2018-19 Free Agent Predictions: Where will Machado and Harper sign?

Keith Allison / Flickr

Just like last year, Patrick Nolan and I will attempt to guess where some of the top free agents will sign this offseason. Rumors have been plenty from the GM Meetings in Carlsbad which could be a good sign for a more active period than last year. Make sure to submit your selections by participating in the Sox Machine Free Agent Pick’em for a chance to win two tickets to the April 6th, 2019 White Sox game.

Before releasing our picks, Pnoles and I shared some of our thoughts about the offseason start.

Josh: Well, Pnoles, I thought I had a good feeling how this offseason was going down. Since my offseason plan: Manny Machado has said goodbye to LA, Chicago Cubs may not spend, New York Yankees are not interested in Bryce Harper, Seattle Mariners are tearing it down, the Dodgers are telling investors they have to stay below the luxury tax for four years, and the Cleveland Indians may trade Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, or Trevor Bauer.  I’ll admit it – I have no idea what is going on, and I’m here to enjoy the ride.

With that being said, where is your head at with the MLB offseason as the GM Meetings wrap up?

Pnoles: This seems like it’s going to be one wild winter. The Indians and Mariners potentially adding some big names to the trade market is going to compound what was already an excellent crop of available players. The early rumors of the White Sox being connected to Harper and Machado lend some additional excitement to the proceedings. While I don’t see the Sox as the most likely suitor for either, their payroll space gives some credibility to the idea that they could surprise us and go further into the free agency pool than ever before.

Josh: I’m here for a wild winter. Would be much better than whatever happened last year. Who do you think will be the first free agent to make a splash and sign with a new ballclub?

Pnoles: I could see Craig Kimbrel being the first big domino to fall. I feel like the relief market might move faster than the others as negotiations with Harper and Machado (which will be complicated) might hold up the rest of the position-player field, and because relievers generally command less than starters, the reduced risk/reward might lend itself to quicker deals.

Josh: Good call on Kimbrel. I was thinking someone like Michael Brantley may not want to wait around and see what Harper signs for by taking the best deal at Winter Meetings.

We know about the smoke surrounding the White Sox in being a sleeper big spender this offseason. Let’s say that there is fire to those rumors. Which other teams do you see spending big this offseason?

Pnoles: I think that the Dodgers, Phillies, Braves, and Angels will be in the mix for big names. You can never count out the Yankees and Red Sox, either.

Josh: Before we release our guesses – what is your most bold prediction that will happen this offseason?

Pnoles: Hmm. Alright, how’s this: The Yankees will not make any huge splashes in free agency. This does not mean I think they will not pursue upgrades, but with Machado and Harper seeming like weird fits for their roster and the starting pitching market (their area of need) being less top-heavy than usual, I could see them look to acquire rotation pieces via trade (for example, if the Indians really are serious about selling Kluber or Carrasco) and largely sitting out the spending competition.

Josh: On that topic, we can start our guesses with my bold prediction. A complete reversal how I felt no more than a week ago.


Manny Machado

Josh: Chicago White Sox – 9 years, $270 million
Alright, I’ll buy into the hype and rumors. The current smoke surrounding Manny Machado’s market reminds me of when the White Sox pursued Luis Robert. Almost a perfect storm where you have this uber talent available, plenty of cash on hand, and the list of competitors is limited. When I did my offseason plan, I really thought Machado would stay in LA. Then he said peace out to the Dodgers on Instagram, the Yankees are hinting they’re not pursuing him, the Cubs are cash strapped all of a sudden, and it sounds like the only two teams on Machado are the Phillies and White Sox. It’ll be a miracle, but the planets have truly aligned for the White Sox to sign Machado.

Pnoles: Philadelphia Phillies – 10 years, $350 million.
The Phillies have the most fitting combination of past spending history and need on the left side of the infield. The Phillies were merely average in last year’s National League due to a very good pitching staff but a comparably weak crop of position players. The Phillies could simply offer Machado the shortstop job, as neither Scott Kingery nor J.P. Crawford has made a compelling argument to keep it.

Bryce Harper

Josh: Philadelphia Phillies – 12 years, $375 million
I agree with Bob Nightengale that the Philadelphia Phillies will land Bryce Harper on a record deal. This is part need, part taking away a special player from a key rival. Harper won’t be much help for the Phillies poor outfield defense, but his bat could help swing the division in what should be a tight NL East race.

