Manny Machado wraps up his free agent tour, so now what?(Brian Schwenk / Flickr)

Manny Machado wraps up his free agent tour, so now what?

Note: Tonight’s the night for the Sox Machine holiday meetup with Section 108 at Lo Rez Brewing at 2101 S. Carpenter St. in Pilsen. It starts at 6 p.m., and remember to bring your previously loved or barely tolerated White Sox wares to regift in a White (Sox) Elephant exchange. I hope to see you there. (I also hope to see me there, which I will barring hideous delays at Midway.)

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Since baseball’s courtship of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper has taken on the respectful distance and pacing of Victorian times, it’s given White Sox fans plenty of time to debate which player they’d rather acquire. As far as I’m concerned, BeefLoaf said it best:

Over at The Athletic, Eno Sarris framed the question in terms of which player would age better. He examined a number of metrics that have varying sensitivity to aging, grouped into four areas:

  • Plate discipline
  • Athleticism
  • Defense
  • Coaching (ability to get extra value)

The conclusion:

So, when it comes to plate discipline and athleticism, maybe Harper has an edge. When it comes to defense and possible adjustment-based upside, it looks like Machado has an edge. How you value each of these things now matters. Personally, if I was choosing between the two, I’d take Harper’s two birds in hand over the idea that I could unlock more from Machado defensively and offensively in the future. We’re trying to figure out the future either way, but I prefer disciplined hitters and history does as well.

As far as the White Sox are concerned, though, BeefLoaf is still right.

* * *   * * *   * * *

Unlike his visits with the White Sox and Yankees, Machado’s visit with the Phillies included a little bit of media and fan availability, albeit unscheduled and involuntary. Machado’s quotes weren’t enlightening, but Philly’s pitch had this going for it:

With Machado’s tour seemingly complete, attempting to read tea leaves, while fun, is nothing more than guessing. For instance, Joel Sherman of the New York Post has his read on the situation, saying if the Yankees were willing to truly flex their financial might, Machado would’ve signed by now.

But the sense is the Yankees are a split camp in how much to offer Machado, and if they even should go down this path at all or save for when an area of greater need arises. The Phillies, for near certainty, and possibly even the White Sox are poised to outbid the Yanks.

Perhaps the most fascinating individual subplot in this three-horse race is unfurling at Citizens Bank Park, where both Sherman and Ken Rosenthal have wondered whether Phillies principal owner John Middleton’s mouth wrote a check his front office can’t or won’t cash.

If you missed it, Middleton told Bob Nightengale that he expected to spend money this winter, “and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it.”

The Phillies have met the first part of Middleton’s mandate, signing Andrew McCutchen and trading for Jean Segura. But “a little bit stupid” meant going all-out for Machado and Harper, and apparently they’ve been measured enough in their words and action since to invite doubt.

Rosenthal is having none of it:

The Phillies can hem and haw about all of the other ways they can improve, but they were pointing toward this moment long before Middleton’s comments, preparing to finish off their rebuilding effort by unleashing their financial might on a deep free-agent class. Whether it was Harper or Machado, Machado or Harper, virtually the entire industry – not to mention the entire city of Philadelphia – assumed the Phils were ready to go big. […]

I can hear the Phillies’ brass already if they blow it with Machado and Harper, calling for patience, whispering about the possibility of signing third baseman Nolan Arenado in free agency next offseason or south Jersey native Mike Trout the offseason after that. Well, Arenado and Trout would be older than 26 if they hit the open market – a significant if, considering both might sign extensions. And if the Phillies cannot close on Machado or Harper, why should anyone expect them to close on any big free agent in the future?

* * *   * * *   * * *

Free agent news:

*The Rockies signed Daniel Murphy for two years and $24 million. Murphy is expected to play first base, so you can probably cross Colorado off the list of teams that might be interested in Jose Abreu, although that requires the assumption that the White Sox have an interest in moving Abreu.

*Joakim Soria signed with the Oakland Athletics for two years and $15 million.

*Anibal Sanchez signed a two-year, $19 million deal with the Washington Natonals.

*The Angels took two starters off the board, signing both Matt Harvey (one year, $11 million) and Trevor Cahill (one year, $9 million).

*Andrew Miller is nearing an agreement with the St. Louis Cardinals.

*Clayton Richard was designated for assignment by the Padres, who will be on the hook for his $3 million salary unless they find a taker. Richard’s value is working quickly and taking lumps for bad teams, but he fits if the White Sox are truly interested in acquiring former draft picks and slowing down the running game.

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Jer-in-Az
Member

Nothing says come to Philly like a locked door.  Hopefully they smoothed that over with a complimentary set of kitten mittens.

jorgefabregas
Member

It’s hard for me to imagine that there are really only three serious suitors for Machado.

dansomeone
Member

Yeah, it seems like an argument could be made for the Angels, Red Sox, Mets, Brewers, Giants, and Dodgers, to name a few big spenders/contenders for whom Machado would be an upgrade.

