves about the organization, the opt out is probably a place where the Sox being flexible could really be a positive. Even if Harper liked the idea of being “The Man” on the South Side, he would have the reservations anyone would from the outside (am I going to be playing in front of 10K, will management show commitment to win outside of me). If he came here for 3 years and left, it could suck to watch him leave. But if the team is doing what we hope they are by then, it wouldn’t torpedo the team, and you use that money to help replace him.

Marty34
Member
Marty34

Yep. You’re signing Harper because you think in the next 3 years this rebuild works and you can make the playoffs at least once. If Harper leaves after that so what.

zerobs
Member
zerobs

I don’t like the opt out after 3 years if I’m losing a top 40 draft pick in the deal. I think a better approach is a deal like Abreu’s – give the player a couple chances to opt into arbitration. This gives both sides the protection they want – the player get a few shots an ensuring he is paid market value, and it gives the club a chance to non-tender if they feel like they need to completely change direction. A non-tender isn’t going to hurt his earning power and if he completely sucks he just won’t opt into arbitration. Maybe you give the CLUB one chance to opt into arbitration after the fifth year. Any player risk can be alleviated with a signing bonus or a little front-loading of the contract.

Smclean09
Member
Smclean09

Yeah, the challenge is if they actually would win this thing.

take on Seager’s contract? Could you swing Realmuto or G Sanchez with a LuBob centered trade? Maybe a Evaldi and stop gap. Seems like a bit much just to get into a race for a wild card.

That said, fingers crossed

roke1960
Member

I think Robert is as close to untouchable as they have. He has legitimate 5-tool talent. I wouldn’t trade him for two years of Realmuto.

Smclean09
Member
Smclean09

I think you underestimate how valuable realmuto is. The Marlins certainly wouldn’t make that trade either. As the sox it only makes sense for 2 years if there is an extension or it’s a go for it year this year.

Big fan of Robert but his floor is still cant make enough contact to get to his power and he is a three tool 4th outfielder.

Lurker Laura
Member
Lurker Laura

The Cubs seem like a long shot, what with the need to re-sign Bryant, Baez, Rizzo, et al.

roke1960
Member

I think it comes down to the Sox, Yankees, Phillies and Nats. The reason I put the Nats in there is that Boras has dealt with their owner a lot, but after signing Corbin yesterday, I’m not sure they have the money. The Sox should be able to “out-sell” the Phillies with the benefits of playing in Chicago. And I think the Yanks are more likely to go after Machado. I’m guessing Machado to the Yanks and Harper to the Sox.

Lurker Laura
Member
Lurker Laura

Sox will also have the advantage of offering Harper the benefits of the DH role.

roke1960
Member

Yes, that could be a big plus too. If you look at all the advantages/perks each team can offer, I really believe the Sox have the best package to offer. I think Jerry needs to get Michael Jordan involved. He knows a little about being the biggest fish in Chicago. This would be Bryce Harper’s team, hands down. No competing with Stanton and Judge, or Rizzo and Bryant. Jerry needs to pull out all the stops.

zerobs
Member
zerobs

He kinda would be competing with Rizzo and Bryant for local endorsements. He’d have a good chance of booting Frank Thomas off the Buona beef ads though.

Right Size Wrong Shape
Member
Right Size Wrong Shape

Sending Thome was a brilliant move. Thome’s so nice, Harper is going to come to the Sox just so that he doesn’t hurt big Jim’s feelings.

GreatjonHumber
Member
GreatjonHumber

HEY GUYS ITS JI
JINORMOUS PILE OF CASH

Jason.Wade17
Member

Looking at players the Sox probably offered more than 68 million to, I’d bet they offered over that to Alex Gordon. He eventually signed for 72 million, and I thought I remember he took less to stay in KC.

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

Thome’s probably the Sox’ closest equivalent to Mormon this side of Matt Lindstrom, anyhow.

close only counts when Tyler Flowers is catching.

Not that you’re bitter about it or anything.

Right Size Wrong Shape
Member
Right Size Wrong Shape

They could send Russ Mormon.

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

They could hire the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to sing outside his window!

Hit4cycle
Member
Hit4cycle

Brilliant move sending Thome as Ambassador. 
He walks the walk and talks the talk BH can relate to. 
There is no ‘I’ in Thome.

itaita
Member
itaita

Thank god they did not send Parkman. That guy was an asshole.

yinkadoubledare
Member
yinkadoubledare

But on the upside he makes the ladies from Cleveland puke

Patrick Nolan
Editor

Real talk.