Pnoles: Los Angeles Dodgers – 10 years, $350 million
Placing Harper is tough if you want to put stock in the early signs from teams. The Yankees have said they’re out and the Cubs are signaling more financial concerns than we might have thought. The Dodgers have a crowded outfield, but they shouldn’t be too concerned about moving on from Matt Kemp and Joc Pederson at this stage. They’re already likely front-runners to win next year’s NL pennant and Harper would be a big help.

Patrick Corbin

Josh: New York Yankees – 5 years, $85 million
Patrick Corbin will be a nice fit for several teams, maybe even the White Sox, but I see the Yankees making him their big splash this offseason. Even if Corbin pitches more like he did in 2017 (189.2 IP, 4.03 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 178 K, 61 BB) he’ll be a big boost for the Bronx Bombers. If he can repeat 2018, Corbin could be a sleeper Cy Young pick.

Pnoles: Los Angeles Angels – 5 years, $100 million
Corbin fits all over the map. I’m picking the Angels because their pitchers are constantly hurt and he would do wonders to solidify that rotation. The fighting Trouts are in the midst of an uphill battle, but they simply can’t let either of his last two seasons (before he becomes a Yankee) slip by without making a big push.

Dallas Keuchel

Josh: Houston Astros – 5 years, $80 million
In recent light of Lance McCullers missing the 2019 season because of Tommy John, I predict the Houston Astros will welcome back Dallas Keuchel. Yes, the strikeouts are down but he is someone Houston can depend on and slot as their #3 starter behind Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Pnoles: Minnesota Twins – 4 years, $80 million 
Don’t ask me why, but this feels like the most Twins signing possible. I don’t have any more of a rationale than that.

Josh Donaldson

Josh: St. Louis Cardinals – 2 years, $50 million
If Cleveland wasn’t worried about payroll I would say the Indians would make sense for Josh Donaldson, but instead I think the St. Louis Cardinals will make the leap. If, and that’s a big IF, Donaldson has overcome his injuries and can be the hitter he was with Toronto that might be the difference for St. Louis in making the postseason next season.

Pnoles: Los Angeles Angels – 1 year, $22 million
To clarify, I do not think that the Angels will land Donaldson AND Corbin, but individually I like the Angels as the most likely landing spot. The Angels desperately need help in the infield and I think that Donaldson will ultimately fail to land a long-term commitment on the heels of his injury-plagued 2017. With the Angels firmly needing to get into the mix this season or next, I could see them using Donaldson on their third base hole.

Michael Brantley

Josh: Atlanta Braves – 3 years, $42 million
Cleveland.com is reporting that Michael Brantley has offers from Philadelphia, Atlanta, and the White Sox. If the White Sox do sign Michael Brantley, I think that will be the end of Avisail Garcia’s time on the South Side. Instead, I see the Braves picking up the 31-year old to replace the departing Nick Markakis.

Pnoles: Philadelphia Phillies – 3 years, 42 million
“Nick Williams” was a replacement-level sinkhole (or worse) for Philadelphia in right field, and Brantley would be a big help in repairing their position player corps.

AJ Pollock

Josh: New York Mets – 4 years, $60 million
This might not be the most ideal landing spot for an oft-injured outfielder, but I see the Mets being sneaky this offseason and AJ Pollock could be a fit. A Pollock/Michael Conforto/Brandon Nimmo outfield is a pretty good trio – if they can stay on the field.

Pnoles: Cincinnati Reds – 4 years, $56 million
This might be a bit of a reach, as the Reds have a greater need for starting pitching, but I’ll take a dark horse here. Billy Hamilton is a year away from free agency and hasn’t been all that good, plus the Reds don’t have much in right field either. At some point, the Reds are going to need to make a push to get better. I don’t see a ton of other great fits for Pollock besides the White Sox.

Jed Lowrie

Josh: Oakland Athletics – 2 years, $15 million
I can’t imagine Jed Lowrie playing for another ballclub.

Pnoles: Oakland Athletics – 3 years, $36 million.
There aren’t a great deal of landing spots available for second basemen and I’ll predict Lowrie just keeps riding the wave of the A’s hot season and returns to Oakland.