As Cirensica
Member

I agree…yet…Baseball has changed. Half the baseball teams are doing this new thing called “tanking”.

zerobs
Member

Rosenthal’s comment applies to the White Sox as well, although the Phillies did start their rebuild earlier.
I remember when Adam Dunn was a disciplined hitter. Then he came to the Sox where he was still disciplined but couldn’t hit. Also see Adam LaRoche. Or Chris Davis. History does not necessarily prefer disciplined hitters who strike out over 150 times a year.

dansomeone
Member

Not sure that Dunn, LaRoche and Davis are fair comparisons for Harper.

NDSox12
Member

Pretty much the only things they have in common is that they are all left-handed hitters who play/played for teams in the Mid-Atlantic.

Sophist
Member

some of them should have been cast into the middle of the Atlantic.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Of course, part of the reason the Phillies took so many years to rebuild is they held on to most of their talent past the point they had significant value on the trade market. The White Sox tore it down with elite players at the height of their value, so they really shouldn’t be considered all that far behind the Phils.

Willardmarshall
Member

I haven’t followed Richard’s postSox career, but didn’t he have a problem with fielding and throwing?

lil jimmy
Member

Richard’s value is a great beaming smile as I recall.

yinkadoubledare
Member

Profar traded to the A’s in a 3-team deal otherwise involving minor leaguers, draft picks and intl slot money

Josh Nelson
Editor

Watch Profar become an All-Star in Oakland

Sophist
Member

Rick Hahn on the outside, looking in on a three-way.

Eagle Bones
Member

Wow, love this deal for oakland

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

Why trade for a 3rd baseman when you have Yolmer Sanchez?

dwjm3
Member

Manny in Philadelphia your contract is worth 50 bucks

ForsterFTOG
Member

“This is a Rochefoucauld…”

As Cirensica
Member

Larochefoucauld

Sophist
Member

the pendulum will swing back this way.

35Shields
Member

If this year’s offseason is seeming even more lethargic than usual, that’s because it is.

asinwreck
Member

Safe travels to Jim and all of you traveling this week. Have fun at tonight’s meetup.

GrinnellSteve
Member

Unrelated to Manny or Bryce or anything else, but…

Iowa’s a provincial place. They love to report on Iowans getting noticed. Today the Des Moines Register had an article about Aquaman and Superman being teammates on the Norwalk High soccer team. Norwalk is a small suburb of Des Moines. 15,000? It’s in our conference. Chris Comito is from Norwalk, as is Blue Jays farmhand Matt Dermody. But neither of them are superheroes.

Now back to pining for $300M Christmas presents.

35Shields
Member

Every time I visit, my Grandfather complains that the Register keeps reducing the number of pages in its paper. He likes to read the crop reports and the high school football reporting.

johnnyg83
Member

and the comics

GrinnellSteve
Member

The Register is a pathetic shell of its former self. Print media everywhere is hurting, but it’s like they’re not even trying any more. Your grandpa is a wise man.

MadManx
Member

Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp expected to be part of trade from #Dodgers to #Reds for Homer Bailey, prospects and possibly int’l bonus slots, sources tell The Athletic. Bailey has waived his 10-and-5 rights to approve deal. Multiple major-league pieces involved, as @JeffPassan said.

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 21, 2018

MadManx
Member

Dodgers clear money for Harper

Lurker Laura
Member

And outfielders

jorgefabregas
Member

It will be interesting to see what money changes hands in the deal. Bailey makes a bit more than Kemp per year and is still under contract for next year. So it lowers the Dodgers’ overall commitments for this year, but increases them in aggregate. Similar move to when they acquired Kemp last off-season.

Edit: actually I’m wrong. His salary in 2020 is a mutual option and the buyout is only $5 million and that gets averaged over the length of his contract for luxury tax purposes, so very little 2020 impact for the Dodgers.

jorgefabregas
Member

$7 million going to the Reds in the deal.

GrinnellSteve
Member

Now I’m scared.

Lurker Laura
Member

Don’t be. It’s only going to turn out how it was always going to turn out – Harper to LA, Machado to NY. We should all just be sad that we wasted our time hoping otherwise.

jose robcada
Member

And supposedly they are just gonna eat of 25m on bailey and release him… they don’t do this if their was even 10% chance they don’t get him… the dream is over

MrStealYoBase
Member

The only hope to hold on to is that they sign Pollock instead.

But… goddammit!

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

With his injuries Pollock made a lot more sense as a compliment to adding an all star, not a guy you bring in as your big money addition 

knoxfire30
Member

All hope is lost, what a freaking disaster. Sox had two months to strike and sat back hoping they could low ball a generational talent. What a total god damn disaster, what are the odds they beat the yanks or phils in a bidding war on manny now?

Marty34
Member

This was the free agent year they’ve pointed to since the Sale trade. What good is Hahn if he can’t put together a contract to attract a premium free-agent? Contracts are his thing, we know it isn’t talent evaluation.

egib52
Member

At this point we don’t know what the contract offers were. It is entirely possible he significantly over bid the Yankees and Dodgers, but the players just didn’t want to come.

Marty34
Member

That’s the second part of the equation. Nobody (players, media, fans) think this is a capable ownership/front office.

dongutteridge
Member

McCann replaced Narváez
Nova replaced Shields
Colome replaced Soria
Eloy replaces Avi
Yonder is here, why? IDK

It’s the same team as last year.