Is signing Bryce Harper to a mega-deal good?

We know the White Sox are going to operate with a budget for the foreseeable future.

Last three seasons:
bWAR: 1.5, 4.7, 1.3
fWAR: 3.0, 4.8, 3.5
WARP: 4.0, 3.6, 3.4

Of course, you have 2015:
bWAR: 10.0
fWAR: 9.3
WARP: 9.7

So you see the upside there, but its upside that he hasn’t come close to touching in the last three seasons. Harper is a very good player, but his recent performance doesn’t scream “$400M GUARANTEE!!!” Do we want $35M – $40M tied up in this guy every year for the next ten years? He’d have to improve significantly on his recent performance to generate noticeable “surplus value” even at the front end of such a deal (not that linear $/WAR is a great way to do this, but you get the idea).

I know you’re probably reading this and saying to yourself, “pnoles, you’re crazy”. Maybe I am. But I could see a Harper signing having excitement value that outstrips building-a-winning-team value. I dunno. I’m looking at that contract that Patrick Corbin just signed (4.6 bWAR / 6.3 fWAR / 5.9 WARP in 2018) and wondering if there’s a better way to use this money.

GreatjonHumber
Member
GreatjonHumber

Sure, sign Machado instead!

Marty34
Member
Marty34

Machado isn’t going to sell tickets.

GoGoSoxFan
Member
GoGoSoxFan

Avi’s looking for a job.

As Cirensica
Member

I will be happy if we sign Harper, but I do believe Machado is a better player. I feel safer saying Machado will produce 5 WAR than saying Harper will produce 5 WAR. Also, Machado just fits in. Right position (3B), and has elite glove. In stretches where Machado’s bat disappears, he has the glove. Harper is just bat (albeit a very good one) at this juncture.

roke1960
Member

You bring up very good points, Patrick. I just think the Sox have to jump start this franchise, and there is no better person to do that than Harper (or Machado). He almost certainly won’t be worth what they sign him to, but it’s a risk they have to take to restore this franchise. I think it’s worth discussing how they can better spend that money. Would adding Pollock, Eovaldi and Grandal be better? They will cost about $50 million per year to add (though of course the terms of their contracts will be much shorter). I think adding Harper (or Machado) and then either Eovaldi or Happ will be a good first step. I still think they can use some of their prospects to add another bat (Haniger, Merrifield?), or just wait till next year to see which prospects would be ready.

zerobs
Member
zerobs

Pollock and Grandal will probably cost draft picks. I don’t think the farm system has enough A-grade prospects to take that risk yet, especially with Kopech out.

roke1960
Member

That’s a very good point. So if we don’t get Harper or Machado, what are the options? I wouldn’t bet on Arenado or Rendon reaching free agency next year.

35Shields
Member
35Shields

Everyone, please say it with me “#40 draft picks suck”.

If we’re not signing free agents because of draft pick comp, then we should bulldoze Comiskey and push the rubble into Lake Michigan

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

No team, I repeat, no team stands to lose more than the Sox for signing a QO player.
We are rebuilding. Just because you don’t want to consider that, does not mean it’s not a consideration.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Name a second round draft pick of the last twenty years for the White Sox you wouldn’t part with to sign a guy like Harper or Machado. Heck, last thirty years.

Right Size Wrong Shape
Member
Right Size Wrong Shape

Wesley Whisler

Trooper Galactus
Member

Because without guys like him, we wouldn’t be able to make comments like this.

35Shields
Member
35Shields

Even if it were true that no team would lose more than the Sox, that doesn’t change the fact that what they’re losing isn’t very much.

The expected value of a ~#40 pick is 2.3 WAR. So should we really pass on signing a good free agent because we’re afraid of missing out on the next Conor Gillaspie?

Trooper Galactus
Member

When you frame it like that, I dunno that I’d want to miss out all those good times we had with Conor.

GoGoSoxFan
Member
GoGoSoxFan

Your patience re the rebuild is admirable, lj. I’m with you about 99%. The one percent I disagree on is the signing of Yasmani Grandal. His situation is unique in that signing him makes Castillo a valuable trade chip to a team that lost out on the “Grandal Sweepsteaks”. Trading him would, at a minimum, recover the draft pick forfeited by signing Grandal.