Charlie Morton

Josh: Philadelphia Phillies – 2 years, $20 million
Charlie Morton pitched in four games with the Phillies back in 2016 and I see reunion for 2019. If Morton can take what he learned in Houston it will help solidify the rotation behind ace Aaron Nola.

Pnoles: Washington Nationals – 2 years, $30 million
It was a bit of a surprise (to me, anyway) that the Astros didn’t extend a qualifying offer to Morton, so I’m sending him elsewhere. The Nationals are relatively close to home for Morton and they need to replace innings lost by the departures of Jeremy Hellickson and Gio Gonzalez.

Yasmani Grandal

Josh: Houston Astros – 4 years, $60 million
Pretty clear that the Astros could use some help behind home plate and will result in either the Astros trading for J.T. Realmuto or sign Yasmani Grandal.

Pnoles: Houston Astros – 4 years, $66 million
The analytically-inclined Astros will add one of the game’s best players at great value. They got good value out of Max Stassi at the position last season, but it was in limited exposure and for a player like Grandal, they’d be glad to relegate him to backup duties.

Nathan Eovaldi

Josh: Boston Red Sox – 4 years, $56 million
I would love to see the White Sox sign Nathan Eovaldi, but Dave Dombrowski knows what he has with the flamethrower. I can’t see the Red Sox letting Eovaldi go to another team with how critical he was to their World Series winning efforts.

Pnoles: Houston Astros – 3 years, $45 million
The contract value of the enigmatic, hard-throwing Eovaldi is a tough one to peg. The Astros have been excellent at harnessing pitching talent of late and need to replace the innings thrown by Keuchel and Morton.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Josh: Los Angeles Dodgers – 1 year, $17.9 million (Accepts qualifying offer)
It makes sense for Hyun-Jin Ryu to accept the Los Angeles Dodgers qualifying offer to re-establish his value if he can stay healthy in 2019. Hard to see Ryu getting a multi-year deal when he hasn’t thrown 150 innings since 2014.

Pnoles: Los Angeles Dodgers – 3 years, $30 million
The oft-injured starter seems like a good candidate to stay put. The Dodgers are teeming with rotation options, but they’ve shown a willingness to shuttle even good starters to the bullpen and seem to be no worse for the wear.

Yusei Kikuchi

Josh: San Diego Padres – 4 years, $50 million 
Word out of San Diego is the Padres are starving for pitching. Watching YouTube highlights, Yusei Kikuchi is really intriguing pairing his 96-mph fastball with a sharp slider. Maybe a good alternative for teams that lose out on the Patrick Corbin sweepstakes.

Pnoles: Cincinnati Reds – 6 years, $48 million
Yusei Kikuchi would make for an interesting gamble for the pitching-starved Reds. Kikuchi’s relative youth (age 27), the length of his likely deal, and the lower projected average annual salary will make him an attractive option for rebuilding teams that can absorb the risk if the Japanese hurler doesn’t hit the ground running.

Andrew McCutchen

Josh: Tampa Bay Rays – 2 years, $30 million
With Carlos Gomez departing, Andrew McCutchen could be an upgrade in either corner for the Tampa Bay Rays. There’s a lot of young talent that will be joining the 91-win squad and this could be an ideal combination for the veteran McCutchen who can be a starter on a sleeper contender.

Pnoles: Chicago White Sox – 3 years, $45 million
As I’m writing this for a White Sox site, I want to clarify that I believe that chances are high that the White Sox wind up signing at least one of the 13 players listed above McCutchen here. However, I think McCutchen is the first one for which I find the White Sox individually more likely than any other team. To make room, the Sox would probably need to use him in center field, which is nuts, but this organization have started worse players in that position.

Lance Lynn

Josh: Milwaukee Brewers – 2 years, $25 million
Whether they want to admit it, Milwaukee could use help with starting pitching. I get it – they found a way in 2018 without having a marquee pitcher leading the staff. Lance Lynn is not a headliner but can be someone that the Brewers can count on to throw 170 innings.

Pnoles: Toronto Blue Jays – 2 years, $20 million 
Lance Lynn showed a great deal down the stretch with the Yankees and the Blue Jays are in need of some rotation arms. Lynn can help them tread water until they inevitably fall out of contention, and on a shorter-term deal, he’s a decent flip candidate.

