Ken Rosenthal uncorked rumor season for the White Sox on Monday, and he didn’t back off the Manny Machado trail after sleeping on it a little.
In fact, he expounded upon the notion. After giving it part of a paragraph on his first column, he devoted a whole section to it this morning, saying the upcoming TV negotiations could be the way to justify a spending spree:
For one thing, the White Sox are coming off their sixth straight losing season, and second straight with 95 or more defeats. They have minimal contractual commitments in 2019 and beyond. And they are due to sign a new local TV contract, the kind that often prompts clubs to spend more freely.
The partnership between the White Sox, Cubs, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks with NBC Sports Chicago includes only one more guaranteed year, sources told The Athletic. The White Sox then expect to enter into a joint venture with the Bulls and Blackhawks, be it with NBC Sports Chicago, a different media distribution partner or perhaps even a private equity firm.
It makes a fair amount of sense. While the splurge usually comes after the TV deal, the White Sox are far below their historical payroll commitments, and they’d probably want to stoke some interest in the product, given that the White Sox had the league’s worst TV ratings last year. (A partnership with the Bulls and Blackhawks doesn’t sound all that enticing at the moment, especially with the Hawks firing Joel Quenneville this morning.)
One way or another, it’s in the White Sox’ interest to establish an upswing this season. It shouldn’t be hard — throw Eloy Jimenez with Yoan Moncada, Reynaldo Lopez and (hopefully) Lucas Giolito going into their second full seasons, and maybe that’s enough to get to 70+ wins without any drastic changes. But with Jose Abreu hitting free agency after next season and Avisail Garcia potentially earlier, they’ll have payroll space for an in-his-prime centerpiece.
Hell, Jon Morosi of MLB.com went beyond Rosenthal:
After the Phillies, the White Sox are perhaps the best candidate to pursue both Machado and Harper — although there’s no guarantee they will land either. At present, the White Sox have the second-lowest payroll commitment of any MLB team for 2019. With Jose Abreu entering his final season before free agency, the White Sox need a new face of the franchise. Chicago’s affinity for Machado is well-established, as it pursued him via the trade market last offseason.
I’m guessing you’ll hear the White Sox involved in a lot of rumor mills, regardless of whether they’re actually interested. There’s just so much money available.
* * * * * * * * *
A couple more items:
*The Baseball Hall of Fame released its 10-player Today’s Game Era ballot, which gives former Sox like Harold Baines and Albert Belle a second chance at induction after falling off the ballot. I wouldn’t count either as likely, but they stand out on a pretty weak ballot. George Steinbrenner is the only one who really rises above the rest, but he also has tons of baggage.
*For those offseason planners who had Sonny Gray on their rosters, Brian Cashman made it pretty clear he’s available:
“We are going to move him if we get the right deal because I don’t think it is going to work out in The Bronx,” Cashman told me Monday at the GM Meetings. “I don’t feel like we can go through the same exercise and expect different results.”
Harold Baines is Tony LaRussa’s guy. I hope tony calls in every favor he has to get this done. Jon Heyman even said Harold is deserving on MLB Network! This may be the year! Come on Harold!
Also, convert on these god damn free agents for once let’s fucking gooooooo
Coaching the same NHL team for a decade is a remarkable achievement. I suspect Quennville’s firing is not the last major change for the Blackhawks this season.
I love that I first heard about this on a White Sox blog. Of course, I’ve been following election stuff this morning, not sports, so.
Trying to avoid that news until dusk, aside from being able to report my precinct was absolutely packed at 8:30 this morning.
Same here. Typically I’m between voter 5-10 in my ward, and I was 65th today, 15 minutes after polls opened.
I’m going to be paying very close attention to your ward, Ted.
We’re the best ward in Oshkosh! Seriously, though, I’ll be curious to see what the final tally is. My wife voted about a half hour later and was in the 200s. The poll workers were evidently saying they didn’t usually reach those numbers until mid-afternoon.
I always go late morning to avoid whatever line there is. It will be interesting to see what it will be today.
Let us know what your experience is. I’m very curious.
No line at noon at my polling place. But I’m in a district/ward that has no real contested races, so I’m not sure that’s indicative of anything.
I always show up when the doors open at 6 am. I was 15th in line and by the time I finished with my ballot the line was out the front door.
I highly recommend vote by mail. It’s breathtaking.
Worked until 1 am, slept until 7:30, went to training for a couple hours, then hit my polling place after around 11:30. Plenty of people, but no line. Was similar experience in 2016.
Has a GM ever been so open about wanting to trade one of his players the way Cashman has with Gray? Wait.. going to answer my own question: KW with Jon Rauch. Still, this feels pretty brazen for Cashman.
Cashman’s comments won’t improve his value, that’s for sure. I believe Gray will be in Chicago shortly.
That’s what’s odd about it for me. Cashman is typically so measured and reserved in these situations. Why would he go out of his way to diminish his player’s value? (Granted, it’s low to begin with.) Does he think going public will incite more teams’ interest and ultimately improve his return?
I think he’s conceded that he lacks leverage, and he might want to move Gray before the tender deadline to free up the roster spot faster.
Every team is theoretically involved right now and can still non-tender a player they may not want if they fill that rotation spot with Gray.
Maybe not GM, but I remember the Padres owner not being happy with James Shields.
Yeah, poor guy had to settle for some nobody prospect as a result.
A favorite comment on Harold, and I forget who called him this, was I think in his age 40 season and he was killing the ball in Baltimore, and someone referred to him as “The Dick Clark of DH”
The White Sox haven’t made a good baseball move in a half decade, just saw their star pitcher win the WS with another team, have struggled to developed players, & have fallen into 5th place in the Chicago sports scene… this strikes me more of “HEY LOOK AT US” than actual smoke.
Typically “good baseball move”s take about five years to really play out…let’s compare Adam Eaton in three years against Giolito, Lopez, and Dunning. Or, 2022 Quintana vs Eloy and Cease.
I agree that there might not be legitimate smoke here, and in truth, who’s to say locking up these two guys for well over half a billion dollars will even be worth it?
Trying not to let myself get too excited based on some random high-level rumors… but it is nice to at least hear that there seems to be thinking in the industry that they’re going to spend.
rumors are fun.
screw it, sign both harper and machado. and low ball trades for sonny gray and kyle seager. in all seriousness, i would love it if the white sox went guns blazing in free agency
Remember when we thought the White Sox might actually hold off on evaluating Renteria? NOT A CHANCE.
Why do we like this team?
LOL funny, joke franchise, results mean god damn nothing
The results don’t even bother me with him (yet), it’s the way he actually manages the team.
This. Renteria has demonstrated a disturbing lack of concern with proven statistical realities in the game.
Or doing asinine things like benching a player recovering from a knee injury for not running out an infield fly ball.
Maybe he benched the player for not being 100% truthful to him when he asked if he was good to play.
You think he was surprised to learn that Avi had been playing hurt all season?
Same can be said from Hahn. Sometimes, I actually miss Kevin Williams
I ask myself this every day
That seals it. Sox supporter for 60 years. I’m out of here.
How ’bout them Brewers?!
How would partnering with a private equity firm for their new TV deal work, you suppose?
Something like Toys R Us or Sears would be my guess.
TODAY I LEARNED THAT A HISTORY OF WINNING GAMES IS A BAD WAY TO KEEP GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT AS A SPORTS COACH IN FUCKING CHICAGO
Winning coaches can’t possibly understand the lessons learned from losing. And isn’t that what is truly important?