Merry Christmas 

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

But they bring so much leadership to the team…

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

This

Trooper Galactus
Member

If elite players don’t want to come here, money be damned, that’s arguably at least partly on the front office.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

True, but it’s also his job to make this team attractive for FA’s. He and a Kenny bombed at this over and over again over the last 18 years. Right now his legacy is a 419-553 record and being the guy that traded Chris Sale.

jose robcada
Member

This has nothing to do with Hahn, our pitch was ya we lost 100 games but we will be really good in 2 years cuz our system is super deep… dodgers pitch was we have been 2 World Series last 2 years in a row, you get to play a few hours from home, and we can outbid anyone if need be cuz our tv deal alone pays for 100% of our payroll every year…. tell me which pitch would u choose? Nothing Hahn could pay or say was gonna be better than that

Marty34
Member

Then why was this the plan for two years?

Patrick Nolan
Editor

Bingo, Marty, bingo.

Their plan was to tear it down, be really shitty, clear payroll, and then use their financial flexibility to sign big ticket free agents, specifically targeting this offseason due to the high-level crop available.

Only big ticket free agents don’t want to play for a crap team.

Hahn is part of the team that decided that this should be the plan. Hahn has had some bad luck with injuries but has otherwise overseen a completely disastrous year for the franchise in 2018. Rick Hahn could offer all of the money in the world this offseason (which, hell, that’d probably be more credit to Jerry than Hahn), but he’s not blameless if Machado/Harper decide to go elsewhere. Not in the least.

Trooper Galactus
Member

I literally asked Hahn SPECIFICALLY about this offseason at SoxFest a couple years ago, and he said then the plan was to spend big when the time came. The time is here, the opportunity is here, and if he whiffs on any signings of substance I’m through making excuses for him.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

I would love to see the reaction to Hahn’s first meet and greet when he has to explain what his new plan is….

Marty34
Member

The other thing that grates at me about this is for a 100 loss team there are a lot better ways to spend ~$350M than on Harper or Machado.

Get a baseball kingpin with a good portion of that money and let him have full autonomy. Reinsdorf would never do that because he fancies himself a baseball man and likes being part of the three-headed monster that is him, Williams, and Hahn.

Trooper Galactus
Member

There is not a single GM that has that level of financial autonomy. And if there’s a better way for the White Sox to spend $350 million, then they should FUCKING DO IT.

jose robcada
Member

Ya I get it I spose I never really saw it that way tho…  I always thought like ya try for Harper and Machado I doubt we get cuz we won’t be winning always thought 2019 or 20 free agency was more realistic… like what’s the difference between a 26 year old Harper in 2018 or a 28 year old trout in 2020… or Garrett cole Arenado rendon Chris sale mookie betts and whatever other stars are there 20/19… as long as their there when we are competing is what I care about,those aren’t the only 2 guys that can make a successful rebuild… that fact that they are in the running is encouraging to me that we will eventually get one of them even if it’s not this year cuz my biggest question was always will they really be willing to spend that much and the answer now is obviously yea

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

Why would any of those stars want to play here? Do we really think winning 10 more games in 2019 convinces an Arenado to come play for us? I’m sure Boston will have given up on Devers at that point and sign him….

karkovice squad
Member

They absolutely deserve blame for needing the rebuild in the first place and for any difficulty their track record creates for signing Harper and Machado. But those were both knowns when the offseason started.

Blaming the lack of a signing at this moment all on the Sox is too cute when neither player has signed anywhere. Boras isn’t a slouch and knows how to build a market even if it’s just to get one team to negotiate against itself. And Machado’s agent reportedly isn’t interested in signing before January now, anyway. That suggests that agents for top talent are themselves adapting to the new, slower market.

The Sox could’ve thrown $400m at either player in November and might still find themselves waiting for a decision with other teams clearing their decks to land them. Because this isn’t 2015 let alone 2000.

Anyway, other than Olney’s lone report, we don’t even really have a handle on where the negotiations are. Chicken Little at least had the dignity to get hit in the head before saying the sky was falling.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

Most of us understand you shouldn’t be able to post a 419-553 record over 6 years, blow a bunch of first round picks, and keep your job…

Trooper Galactus
Member

I think Carson Fulmer is the only first round pick Hahn has made in his tenure that’s on the precipice of being an outright bust. Anderson has panned out, Rodon’s been pretty good but injured a lot, Burger got hurt before we could learn anything about him and may yet be something good, Burdi was looking like a bullpen stud before his TJS, and Collins has a lot of warts but isn’t even close to a point where we should be writing him off (though I admit I’m not optimistic). Most people seem to think Madrigal is going to be a major league player in the near future as well. No arguing the record, though. Hahn’s only legacy to date is spectacular failure.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

It’s been argued that Hahn’s plan all along was to get one of these guys. Whether it’s true or not it doesn’t reflect well that we were an after thought in the process and neither guy had any interest in coming here.

knoxfire30
Member

Exactly, the opportunity here was a huge selling point on the rebuild. Fans sucked it down and are gonna get the shaft again.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

Sometimes the dump truck filled with money plan doesn’t work. I think the real anger is going to be what he finishes the offseason with since we currently have no starting caliber outfielders or 3rd baseman and Spring training is in 8 weeks…

jorgefabregas
Member

I think y’all are overreacting a bit. We don’t know where these players are going to sign.