Wilson Ramos

Josh: Los Angeles Angels – 2 years, $20 million
Even after acquiring former White Sox Kevan Smith, the Angels could use a starting catcher and I see a fit here with Wilson Ramos. The Angels could use another .800 OPS bat to help support Mike Trout, and if they can stay healthy, make a run for the Wild Card in 2019.

Pnoles: Oakland Athletics – 3 years, $40 million.
The A’s are losing Jonathan Lucroy to free agency and will likely move to acquire a catcher, unless they want to run Josh Phegley out there for 120 games. This is a hefty contract for the low-budget A’s, but one gets the feeling that Beane won’t play things conservatively on the heels of a 97-win season.

JA Happ

Josh: Chicago White Sox – 2 years, $25 million 
It makes a lot of sense when rumors mentioned the Chicago White Sox as a team interested in the 36-year old JA Happ. An effective veteran can help carry the load while still being a guiding presence for the youngsters.

Pnoles: Chicago White Sox – 3 years, $36 million.
JA Happ could fit a lot of places, and I could totally see the White Sox bringing him in as the veteran mentor, James-Shields-but-better innings sponge. Happ reconfigured his craft with the Pirates in 2015 and undoubtedly has learned a good deal about the science of pitching, so the “good influence” narrative might fit here.

Nick Markakis

Josh: Colorado Rockies – 1 year, $10 million
I don’t know why the Colorado Rockies would sign Nick Markakis to replace Carlos Gonzalez, but the Rockies make plenty of head scratching decisions when it comes to position players. I’m predicting this will be another one.

Pnoles: Baltimore Orioles – 2 years, $18 million.
The Orioles have to play someone in the outfield, and I could see Markakis reuniting with the team he played with for nine years on a relatively cheap deal. There would probably be some understanding that he could be flipped to chase a ring somewhere.

Nelson Cruz

Josh: Houston Astros – 1 year, $18 million
Houston could use one more power bat in their lineup to not only help defend their AL West stronghold, but also keep up with Boston and New York. Nelson Cruz, despite being 38-years old, can still wallop and the Crawford Boxes might help produce another 40 home run season.

Pnoles: Toronto Blue Jays – 2 years, $28 million
The Blue Jays already have an aging, expensive DH on their roster, but they’ve been linked to Cruz already, so maybe they want a better one!

Marwin Gonzalez

Josh: Philadelphia Phillies – 3 years, $39 million 
Flexibility to help in both the infield and outfield, Marwin Gonzalez could help maximize manager Gabe Kapler’s daily lineup.

Pnoles: Colorado Rockies – 4 years, $46 million 
Where wouldn’t Gonzalez fit? The Rockies badly need some position-player depth, and Gonzalez offers the kind that can plug in anywhere.

Craig Kimbrel

Josh: St. Louis Cardinals – 3 years, $45 million 
Bud Norris did an alright job helping the Cardinals in 2018 with high leverage situations, but he’s a free agent and this could be another opportunity for an upgrade. It doesn’t sound like Boston is all that eager to bring back Kimbrel, and if he’s looking for another chance to pitch for a contender, St. Louis could be a good home.

Pnoles: Boston Red Sox – 4 years, $66 million
Craig Kimbrel’s not quite at the level where a qualifying offer tanks his market, but as a closer, it’s not a total afterthought either. The Red Sox surely can look to their AL East rivals and see an incredibly loaded bullpen, and they’ll probably want to be careful to not fall too far behind in the arms race.

Andrew Miller

Josh: New York Mets – 2 years, $22 million
The Mets need bullpen help, and I’m envisioning a reunion with Andrew Miller and Micky Callaway.

Pnoles: Philadelphia Phillies – 3 years, $25 million.
The Phillies could use some bullpen help in their imminent push for contention, and they don’t have much in the way of dominant threats from the left side. Miller’s step-back in performance last season was concerning (he’ll be 34 next year) and I think it will hurt his ultimate price somewhat.

Cody Allen

Josh: Chicago White Sox – 2 years, $16 million
Rick Hahn has made it clear that he’s looking for help with both starting and relief pitching. By signing Cody Allen, manager Rick Renteria has another pitcher paired with Nate Jones that has plenty of experience pitching in mid-to-high leverage situations.

