A summary of the White Sox rumor mill to date

(Keith Allison / Flickr)

The window for reheating Thanksgiving leftovers is still alive and well, with several permutations of turkey-based meals still on the board (I wish I’d seen the crunchwrap idea before my last trip to the store).

Also on the board: Just about every free agent of note.

The hot stove isn’t quite cold, although the activity is padded by free agents remaining with their teams (Steve Pearce, CC Sabathia, Adam Wainwright, Hyun-Jin Ryu). Outside of the Nationals, who worked to add Kurt Suzuki and Trevor Rosenthal, teams have been slow to dive into the pool.

Perhaps front offices will join the rest of the population in excessive shopping now that Thanksgiving is out of the way. As we wait for the rumors to pick up, we may as well reheat previous White Sox rumors to gather everything into one place.

Manny Machado

Jon Morosi established the White Sox’ interest at the start of the offseason, tracing it back to the rumors of a Sox-Orioles trade last winter.

It’s been dormant since. Machado’s camp seems like it’s still in the process of setting up his market, as evidenced by Machado’s backtracking on his “Johnny Hustle” comments.

“When I was asked that question, I was definitely on the defensive, and I was wrong to answer it the way that I did, because looking back, it doesn’t come across how I meant it,” Machado said. “For me, I was trying to talk about how I’m not the guy who is eye wash. There’s a difference between fake hustle for show and being someone who tries hard to win. I’ve always been the guy who does whatever he can to win for his team.

“But I know how I said it and how that came across, and it’s something I take responsibility for. I look forward to talking with each GM and owner that we meet with about that, or any other questions they have.”

Machado’s comments were ill-advised no matter which way you approach the issue. Under normal circumstances one might give him credit for honesty, but the World Series is a bad time to invite and give oxygen to the effort question. It also showed bad business sense, since it gave teams one way to impugn his track record, whether during bargaining or PR.

The White Sox haven’t been specifically tied to Machado, but neither has any other team in any meaningful way to this point. Rick Hahn talked about Machado in a roundabout way while affirming the culture established by Rick Renteria.

“Not going to talk about any individual guys,” Hahn said, wise to the fact that “a potential addition” was this writer’s hastily crafted code for Manny Machado. “I will say that Ricky has created a culture of accountability in that clubhouse and one that we think is important and going to continue going forward. He’s gotten a great deal of buy-in from players that were here from the start as well as the players that we’ve acquired since then. Buying into that culture is important.”

Bryce Harper

Morosi also tied the White Sox to Harper in the same breath (or sentence) as Machado, and this has advanced a step further thanks to public sightings of the No. 34 a couple weeks ago. The White Sox apparently staged a presentation for him at the United Center, and Michael Kopech shared that he was fine giving up his number despite his tattoo.

Harper also professed his love for Chicago food, which is giving this whole thing a Torii Hunter “the grass runs true” vibe. But given the very public natures of both Harper and Scott Boras, I imagine even the winner of Harper’s services is going to feel strung along.

Aside No. 1: It also reminds me a little of the White Sox’ failed pursuit of Alex Rodriguez in Kenny Williams’ first offseason, which kinda poisoned the well between the Sox and Boras (dust off your copy of White Sox Outsider 2011). They’ve worked better together since, at least if Carlos Rodon’s career to date is any indication. I don’t think the White Sox would’ve regretted a megacontract for Rodriguez, although winning the World Series without him makes alternative histories kinda pointless.

Aside No. 2: Machado wears No. 13, which is a number the White Sox have steered players away from since Ozzie Guillen remains in this weird limbo territory. I can’t imagine the Sox would let that get in the way, but still.

Nelson Cruz

I like Cruz as a hitter, even as a 38-year-old hitter, but I don’t like the idea of locking in the DH spot as a primary item of offseason business. Maybe the White Sox don’t either, but they’ve been connected in individual rumors by Jons Morosi and Heyman.

Michael Brantley

Brantley did not receive a qualifying offer from the Indians, so it makes sense that his market would develop faster than others. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Paul Hoynes said the White Sox are on him:

Brantley has reportedly received offers from Atlanta, Philadelphia and the White Sox. The Indians did not offer Brantley a one-year $17.9 qualifying offer on Friday.