Right Size Wrong Shape
Member

Apparently it’s much more fun to cry like babies.

dwjm3
Member

There is legitimate cause for concern. There has been smoke that Machado prefers the Yankees if they are willing to pony up the money so we could be fighting an uphill battle there. Furthermore, the dodgers beat writer reported this week that Harper likes the Dodgers quite a bit so if they have the money they have a real shot to land him.  

Trooper Galactus
Member

Yeah, a lot of our hopes were wrapped up in the big market teams being financially hamstrung for once (Dodgers, Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox), so having one of them suddenly in the mix is very disheartening.

Patrick Nolan
Editor

Agreed.

There’s been a ton of wind and noise this offseason (positive and negative). The Dodgers clearing salary is the first event that I really feel actually moved the needle on our chances.

Right Size Wrong Shape
Member

I mean, we had to know this was a possibility, right? The Sox could offer them both record contracts, but LA and the Yankees both have more money and they’re better teams in bigger markets. If they decide they want them, they’re going to get them. I don’t see a reason to get angry about it unless it turns out that the Sox made offers that weren’t competitive. I’d really like to have either of them or both, but it’s not the end of the world.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

Neither of those team could probably have offered the largest total deal over 10 years though (or if they had wanted to). Assuming we didn’t do anything else we could have done 10/375. Whether that was a good idea is debatable.

Right Size Wrong Shape
Member

They could, they just don’t want to because of the luxury tax.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

It’s easy too!

karkovice squad
Member

It’s like how much more White Sox Fan could it be? And the answer is none. None more White Sox Fan.

HallofFrank
Member

Thats a bizarre trigger: a Dodgers salary dump sets off complaints about White Sox ownership. 

Barring a ridiculous overpay of an offer, Harper and Machado we’re always going to wait for other teams to get involved. They control the market. 

Further, it’s not clear the Dodgers are (a) seriously pursuing Harper or (b) would win a bidding war if they did. I assume they are interested, but this trade gets them under the luxury tax threshold. Plus, there have been reports that the Dodgers have no interest in going 10 years plus on Harper. 

There are certainly reasons to be frustrated or upset at the White Sox ownership, but the Dodgers dumping salary isn’t one. 

lil jimmy
Member

Their out field isn’t empty either. Alex Verdugo is MLB’s #32 prospect and turns 23 his summer. He’s a classic Right Fielder and ready. .329 .391 .472 .863 in AAA this year.

dwjm3
Member

The Dodgers likely couldn’t be in the mix unless they dumped salary. It appears now they can which certainly is at least cause for concern as more possible bidders doesn’t help the Sox. 

PopeDonnPall
Member

I’m realizing we may need to get a big name via trade.My hopes were up a bit for Harper and they still are for Manny.

But the thing I keep coming back to is if I’m one of those two guys, I can’t even convince myself that going to White Sox is the smart option. We didn’t really have guys take a big step forward this past year and, combined with a slew of unfortunate injuries on the prospect level, as well as prospect under performance, it’s a hard sell.

That said, right now Eloy is someone we all imagine will be good. But wouldn’t it have helped be a selling point to free agents if we actually had a month of SEEING him do it in the big leagues? I honestly think not calling him up hurts their chances with FA.

Trooper Galactus
Member

The only things this team has going for it right now are a strong farm system and low financial commitments. Trading for a big name probably detracts from both of those disproportionately to the improvement made. Free agency, particularly for young, elite players, was supposed to be the plan.

HallofFrank
Member

Is it not the plan? By all accounts, the Sox are in, seriously in, on both. Yes, it remains to be seen whether they will win the auction. But with the information we currently have, I’m at a loss for why people here are frustrated with ownership’s handling of this situation. 

Trooper Galactus
Member

I think recent history plays a role. They held back on spending when spending was the only option. They haven’t signed a top tier free agent in twenty years. Their moves thus far have been more indicative of a team preparing to tread water in the 90-100 loss range than one trying to build up rosterable assets and make a move toward relevance. If they sign Harper and/or Machado, sure, all the hand wringing was for nothing, but there are reasons people don’t have particularly positive outlooks.

HallofFrank
Member

Sure, there are reasons to be skeptical. I’m just puzzled about why some folks here are already mad at ownership for not signing Machado and/or Harper when, by all appearances, they are as in on both as anyone.

Signing Machado and/or Harper would be an unprecedented move for this organization to be sure, but so was entering a tear-down rebuild. 