Pnoles: Atlanta Braves – 1 year, $10 million
The Braves could be interested in an experienced right-handed arm for a bullpen that leans more to the left than most. After last season’s struggles, he might seek a 1-year deal to rebuild some value.

David Robertson

Josh: New York Mets – 3 years, $30 million
Representing himself, I’m interested in how this offseason works for David Robertson. I wouldn’t count out a return to the Yankees, or even the White Sox, but the Mets are my destination for Robertson. Any help to support Jacob deGrom could get the Mets above .500 in 2019.

Pnoles: New York Yankees. 3 years, $30 million
David Robertson has been excellent for the Yankees due to his extraordinarily low rate of hits allowed and there’s likely some interest in a reunion as the Bronx Bombers look to keep their legendary bullpen intact.

Mike Moustakas

Josh: Minnesota Twins – 1 year, $9 million
No Eduardo Escobar or Brian Dozier, and I have no idea what’s going on with Miguel Sano, means the Moose will find a home with the Minnesota Twins.

Pnoles: Mike Moustakas – Royals. 1 year, $8 million
There’s no attached qualifying offer this time around, but Mike Moustakas is an unexciting option who wouldn’t add much to any contending rosters of note. There’s no real reason for rebuilding teams, which constitute an alarming percentage of the league, to hand a multi-year deal to an average 30-year-old third baseman. I’m only picking the Royals because he knows from experience that he might simply get dealt somewhere fun again.



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I will take the combo of the Nelson Machado signing and the Pnoles McCutchen signing. Thank you.

Trooper Galactus

I could definitely get on board that train.


I could’ve written the McCutchen section for Pnoles. Also, I listened to Effectively Wild the other day and them dudes think the market for Cutch will soften, which sounds terrific to me, pay less, get more.


Also, i feel the hidden gem of this post is Pnoles securing the 38 year old season of JA Happ. #sarcasm


Oh, Jim, is it cool to bust balls in your house? I don’t want to bring the 108 twitter swagger into your house.

karkovice squad

pnoles’ balls were made for busting. The German language has a compound word for it and everything.

Trooper Galactus

Those balls were made for busting. That’s just what they do.

One of these days them balls are gonna….y’know what, I’m just gonna leave that one alone.


i’m going to say I don’t see the Dodgers signing Harper. Do they really need him at this point? Bellinger, Kemp, Puig, Peterson, Taylor… I’m sure i’m forgetting others. Is andre eithier still hanging around? They just have so many outfielders. Can we trade for Puig if this happens? Or just sign him next offseason.

Greg Nix

I would think the Indians want to cut payroll in any deal. Puig isn’t going to do that. 

Trooper Galactus

Sign him.


It’s too late Josh, that south side BP post has convinced me they need to go hard after both Machado and Harper with the goal of signing both of them. You add effectively 10 WAR to your roster in their primes and enable your surplus of prospects to act as fill in pieces to complement the roster.  You don’t need any of them to become superstars because you’ve already got 2 of them. You can also use your surplus prospect depth to patch holes via trade if needed.

If Moncada, Jimenez, Kopech, and Cease reach their potential you’ve got a WS contender for 6 years. If they don’t you’ve still got a consistent playoff team. 

I see no reason why the Sox couldn’t match Pnoles 10 for 350 number for both of them. 


I don’t think committing $70-$80 million per year to 2 players would be a smart move for the club. We still have too many question marks on the pitching staff and we don’t know what the future holds for C, 1B or CF. Hopefully the prospects develop at C and CF but no certainty. And if they don’t, we won’t have much flexibility to fix it.

I say sign one, leaning Harper for now, then use some of those OF prospects in trades. Move Moncada over to 3B, as his quick twitch athleticism does seem like a better fit for that position, and see if Moncada and Madigal can pan out. Signing Harper would allow us to trade from the deepest position in our farm system for MLB ready pieces to fill in the last holes of our line up.


That’s a fair point and I think we both agree they need to add at least 70M in payroll for 2019. The question is whether that’s spent best on Machado and Harper or something like Machado/Harper, Eovaldi, Familia etc. 