HallofFrank
Member

Since our first pick is protected, that these guys cost draft picks are, in my view, all the more reason to go after them. It drives down the cost. I’m fine giving up a 2nd and 3rd round pick for Grandal and Pollock, especially if it makes them cheaper. 

zerobs
Member
zerobs

I agree with you but he’s probably the closest guarantee to putting asses in the seats the first few years even if he never gets to 4WAR ever again. That’s why I would think a smaller revenue team would be happy to offer 400 million if they had some ability to walk away after 250 million is spent if the shine wears off.

He probably won’t have to take that kind of offer, which is why I think he winds up in Atlanta. They have the payroll room, they have a fan base that will pay through the nose as long as the team is getting press coverage. After the shine wears off and they have to trade him along with $150 million, the fans will just go back to their indifference instead of calling for someone’s head on a platter (and the corporate ownership is fairly anonymous so only the VP/BBOPS will feel any wrath) and the team will go back to making profits with a $60 million payroll for 5 years again.

Can you imagine the shine wearing off in Philly?

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

This is part of what I meant when I said I preferred Machado on consistency grounds. Harper’s got that ridiculous 2015 peak but you’re paying him like that’s the baseline not the outlier.

Machado will get a not-as-ridiculous ridiculous contract because he doesn’t have that possibly never-to-be-seen-again peak. And I like that there’s more margin for him to move down the defensive spectrum.

Ultimately the Sox are going to have to make a big dollar commitment to a top tier talent. Whether that’s in this class or the next. And they’ll have to plan around the risk, including spending past it if needs be.

As Cirensica
Member

Let’s talk about Harper immense power!

Harper HRs:
2015 => 42
2016 => 24
2017 => 29
2018 => 34

Ave = 32.25
1 homer every 19 PAs

Machado HRs:
2015 => 35
2016 => 37
2017 => 33
2018 => 37

Ave = 35.50
1 homer every 19 PAs

I thought Harper was a better hitter than Machado, but I am not so sure anymore

roke1960
Member

I think Machado is the better player also, but I think he will be harder to get than Harper. I think Machado is above Harper on both the Yankees and Phillies list. The one advantage I think Harper brings is that legitimate left-handed bat in the middle of the order that we haven’t had since Thome. I’d prefer Machado, but I’d gladly take either one.

As Cirensica
Member

We have the budget to offer Machado loads of money to at least make the Yankees and Phillies go well into the tax penalty zone if they want to outbid us.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Let’s just avoid this argument altogether and sign both. Easy.

fustercluck
Member
fustercluck

His 2017 was shortened by a knee injury, so he put up those numbers in 111 games. He might have been worth 7 WAR that year if healthy. Maybe he’ll even be that good again after the injury.

He probably won’t end up earning his mega contract, but I wouldn’t mind a little buyer’s remorse. Luckily, as White Sox fans we won’t have to worry about that.

Lurker Laura
Member
Lurker Laura

I think I’m on record (somewhere around here) saying that both Machado’s and Harper’s contracts are going to be seen as albatrosses, and relatively soon, wherever they go. Harper too likely to be injured, Machado too likely to get lazy and out-of-shape. (Although I think the former has more likelihood than the latter.)

That being said, I’d still be a little excited to get either. This franchise is boring, so let’s waste some money!

Josh Nelson
Editor

Before the season started, Dan Szymborski on ESPN (Link) wrote about what ZiPS was projecting contracts to be for this offseason, and it had 8 years for $258 million, or $32.25 AAV. If you would like to use $9M / WAR, Harper would have to be worth 28.7 WAR during that contract length to be worth the money, or avg. 3.6 WAR each season. Based on your look at Harper’s past three years of production, that seems attainable. Steamer is projecting that Harper will have a 4.9 WAR season in 2019.

According to Spotrac, Mike Trout will make $34 million in 2019. Is Bryce Harper as good as Mike Trout? Obviously, no, because no one in MLB is as good as Trout.

Second for outfielders in salary is Yoenis Cespedes at $29 million. Is Harper better than Cespedes? I say yes.

So when ZiPS projects a $32.25 M AAV for Harper, I think that is pretty spot on because it falls short of Trout but the better player (Harper) would earn more than the second highest paid OF in 2019. The only way Harper gets to “$400 MILLION GUARANTEE” is if he signs for 12+ years.

And he might, because he’s Bryce Harper, one of the game’s most recognizable stars. He has the largest MLB endorsement with Under Armour. Spokesperson for Gatorade, New Era, and T-Mobile. I’m sure Scott Boras is calculating how much revenue that exposure would generate with Harper donning your team’s uniform in marketing visuals, and adding that to the asking price. This exposure cost will be a factor.