Trooper Galactus
Member

Because their moves thus far have been baffling even if they do sign them. They could have acquired a great catcher or at least a pretty good stopgap and instead went for the absolute worst option. They added $8 million to their salary commitments on a player they didn’t need and who doesn’t really help them overall. There were options available to help fill out the team around Harper and/or Machado that have been going by the wayside with nary a peep that the White Sox were really engaged on any of them. There are things that could have been done and perhaps should have been done that would have made more sense with or without Machado or Harper and helped both their short and long term outlooks. I mean, if they sign Harper tomorrow and call it an offseason, sure, I’ll be happy they signed Harper, but damned if I wouldn’t be left at least a bit baffled by how everything played out. Still plenty of time and free agents remaining, but the current trajectory is not encouraging.

jose robcada
Member

calling grandal a great catcher is a massive reach because i know your not talking about realmuto… looks at his splits dude hes had 2 really gfood months and the other 4 months he was atrocious… and surprise surprise he was horrible in playoffs… for like a month this site has been pining for grandal even tho hes in a massive decline… their is a reason the dodgers for 2 years straight didnt trust him in playoffs when they are a very analytically driven ballclub and also didnt resign, its bcause hes not that good anymore… if you think hes an elite catcher then avi is an elite rf cuz he can have those bursts as well

jose robcada
Member

and honestly who in the hell do you want them to sign or even wanted them to sign? pollock for 5 years when he only plays 2/3 of the games because of injuries and because of that his decline will soon be swift and would block robert/gonzalez…. brantly was always getting injured too and would have blkocked like 5 potential right fielders in the system and really should be playing lf but lf will be eloys, mccutchen? = massive decline at least his obp is decent but still massive decline…. literally on postion player side only guy i would want for our team is maybe dj lemaheiu while moving moncada to 3rd and thats still in play… you could say relievers but you shouldnt be spedning big on relievers until YOU KNOW! that your gonna compete… and outside of corbin no pitcher is worth it as keuchel shows declinging numbers and even corbin was probably a big overp[ay by the nats compared to whats gonna be on market next year

Trooper Galactus
Member

You’re seriously trying to denigrate a catcher coming off a 5 WARP season in which he would have led our team in OPS for players with over 13 PAs? Surprise surprise, yes, Grandal is a great catcher by today’s standards. Just because he’s not on a Hall of Fame trajectory doesn’t mean he isn’t an awesome get.

karkovice squad
Member

Trading for a big name probably detracts from both of those disproportionately to the improvement made.

Prospects have an amount of projected productivity with a certain measurable value and corresponding cost. Free agents cost dollars that buy a certain amount of projected productivity. So do veterans acquired in trade. This is an equation we can balance.

Plus, barring NTCs and 10+5 rights, might be easier to sell another team on Chicago as the destination for an equitable deal than a free agent.

Trooper Galactus
Member

But the whole point of going after free agents is that they will be supplemented by talent and depth in the farm system. Cull the system to put pieces in place at the beginning and you lose all the depth, which puts us right back on the old path of unsustainable, fleeting successes. I’d prefer they lose some financial flexibility (and let’s face it, they could spend a LOT of money and still have plenty of financial wiggle room) over their talent depth.

karkovice squad
Member

You’re talking about effects without addressing causes. They didn’t have depth because of the Wilder scandal, their self-imposed limits on draft and international talent acquisition, and poor talent assessment and development. Plus some key injuries. Compounded by capping their free agent spending and poor veteran scouting.

The key to sustainability isn’t going to be hoarding prospects, it’s going to be whether they’ve fixed those issues with identifying, acquiring, and developing talent. They got the CBA and $ issues fixed to their liking. It’s still an open question whether they’ve improved their own processes enough.

And no, the whole point is to get 40+ more wins than you’d get out of a team of Andre Rienzos, Greg Nortons, Timo Perezes, and Nick Massets. You keep insisting on 1 way to do that while ignoring that we can get a pretty good idea of exactly what financial flexibility, depth, and every other asset are worth to know how much value they have to spend in each way. They should make use of every option possible.

Trooper Galactus
Member

Unfortunately, they haven’t addressed the issue of the people who built that deeply flawed system before still being in charge of it.

karkovice squad
Member

That’s true no matter what they do. And if that’s the concern, then we shouldn’t want this front office to be the one trading any prospects or signing any multi-year commitments at all, this year or any other, because they’re as likely to do lasting damage either way.

Trooper Galactus
Member

I think people held out hope that there was a period of transition where Kenny was still influencing or making GM-type decisions and that Hahn only took the reins completely a couple years ago. Unfortunately, not a whole lot feels very different on a macro level at this point.

karkovice squad
Member

Then you should be arguing for inactivity or 1-year deals now and a new front office/owners ASAP. Which, admittedly, has been an increasingly reasonable position ever since 2015/2016.

It’s not a position that jells well with caring about whether the team commits 1/3rd to 2/3rds of a billion dollars to 1 or 2 players versus trading a bunch of prospects who rate 50 FV or less.

Trooper Galactus
Member

If Hahn had been fired after 2016 nobody would have batted an eye. As for free agents, there were tons of free agents and trade targets who would have made sense this offseason. What they’ve done thus far, barring significant further moves, has been utterly baffling.

karkovice squad
Member

Being fine with firing the front office isn’t compatible with being comfortable letting them make decisions that affect the team’s future. The availability of sensible moves has almost nothing to do with that.