I do think that signing Harper and Machado would be provide such a surplus of positive media for the Sox that you’re likely increasing revenues and exposure to the point that topping out at 127M payroll like with the 2011 team. So that 70M on two players wouldn’t be as restrictive. Signing two superstars like that completely changes the perception of the organization overnight. 

Either way, the more superstars you have in the fold the less pressure there is on players like Moncada, Jimenez, Kopech, and Cease to be saviors. They become complimentary pieces with tremendous upside.


See: Bregman, Alex


I really believe the Sox will sign one of Machado/Harper. As great as it would be to have both, I think using that other money to sign Corbin or Eovaldi, a stud relief pitcher, and another bat would be a better use of resources. Then use Madrigal and some of the outfield depth to get Merrifield from KC. Now you’re talking about a contender in the Central!


The amount of goodwill they can build by finally signing a tier 1 free agent is enormous


Absolutely. Can you imagine the ticket sales that would happen after they announce one of those signings?

lil jimmy

White Sox did a lot better here than MLB Rumors. Sign them all,I say.

As Cirensica

Pnoles, how does the signing of Happ and McCutchen fit into the rebuilding process? They, alone, won’t make the White Sox contenders…please don’t bring the “White Sox will pursue Arenado next year” when that might not even be possible.

I would love to see McCutchen here (Tired of the crappy OF we ride everyday), but he and Happ are old. Tying big money to old players early on the window of contention can’t be good.

This is what I predict the White Sox will sign. They will sign Machado. If they don’t, they should just not spend anything this year other than one year contracts, maybe 2 years. Having Harper is nice, but this team has a plethora of outfielders, unless Hahn plans to trade some of them, having Harper means we have just one OF opening, and he better bring the leather because with Harper and Eloy, our defense is gonna be bad.

Only Machado makes long term sense to this team. Even if he is the only one we sign. If Hahn fails to sign him, he should resign.


“Only Machado makes long term sense to this team. Even if he is the only one we sign. If Hahn fails to sign him, he should resign.“

I believe not landing any tier 1 free agents would be a failure but you can’t say a GM should resign if he doesn’t get a specific player.  If Machado doesn’t want to be here Hahn can’t necessarily change is mind, that is why you have to cast a wide net and go after both.

As Cirensica

You are right. If a player don’t want to sign, regardless of money, there is nothing Hahn can do.

karkovice squad

At this point we’ve have had repeated failures to sign players they pursued, not just 1. At some point it’s going to become reasonable to question whether that has something to do with the front office.


The question is whether that is Hahn or Jerry not be willing to all the way on money?


Sadly it could also be the fact that us fans don’t pack that stadium on a nightly basis. The lack of a crowd, and funds, has been a sore subject for this team for a while.

karkovice squad

The fans packed the stadium when the team was winning. So fuck that noise.


The Sox were 17th in fan attendance in 2005 and haven’t been over 2 mil since 2011. I agree that becoming a winning team will help that, not my point.

The fact that the fan base hasn’t showing strong support for years (ticket wise) can factor into a FA looking at where to sign. That factors into things like an organization’s willingness to spend to compete, endorsements, and national coverage.

There are a lot of factors FA have to think about when signing. Money is the biggest factor but how much do the Sox have to over pay to make those factors irrelevant?

karkovice squad

Declining attendance is a league-wide problem.

They drew 500k more fans in ’05 than ’04. And in 2006 they drew another 500k to rank 9th. The point being that Sox fans are responsive to the quality of the product on the field.

Moreover, they’re responsive to even potential on-field improvement like the season ticket bumps following the Robertson/Cabrera and Frazier moves.

So like I was saying.


If they sign Machado (or Harper), I can’t believe they’d stop there. Hahn has talked a lot about adding to the pitching staff, both starters and relievers. I think they will add one of Corbin/Eovaldi/Keuchel/Ryu/Kikuchi, then a reliever like Kelly/Familia/Herrera.

Eagle Bones

I hope suspect and hope you’re right and the thing that would make guys like Happ and McCutchen make sense is the likelihood that the Machado and Harper back and forth will probably go later into the offseason as they angle for these enormous deals. The Sox can’t just sit out the offseason waiting for those guys to make a call and then be left with nothing at the end if they decide to go elsewhere. They’re going to need to add other pieces like you said anyway. So go ahead and add a couple of these guys and show Machado and Harper you’re serious about winning. If one of them signs, great. If not, you’ve filled a couple of holes now and hopefully will be able to bring in Rendon or Arenado (along with a couple more additions) next year.