As long as Brantley and/or Harper remain possibilities, this is why I’d rather keep the DH spot open.

Nathan Eovaldi

The White Sox were included in the list of teams interested in acquiring Eovaldi, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo on Nov. 17.

The early suitors are the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, Angels, Red Sox, White Sox, Blue Jays, Padres, and Giants. There’s likely to be more. Eovaldi would love to stay in Boston and the Red Sox will take their best shot.

I don’t give Cafardo rumors a lot of weight, but this one seems as accurate as it is harmless, given the White Sox’ pitching needs and the amount of competition.

Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ

Again, Morosi is the main rumormonger here:

It makes sense for the White Sox to cast a wide net since a lot of pitchers can help their situation, but that also means the Sox can find upgrades whether they strike quickly or wait for bargains.

Yasmani Grandal

Receiving issues notwithstanding, the White Sox have two MLB-caliber catchers in the fold with Welington Castillo and Omar Narvaez. Both struggled behind the plate, and so a framing-first catcher has some appeal. White Sox fans can see it, and so apparently can others around the league, at least according to Buster Olney:

Grandal might be the best accessible catcher available in the market. One team that might be a wild card in the bidding for Grandal, some executives believe, is the Chicago White Sox, who have lots of available catchers and a desire to add a big name. There is skepticism the White Sox will, in the end, land either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, and Grandal might be the next-best position player fit for the White Sox, if they believe Grandal is the right guy to work with a very young group of starting pitchers.

I think that about sums up the tangible ties to date on the open market. If I missed any, let me know and I’ll add them. And on the subject of Narvaez, James Fegan wrote his origin story at The Athletic, and it’s worth your time.

Author

  • Jim Margalus

    Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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MrTopaz

Regarding leftovers: The last couple of years, my Mom has taken to putting all/most of the leftovers into a baking dish lined and covered with rolled-out crescent rolls (or some other dough, but she’s landed on this, as it seems to give the best results) and make a big thanksgiving pot pie casserole. It’s a remarkably efficient way of using up leftovers, and tasty as hell.

Anyway, I think the Sox should go crazy and sign both Machado and Harper, and one of Keuchel, Happ or Eovaldi. And also somehow cast a spell on the Mets so they trade Syndergaard. Thank you for coming to my abridged offseason plan/TED talk.

Ted Mulvey

+1 on the Thanksgiving casserole idea. My wife did that for the first time this year, and it was awesome.

MrTopaz

Oh, man. It’s dee-lish.

ParisSox

+2 on the off-season plan. 

asinwreck

I had not realized that John Tumminia retired at the end of the season until I read James Fegan’s story on Narvaez.

asinwreck

Oh yes. That would certainly increase the number of Cyclones games I see each season.

Willardmarshall

Thanks for continuing to run out every grounder in the offseason….

Jer-in-Az

For me the “Johnny Hustle” comments or actuality are a non-factor.  I don’t really want $30+ million a year players running through walls to shag a fly/foul ball.  I guess busting out a grounder or short fly may result in a few more hits a year, but I have no doubt in a meaningful at bat Machado makes it down the line as fast as he can. 

metasox

Maybe he just has a very high standard for “meaningful” at bats.
BTW, will Sox Machine be taking a look at Rule 5 eligibles the Sox may consider.

Jer-in-Az

Truthfully, 2 outs in the sixth, even being a 1 run game is not that meaningful of an at bat in the grand scheme of a game. Obviously a HR would be a meaningful outcome, but being on second instead of first in that situation doesn’t tip the scales that greatly into the favor of scoring a run.

metasox

I can understand a guy wanting to keep something in the tank during the season. But the whole point is to have something for when it matters – like the post season.

Yolmer

I wonder if they think Cruz can play some in the outfield or anything.

Question: if the Sox miss on Machado and Harper, do you think it would be worth it to sign Brantley, Corbin, Donaldson, Pollack, and a bullpen arm. MLB TradeRumors Sox preview said the Sox could do this without going above historic payroll levels. I am subbing Brantley and Donaldson for a Machado or Harper contract.

yinkadoubledare

“Machado wears No. 13”

So ill-advised comments like his Johnny Hustle would fit right in to that number in the Sox uniform!