Just like Patrick Corbin’s signing, someone is going to go the extra mile in winning Bryce Harper’s services. That mile is going to be the amount of years a team will commit to him for, and while 8 years seems like a worthy investment, it wouldn’t surprise me if the winning bid is 12 years. At $32.25 M AAV, that’s $387 million over that term.

To answer your question if signing Harper would help build a winning team – if the White Sox sign any outfielder that can produce better than 1 WAR that’s already a boost from what they had. So yes, signing Harper would help build a winner.

roke1960
Member

Thanks Josh and pnoles for those analyses on Harper’s value. I’m from the old school where we didn’t have WAR and ZIPS and all the new stats that have really helped define a player’s value. I just know that the Sox need a transfusion of new blood into this organization. They are so unimportant in the baseball world now. Adding Harper or Machado will definitely change that perception. Neither will probably be worth the contract they sign, but if it means going to 12 years to get either one, then I’m all for it. There needs to be a buzz around this franchise, and even though we have Eloy and Kopech and Cease on the horizon, none of them will instantly cause the excitement level to jump like a signing of one of the big boys will. This will lead to increased ticket sales, uniform sales, etc. etc. etc. It’s time for the Sox to be relevant again. Come on Jerry, make it happen!!

Josh Nelson
Editor

I think Harper is for sure worth a 8-year contract. A team might get surplus value from a 10-year deal, but 12-years is where I’m a bit iffy with, yet that’s where I forsee the Philadelphia Phillies going.

If 12 years is too long of a commitment, I’d understand why the White Sox walk away from Harper and concentrate efforts on Manny Machado.

Patrick Nolan
Editor

You lost me at the last paragraph. I’m not arguing whether having Harper would increase the Sox’ projected wins (i.e. produce better than 1 WAR). I’m arguing whether his payroll hit is worth the use of the Sox’ limited resources.

Harper might get an AAV of $35M. Let’s say the Sox have $45M to spend. Would you rather use that $45M to sign Corbin + Grandal (which I understand is a moot point after yesterday), or Harper + lower-tier guys? It’s a resource efficiency problem — how to get the most wins for a fixed dollar amount. Harper certainly helps build a winning team relative to not spending at all, but I’m taking the latter option off the table here.

roke1960
Member

Now that Corbin is off the board, what do you think is the best way to spend $45-50 million?

zerobs
Member
zerobs

Bank it and spend 90 million next year.

Josh Nelson
Editor

Based on the Steamer projections, I’d agree with you.
Harper ($35 M) + Lance Lynn ($10 M) = 6.4 WAR projection
Corbin ($23 M – signed) + Grandal ($18 M) = 7.0 WAR projection

While looking at what is remaining, best combination of two players for the White Sox spending $45 million would be Manny Machado and JA Happ (combined 8.4 WAR projection).

roke1960
Member

Right now we have to fill 3rd base, right field, center field and possibly catcher and DH, plus at least another starter. If they sign Machado and Happ, I could see them bringing Avi back, and use Engel/Leury in center. That would leave a back up catcher and right handed DH left to fill. Right now their salary commitments are around $60 million (including the arb estimates). I’d like to see them get up to about $120 million. That would leave $60 million and allow them to add another mid/upper-tier signing to go along with Machado/Happ.

zerobs
Member
zerobs

Those were the two names I’d been eyeing the last few weeks. The problem is the Sox would still need to add about 10 more WAR to be competitive. As a fan you hope most of that remaining 10 war comes from your young players, but if you miss out on Machado and Happ you’re going to need to add about 20-22 war to compete. In all likelihood it’s going to take two years to add that much. So yeah, go after Machado and Harper, get a couple of short-term reliable arms, but stay far away from good-but-declining consolation prizes like Pollock, McCutchen, etc. just because money is burning a hole in your pocket.

35Shields
Member
35Shields

The thing that’s absolutely nuts about Grandal is that he’d be a steal at $18m AAV even if we didn’t count his best skill.

Steamer projects Grandal to be the 3rd-best free agent on the market (in terms of 2019 production) and Steamer just assumes he’ll be roughly an average defensive catcher.

It’s already been said, but there is absolutely no better value signing out there than Grandal. Period. End of Sentence.