You’re right. Machado and Harper will probably not sign until early 2019. This gives the Sox an advantage to show them they are serious by making moves before that. Showing that they are serious about trying to win in 2019 can only help negotiations with them.

As Cirensica

Harper is a Boras client. Boras big tickets always sign later. I expect Harper to sign in Feb


Harper is signing at the winter meetings in vegas. I would bet big on that. Boras client or not Vegas is Harper’s home town. And i’ll be at the Mandalay Bay when he arrives!


Yeah I think you are on the right track here. I don’t know if he will sign at the Winter meetings but I tend to think this wont get as drawn out as other Boras negotiations. The Nationals reportedly put 300 million on the table before he even hit free agency so I suspect other teams wont dick around and put large deals on the table fairly quickly.

lil jimmy

Two starters,and not “get me over” starters like Holland, Shields and Miggy. That plus an impact bat would greatly improve the 2019 team


I think Happ fits. This year, Shields is presumably gone and we lost another guy expected to start for the year before it even began with Kopech’s TJ surgery. We have no idea what if anything Giolito will be. Lopez looked better the last couple of months, but still remains to be seen whether he continues to improve, or reverts back to what he was earlier in the season when he walked plenty and his K-rate wasn’t all that good. Hansen’s at least a year out if ever. Dunning missed the back half of the year with elbow problems. So right now, all we really have written in ink in the rotation are Rodon and Lopez. Signing Happ still leaves two rotation slots to give guys their shot this year.

Patrick Nolan

It was an acknowledgement that the White Sox don’t always do what makes the most sense, or that which makes the most sense isn’t always possible for the White Sox.

Put more simply, I do not think that their current offseason strategy is “sign JA Happ and Andrew McCutchen.”

As Cirensica

Put more simply, I do not think that their current offseason strategy is “sign JA Happ and Andrew McCutchen.”

Oh God…I do hope so!

karkovice squad

If Arenado isn’t available, Anthony Rendon probably will be. He’s not a bad plan C. They aren’t lacking for options behind Macharper monster.

Some longer deals for other players as part of a multi-year plan might make sense even if Macharper or 1-year contracts are more optimal. And, if the market allows, creative option and incentive clauses can limit the risk.

Eagle Bones

I’m not sure why he keeps saying this about Arenado. Yes, theoretically any player could sign an extension, but all the indicators on Arenado seem to be pointing towards him testing FA. Also, no one is advocating sitting out the Machado market, he’s just another option if they can’t make that happen.

As Cirensica

I keep saying that because if a GM is constructing a rebuild plan around a “what if”, then we are screwed.

Eagle Bones

They’re rumored to be interested in Machado and Harper. What about that indicates they are planning to wait on Arenado and are putting all of their eggs in that basket?


I’ve heard Rockies fans talk about Arenado’a preference to play close to home, which would mean the Sox could be at a disadvantage against the Angels and Dodgers. Maybe the Giants, too, unless they bow out of contention altogether, or Arenado doesn’t like them after growing up a SoCal baseball fan, but still.

As Cirensica

Also, I am actually not a big fan of Arenado. He will cost a lot of money and his offensive numbers outside the Coors Field are quite pedestrian (just slightly better than Yolmer)

Eagle Bones

That’s been pretty roundly proven to be a cause of playing home games at Coors (it’s been referred to as the “Coors Hangover”) and does not carry over when players leave the Rox. Look at the overall wRC+/OPS+ numbers. Those are league and park dependent.


I’m glad you mentioned Rendon. I think he represents smarter money than Arenado in 2020. Looking at splits over the last couple years, he hits significantly better at parks not named Coors.  Arenado is younger, but only by about 10 months. Arenado does however have 6 gold gloves in 6 seasons. Rendon would cost a fraction what Arenado would I’m guessing. 

Eagle Bones

A fraction? I think teams know Rendon is really good at this point.

As Cirensica

Rendon might end up being more expensive than Arenado. My bet they will cost around the same.