Marty34
Member

I want Hahn to execute his plan and let the chips fall where they may. Inactivity in the absence of Harper/Machado is not a viable plan for a GM who has as awful a track record as he has. I’d rather he spend ~$350M in the worst possible way and be held accountable.

Trooper Galactus
Member

I, for one, would not be screaming how stupid he was for signing both of them to $350 million deals if they up and fell off a cliff from day one. It improves the club for the next several years and they have the means to do it. If somebody wants to turn around down the line and apply revisionist history to it, then they can pound sand.

Marty34
Member

Hahn needs to be held accountable for results. Don’t care what people think of his moves at the time.

karkovice squad
Member

They’ll absolutely deserve criticism if they sign a big contract and the player flops because of anything other than a freak injury. Their inability to scout veterans has been a hallmark problem.

And committing a sigificant fraction of a billion dollars on a scouting failure is as crippling as trading away key prospects.

Your positions aren’t at all consistent. Marty’s right, they’ve spent all their credit and need to show results, not just process.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

We probably will never know how much interest either guy ever had in the Sox. Our best bet was Just going to be to frontload a contract for 3 years with an opt out anyway. 

vanillablue
Member

Harper or Machado to the Sox isn’t going to happen, because it was never going to happen. There are zero baseball reasons for either of them to choose the Sox. Why would they waste a couple of years of their prime on a losing team? To get either would have required seriously outbidding deep pocketed teams AND making savvy moves to improve at other positions. The Sox haven’t made many smart moves this decade, and have never been free spenders.

Sorry to be the downer, and I’d like to be wrong, but this never seemed to be in the cards.

Trooper Galactus
Member

There might be zero baseball reasons, but the whole point was to give them something like 350 million other reasons.

vanillablue
Member

There was no chance of that strategy working. Does anyone really think 10/350 from the White Sox would outweigh 10/330 from a much better and much higher profile team like the Dodgers or Yankees?

Trooper Galactus
Member

If $20 million more doesn’t move the needle, then this franchise has done a pretty good job of sinking its own fortunes the last few years. And I dunno that anybody else is going even that high.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

6 losing seasons for Hahn tells you all you need to know about this team….

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

2 months ago everyone on this blog thought all they cared about was money. We could still offer one of them 10/375 million and not have it hurt us in the short term….

Trooper Galactus
Member

If it came out the White Sox offered 10/375 and they went elsewhere for, like, 10/325, then I’m not gonna just say “aw shucks, ya tried”. I’m gonna be raking the front office over the coals for making the south side such an unpalatable destination that even gobs of money can’t get top tier talents.

roke1960
Member

I don’t think anything has been decided yet. Let’s face it, if the Yankees had made a competitive offer, Machado would have probably signed already. And if the White Sox had not made a large offer, they would have been out of the running already. I think the Sox are doing everything they can to sign both players, but this is a process that has never really happened before (generational players in their mid 20s reaching free agency at the same time). Both Machado and Harper’s agents are going to do everything possible to get the best deal for their clients. That the White Sox are front and center on both of them speaks to management’s efforts to make a big splash. We just all need to catch our breath and wait until after the New Year to see how this all shakes out.
The big question is what do the Sox do if they lose out on both. I agree that their chances to get either aren’t great, but they obviously have made competitive offers. They deserve credit for reaching the final stages on both players. But if they lose out, do they go forward with what they have and try this again next year? I don’t like that, because we’d be stuck with another 90+ loss team, and next year’s free agents would probably shun us too. I’d like to see them sign a few decent guys to 1- or 2-year contracts. This would at least make them watchable this year and also not block any of the prospects that might be ready in 2020. I am still cautiously optimistic that they can sign either Machado or Harper. But I’ve been pretty obsessed with getting any of the latest news. I think we call all just enjoy our Christmas and New Years, and hope for a surprise after the New Year.

Right Size Wrong Shape
Member

Grandal, Pollock and Keuchel and hopefully Rendon or Arenado hit the market next year is not a bad plan B. It’s still plan B, but I would be excited going into the season with those guys and the young guys knocking on the door.

dwjm3
Member

The Nationals owner already expressed confidence in resigning Rendon …He may not make it to the open market.  It isn’t crazy think we could be in a world of hurt if we don’t get one of these guys this year. 

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

Yeah because if Machado didn’t want to come here Arenado will be the first in line….

Right Size Wrong Shape
Member

I find it hard to believe that no free agent ever is going to want to sign here for a lot of money. And although Harper and Machado are unique free agents because of their talent and age, very good players become available through free agency or trade every year. With the Sox talent pool and financial flexibility they are still positioned pretty well.

roke1960
Member

I agree with this. 6 months ago, I started pushing Machado to the Sox on here and most said it was too early to start spending. Most said our window wouldn’t open until at least 2020. Now that they are in, most are saying it’s Machado/Harper or bust. I will be extremely disappointed if they get neither, but I will go forward expecting them to bid on prized free agents in the future. Maybe Eloy wins ROY and Moncada breaks out, and the rebuild moves forward better this year than last. We will start to become an attractive place to play.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

Some White Sox fans are tired of “maybes”. Some want the real thing.

roke1960
Member

I’m as tired of maybes as anyone, but that’s all we’ve got.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

since we’ve never signed a top free agent in their prime since EVER I don’t think it’s very hard to believe.