Patrick Nolan
Editor

Steamer doesn’t take into account Grandal’s framing, and the latter pair doesn’t require committing to someone through 2028+ or whatever.

melidoperez
Member
melidoperez

Tough to envision a scenario where that could be in any way realistic. “Bryce, we’re signing you to the richest contract in the history of professional sports. Not only that, we’ve set aside a whole ten million dollars to build around you. Should we get the paperwork ready?”

We’re all guessing at this stuff of course, but IMO this would have to be one of those move flanked by another 2-3 guys that matter.

roke1960
Member

Right. That’s why if they sign Harper or Machado, they will have to push the payroll up to $120-125 million and add a few more guys.

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

Let’s say the Sox have $45M to spend.

Let’s say that’s an arbitrary figure and if they really only have $45m AAV to spend then I want to know how much they still have tied up in investments recommended by the Wilpons and Madoff.

Patrick Nolan
Editor

It was a hypothetical number for a thought exercise. If we think we can sign Bryce, cover our future arb raises, and sign a couple other fairly big deals in the next couple years, then sure, why not?

yinkadoubledare
Member
yinkadoubledare

I’d rather have Machado too (as I think most teams would?). I’d feel considerably better about Harper than I do now if we had That Ol’ Herm Magic we used to.

Marty34
Member
Marty34

Desperate times call for desperate measures. There’s a very high probability that a Harper signing for the Sox will turn out badly. It’s an attempt at a quick fix that given that given their financial flexibility makes sense.

Josh Nelson
Editor

Next big move in the works. Teams are not waiting for the Winter Meetings to start.

roke1960
Member

That takes the Cards out of the Harper/Machado sweepstakes.

roke1960
Member

Dbacks got Carson Kelly and Luke Weaver. Not bad for one year of Goldschmidt.

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

Reasonable rather than amazing. It’s why 2 years of Realmuto shouldn’t gut anyone’s farm and the Marlins should have found a buyer for him no later than the deadline if they really wanted a premium return.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Two years of an All-Star catcher is a much bigger deal than one year of an All-Star first baseman. While Goldschmidt’s value is quite singular, it is a lot easier to find some sort of approximation at the position than it is to find a near equivalent to Realmuto.

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

There’s a near equivalent to Realmuto available in free agency. Catchers fetch less of a premium than multidimensional first basemen. And 2 years of an arb eligible player is only slightly more than twice as valuable as the exercised option year of a team-friendly extension.

The Diamondbacks probably got less than $30m in surplus value (after accounting for Kelly’s service time). ~$60m in prospects for Realmuto is fair.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Having a guy like Grandal available on the market is the exception, not the norm. There are constantly useful 1B around.

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

Please. Goldschmidt isn’t merely useful. He’s one of the premier talents at the position. As Grandal and Realmuto are at catcher.

Go refresh yourself on what “useful” 1B like Hosmer and Davis collected in free agency compared to Martin, McCann, Cervelli, Castro, and Lucroy.

If you want the exception, it’s what Mauer got paid.

lil jimmy
Member
lil jimmy

so for sure Zack Greinke will be traded. They say they won’t eat salary. What’s it take?

karkovice squad
Member
karkovice squad

Do Tatis, Jr. and Erik Johnson have any siblings?

jorgefabregas
Member

I don’t think it takes the Cards out of anything other than the first base market. Goldy only has one year left.

yolmers gatorade
Member

The more players that come off the board, the more it looks like the Sox aren’t going to be serious contenders in 2019. They are not just a Machado or Harper away from the Indians. They need a couple more players in addition to a big star. They should have signed someone by now to show they are serious. They don’t seem to be in the conversations now for Eovaldi, Happ, Keuchel, or Pollack, which will hurt their chances with Machado and Harper. Even if they over pay for someone like Happ or Keuchel right now, it’ll keep them looking for respectable. But I can see them spending to get some veterans on one year deal and hoping the youngsters take a big step forward.

Xiliox
Member
Xiliox

No disrespect to Jim Thome, but what could he possibly say to Bryce Harper that would help sway him here? What a great place to hit your 500th?

If I was Jerry my desperation pass would be to send MJ to meet with Harper, and have him take along a 1984 Bulls team photo. Harper would look at that and say “who are these guys?!” to which his airness would say “exactly”. Then show him a 1987 team photo, then 1991, then 1997.  “C’mon, Bryce, be like Mike”! 

winningugly
Member

I’ve not logged in since the end of the season, I bet. And what do I see upon the first reading? A Tyler Flowers pitch framing reference.

We need some new old players to talk about.

GoGoSoxFan
Member
GoGoSoxFan

We need some new old commenters to talk about them too.