Maybe “a fraction” is the wrong way to put it. But I think he’ll cost less, and he’s the guy I’d rather have. Another thing that struck me is that Rendon  committed only 22 errors over the last three years while the perennial GG committed 36 (over 250 additional innings). I know that’s far from the only way to measure a player defensively, but I’m just saying I don’t feel they are that far apart. 

Eagle Bones

He may get less, but I don’t think it’s going to be by a significant amount (unless he tanks for some reason this year). As is being discussed above re: not waiting on Arenado, if they miss out on Machado, I would hope they’d pursue both of these guys next year (to maximize their chances of getting one of them).

jose robcada

i believe they will go all in on harper and machado is considered a consolation prize… i understand that we have a ton of outfield talent in the minors atm, but harper would bring so much dang hype to the team nationally increasing revenue by so much that his biggest benefit is we can finally stop acting like midmarket team and test luxury tax range from increased revenues… if we truly believe that these outfield prospects can be stars then harper can switch to 1b when those guys come up… if they dont get harper they will just sign a few pitchers and conitnue rebuild… at this point ive soured on machado if he wont play 3rd base… if hes cool playing 3rd then great but lets be honest tim anderson is already a better ss than machado based on last years metrics (2nd half)

jose robcada

not to mention after this last postseason there is no friggin way machado fits in with the rickys boys dont quit,hustle or be benched moniker… at this point i see machado as a guy with huge offensive talent that doesnt have the fight to play for a contender and thinks that he deserves to play ss because he likes it even tho he blows at the position vs playing 3b where he can be considered elite… he reminds me of john wall, massive talent but doesnt care enough to fight for what really matters… at least harper always shows that fight to win

karkovice squad

at least harper always* shows that fight to win

*apart from in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018

They both have repeatedly failed to hustle. Which means they both have potential conflicts with Ricky. The postseason is just fresh in everyone’s mind.


These guys are incredible talents. Did you watch Machado in the playoffs? Bunting to get on base, diving headfirst into 3rd going first to third on a single to left. Who cares if they don’t run full out on routine grounders? Have you watched recently? Hardly anybody does. Only guys like Adam Engel who get hits so infrequently that they need those to get above .200. I’ll take Machado and/or Harper any day of the week over no talent guys who bust it down the line all the time. And if Ricky can’t manage guys like that, then get somebody who can.

karkovice squad

I’m just saying that they both have reputations for not hustling. So it’s not a reason to prefer 1 over the other. It’s something disqualifying or to be ignored for both of them equally.

(And for the record, Machado watched a fly ball hit the top of the wall instead of running it out, turning extra bases into the longest single not hit by Konerko. And had other lapses that had Friedman answering questions.)


I choose to ignore it. They are both all-world talents. We need that on the South Side.


I agree Karko. If they they take one, who should it be?  Do we pass? Just asking. 
Probably not hapenining anyway, but maybe. Need maybe one big-time position player signing this winter?

karkovice squad

I don’t think either is the wrong choice but I’d go Machado. I laid out my thinking in the BA thread: https://soxmachine.com/2018/11/08/baseball-america-kicks-off-white-sox-prospect-ranking-season/#comment-18304


The F/O has built our hopes up with these statements/rumors. If they haven’t made any major moves by late January, I’d hate to be Rick Hahn at Soxfest.


Maybe the Sox should trade for Kris Bryant so he and Harper can be teammates in Chicago, just as everyone has been predicting for years: Link


Thanks, guys! That was a great read. 

Question for anyone: 
If the Sox were to sign Machado, McCutcheon, Happ and Allen would they be favored to win the division? Would they win it? 

I think they would still need more pitching, and it would depend on what Cleveland does.

lil jimmy

I’d say no, on both counts.
I wouldn’t mind though.
Something we don’t talk about, the average payroll this year is 138 million. We could spend 80 million to get to the average.


Exactly. They have a TON of payroll space and if you sign someone like Harper you can drop Avi’s 8M salary for even more room.

The other thing is they don’t need to be a contender in ‘19. They just need to take a big step towards competitiveness. They have the resources to do that. While still likely staying flexible for next offseason as well.

jose robcada

maybe they compete for it, but still i believe the window doesnt offically start until lubob is starting in cf and kopech is back which should be about the same time… p.s. please do not sign mccutechen, that regression is blatantly obvious