Trooper Galactus
Member

I’m not going to credit them just because they got a seat at the table. There’s no prize for second place in this process, it’s win or sign the next guy, and for the White Sox, the next guys have mostly been signed (at least where the outfield and 3B are concerned). It’s like crediting Hahn for the rebuild without also firmly acknowledging he played a major role in its necessity.

roke1960
Member

The moves they made in the mid 2010s (Laroche, Melky, Robin) were seemingly made because they tried to do things cheaply. But when they went to the rebuild, I think that their thinking began to change. Now, I have been as critical of Hahn on this site in the past as anyone. But I think they had a good plan when this rebuild started. It was to acquire as much young talent as possible , then supplement it with major league talent when the timing was right. Now it might be a year away from being the “right” time for them to add top major league talent, but this rare opportunity has presented itself this year. They are making every effort to sign
two of the biggest free agents to ever hit the market. yes, you can be critical of Hahn in saying he caused this mess, but I think that Kenny and Hahn may have finally convinced Jerry that he needs to open up his checkbook and act like the big boys. I think they deserve some credit for having a seat at the table even if they don’t land either player. It will send a message to future free agents that the Sox are serious now. I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt that even if they strike out on Harper and Machado, they will be in on Rendon, Arenado, Bogaerts, Sale or anyone who might fit in the long term plans of the club. I understand all of the anger coming out now. But until/if we find out the details of what each team has offered, I don’t think we can fault management for losing out on Harper/Machado.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

That plan falls apart if they can’t acquire that good young talent. Do you think when they traded for Moncada they thought he was going to almost set the MLB strikeout record at 23 years old? 

Trooper Galactus
Member

Hahn has said himself they don’t get to pick and choose when elite talent is available like this. It’s not about timing, it’s about opportunity.

HallofFrank
Member

I think a distinction would need to be made between posturing and an actual run at one of these guys. If it turns out that Hahn & Co. offer up the biggest contract in baseball history, surely they get a little credit for that even if it gets turned down. It at least shows the organization is willing, and trying, to do things they haven’t done before to win. 

karkovice squad
Member

They’d still deserve the blame for so mangling the team so much that even cash and nepotism can’t compensate.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan
Member

Exactly. Hahn had 4 losing seasons before he started his rebuild; most teams fire their GM and bring in someone new to do it. How many teams give their GM an infinite amount of time to try to clean up his own mess?

dwjm3
Member

Heck Jerry even lets you hire and fire five coaches and keep your job …You just take a nap during your performance review with Jerry.

denbum
Member

Merry Xmas, everyone. I’m just about all dried up on Harper-Machado…do we want them, do we not want them…can we get them, can we not get them…do they want to come here, don’t they…..can we afford them, can we not…..are they worth that, are they not worth that…all great fodder topics for sights like this. After all the “discussion” on those questions, one of the newest topics I’ve been hearing is touching on why would a star player WANT to come to a 100-loss team and participate in a rebuild? Throw out the $ numbers, the marketability, the city, yadda, yadda, yadda… All Hahn and his merry men can sell (personnel-wise) is the fact that the WSox have (outside of Abreu) a stable of ‘top prospects’.
1) Although these prospects so far show some development and hope, are any of them overwhelming enough to attract elite veterans? Anderson? Rodon? Giolito? Fulmer? Lopez? Moncada? This is year THREE. Any all-stars here? Eloy and Cease next to join the list. I’m hoping. But there is food for thought in wondering what the state of the rebuild is..
2) Manager/coaches….don’t know how much praise (or blame) can be attributed to Ricky R and his staff. All I see is that WSox are getting farther below .500 and a long, long, long way from contention-status of 90+ wins. Do FA’s even consider the manager when making their decision on where to play? Personally, would like to see FO make the move of putting a relevant manager/coaching staff in place. Ready for THE GUY (maybe O. Vizquel?). More food for thought.
Harper-Machada-Grandal….next year Arenado, do prospects slant their decision?…does the field manager slant their decision? Who knows? And that’s the same answer to all the questions at the beginning of this post. Who knows? And a Happy New Year!

knoxfire30
Member

If we cant pony up the money for Harper and or Machado, who some people have certain reservations about then we should be absolutely terrified of Arenado. A player who watches his bat go from elite to above average away from Colorado and happens to be a year older then both Machado and Harper.

karkovice squad
Member

A player who plays a significant number of away games in LA and SD…

knoxfire30
Member

yea I checked into that, he is actually 10 OPS points higher at la and sd combined then he is @the rest of the league for his career

so he is just a good hitter away from colorado like I said ,wanting to pay him like a super star will be a mistake

karkovice squad
Member

The other issue is that playing in Colorado isn’t a one-way ratchet solely boosting home performance. It also hurts road performance. Players who’ve moved to other teams have seen their home and road stats normalize.

mrridgman
Member

A lot of hand wringing regarding the WS inability to sign either of the big 2 – still not determined, also as pointed out by several posters. Available public evidence indicates WS are making their best run, further events may prove otherwise. In either event my view of a dose of reality if WS offers most $, but still loses out:
First, ownership has been considered tight for many years, that may be changing but the history is known. Second, the FO has been dysfunctional for a while; who’s in charge? I get the feeling that Hahn probably has moved in front, but you can’t be certain. Screw titles, they don’t determine who makes or influences the decisions. KW as a VP between Jerry and Hahn is worrisome, particularly when KW shows up at the winter meetings and makes proclamations equivalent to a GM. Again, this is public information. Third, the ballpark is not very appealing, nor the neighborhood. Fourth, the WS aren’t the Yankees or the Dodgers, and probably never will be. Tradition can influence decisions.

Fifth, as has been pointed out, WS are 1-2 years out from being competitive, unlike the Yankees or Dodgers.

roke1960
Member

I completely understand all of the frustration and anger being presented here. At times I have felt the same frustration and anger and have let it show here many times. The reason we are in this mess is because we had some great pieces to build on at very reasonable rates and didn’t take advantage of it. When Sale, Abreu, Quintana and Eaton were elite players, we supplemented them with average players like Melky and LaRoche and an incompetent manager like Robin, instead of getting top major league talent. Then when that failed, we allowed the same management team to tear it down and start over. Only in Jerry’s world would Hahn have kept his job. That is on Jerry, not on Hahn. But that is over and there’s nothing we can do about it. Whining now does not help the situation in the least. Hahn’s our GM and it seems as though management has learned their lesson and is trying to compete with the big boys. I prefer to look forward and see a future where the White Sox are in on premier free agents. There are many teams now that are trying the same approach, mainly because it worked so well for the Cubs and Astros. There are 2 generational talents available and several teams in the same boat as the Sox. That the Sox are in the Final 3 on both speaks to management’s commitment to build the right way, now on the cheap. Regardless of the outcome, it looks as though management has realized that cheap, mediocre veterans will not fill the holes on a championship team. It is encouraging that they are going after elite talent, and I believe they will continue to do that no matter what happens here.

denbum
Member

Cubs…..2011, Quade gets 71 wins with Piniella’s leftovers…Svuem flounders with 61 and 66 wins……Ricky R gets ’em 73…Maddon comes in 97 (25 w improvement),103,92, & 95 wins.

Astros 2013, struggle under Bo Porter with 51 wins, but show improvement 2014 with 70 wins (19 improvement)…AJ Hinch comes in and Astros win curve goes: 86,84,101,103

WSox tread water with Ventura 63,73,76,78 wins (after 85 in first year with Ozzie’s leftovers)….claim rebuild with Ricky R and have gone 67 & 62 wins.

Any comparison to Cubs and Astros tells me that WSox are at Svuem Cubs and Porters Astros level with the target obviously to get to Maddon and Hinch’s numbers.

IMO, the WSox need to have one of those 19-game improvements to 81 wins (.500) and it needs to be ASAP. Otherwise we’re looking at this year plus 2 or 3 more making it a 5-6 yr rebuild? By then our younger players reach FA and we’re starting over again. I think the projection needs to be 2019 78-82 wins, 2020 86-90 wins-contention, 2021 90+ wins-solid post season participant.

Astros & Cubs both have/had prospects succeed and both changed mgr at right time. WSox prospects still developing and when do Sox change manager?

Trooper Galactus
Member

I am really tired of comparing the White Sox timeline to the Cubs and Astros. NEITHER OF THOSE TEAMS TRADED CHRIS SALE, JOSE QUINTANA, AND ADAM EATON, OR ANYBODY REMOTELY THAT LEVEL OF VALUE AT THE TIME OF THE TRADE.

roke1960
Member

But that’s done. There’s nothing we can do about it. It’s just like the endless clamoring about Tyler Flowers. IT’S OVER. How do we move forward from here? I don’t like the fact that the guys who screwed up the Sale-Q-Eaton years are still in charge, but the reality is that they are. We can only hope they learned their lesson from that awful time period and will act differently. If not, then there’s no hope.

lil jimmy
Member

The White Sox have been willfully bad for two years. Bad on purpose, bad with the intent to be bad. Now they are indicating they won’t do that anymore. To me, that’s the big news.
Merry Christmas to me.

dwjm3
Member

Intent means nothing if they can’t execute the steps needed to stop being bad. 

Trooper Galactus
Member

Thanks dwjm3, couldn’t have worded it any better.

denbum
Member

Exactly Trooper …. others have brought up Cubs/Astros…I was trying to say WSox can only be compared to those 2 particular rebuilds if you can admit that the WSox have hopefully bottomed out. To proceed, 1) some of those Sox dear, dear prospects need to step it up and 2) make sure you have the right mgr, going forward. Those 2 teams did that. But you’re right, there’s no one sure blueprint for a rebuild. As for the players that were traded – the prospects received need to attain the same all star status, no?

Trooper Galactus
Member

I’d say getting one All-Star from each trade would be a reasonable ask, at least on average. Jimenez and Moncada have the talent to do it, as do Kopech and Cease, but I’m not sure I see a burgeoning All-Star in the Eaton trade (not that he was an All-Star himself, but he had the value of one), but Lopez could make that leap, I guess.

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