Following up: James McCann is officially on board

Plus: Manny Machado meets with the Yankees, a new posting system for Cuba and a massive winter league brawl

After several days of suspense, the White Sox finally made it official: James McCann is on board for one year and $2.5 million.

The press release didn’t include a quote from Rick Hahn explaining the virtues of the move, but it did note that the White Sox drafted McCann out of high school in the 31st round back in 2008. He attended the University of Arkansas instead.

The 40-man roster is now at 40 for the first time this winter, which means any future moves will require and equal an opposite reaction to free up a spot. Unless the White Sox and Cubs want to keep playing hot potato with Ian Clarkin — which would be great — Ryan Cordell and Charlie Tilson look like the most vulnerable.

* * * * * * * * *

Manny Machado took his free agency tour to New York on Wednesday, where he went to Yankee Stadium after a 90-minute meeting.

While the Yankees have tried to downplay their interest and leverage Machado’s “Johnny Hustle” quote against him, it appears that Machado indeed received a sales pitch.

Jon Heyman said the Yankees contingent wined and dined with Machado, his wife, and his agent Dan Lozano. Bob Nightengale said the Yankees are “enamored” with Machado and “believe him to be a perfect fit.” The Phillies will meet with Machado on Thursday, and Heyman says there are no mystery teams afterward.

And while there’s only one Yonder Alonso to go around, the Yankees might have countered the White Sox’ trade for Machado’s brother-in-law by adding Carlos Beltran to their front office. Beltran is also represented by Lozano.

* * * * * * * * *

Major League Baseball and Cuba have agreed on a posting system that resembles the agreements in Japan and South Korea, in an attempt to end the trafficking schemes that Cuba’s top talent has been subjected to over the years. Via USA Today:

MLB said the agreement stipulates the Cuban baseball federation must release all players under contract who are at least 25 and have at least six or more years of playing service.

It also has the option of releasing younger players to sign wtih major league clubs. The player may negotiate and sign with any major league club wtihout leaving Cuba. The signing team will pay a posting fee to the Cuban federation, not unlike fees paid for players moving from Japan to MLB. 

It doesn’t entirely solve the issue of players defecting, and doing so through dangerous channels, but it gives Cubans a cleaner, sanctioned path to the big leagues without defecting.

It still has to gain approval from the Trump administration, as it hinges on him maintaining the Obama-era warming of relations with Cuba. The USA Today story also contains a strong, adverse reaction from a Cuban-American U.S. representative, so there are probably a lot of dynamics I’m not aware of.

Jose Abreu, who had to testify in a trial that involved the method by which he smuggled into the United States, welcomed the development:

“Words cannot fully express my heartfelt joy and excitement in learning that Rob Manfred and Tony Clark have reached an agreement with the Cuban Baseball Federation. Knowing that the next generation of Cuban baseball players will not endure the unimaginable fate of past Cuban players is the realization of an impossible dream for all of us. Dealing with the exploitation of smugglers and unscrupulous agencies will finally come to an end for the Cuban baseball player. To this date, I am still harassed. The next generation of Cuban baseball players will be able to sign an MLB contract while in Cuba, they will be able to keep their earnings as any other player in the world, they will be able to return to Cuba, they will be able to share with their families, and they will be able to play the sport they love against the best players in the world without fear and trepidation. Great day for Cuban baseball players. Congratulations and thank you to MLB, the MLBPA, and the Cuban Baseball Federation.”

* * * * * * * * *

Down in the Venezuelan Winter League, things got out of hand.

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Jim Margalus
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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Everyone seems to be on the McCann sucks train, and while he probably was the worst option of the FA’s, has anyone seen the Royals roster? Gore, Hamilton, Mondesi, Merrifield? Gonna need McCann just for those games.

Trooper Galactus

I don’t see how the Royals being a dumpster fire is an argument for signing the worst available option to fill a need and take a roster spot. He offers zero value in the present and future, barring some sort of renaissance season. Still plenty of time in the offseason to go, but right now he’s looking like the “Seby Zavala will be here soon” option, which is decidedly bad.


I don’t have a huge problem with the “Seby Zavala placeholder” option. I do have a problem with paying the “Seby Zavala placeholder” option 5x the minimum.

Trooper Galactus

This assumes Seby Zavala is a safe option, really. I wasn’t sure the verdict was really in on that.


Well its a joke that I didn’t realize I’d have to explain, but if you don’t know what those four players do really well, its steal a ton of bases. What McCann does really well is stop people from stealing bases.

lil jimmy

Some of us got it.


If signing one of the worst catchers in the game is the Sox’s strategy for beating one of the worst teams in the game, god have mercy on this franchise.


To beat your enemy, you must become your enemy. *sucks at baseball for a generation*

Trooper Galactus

Sorry, I didn’t catch that. And it’s a pretty crummy reason to sign McCann regardless.

As Cirensica

The Venezuela brawl was incredibly shameful. It shows the destruction of civil values in a country govern by organized crime for about 20 years. It was worse, because while players were brawling some youth fans jumped in to the field to steal some players gloves while others were being “entertained” with the fight.

The country I abandoned in 2000 was so different to the Venezuela of today. Among friends I called it Mad-Maxzuela because that’s what is becoming. A country where only the survival of the fittest is the law. This year. my last sibling left Venezuela thankfully. We are 7 siblings, and all of us live outside Venezuela. We are all spread around in the world, but out of that hellhole. You just can’t live decently there anymore.


That 1,000,000% inflation rate doesn’t exactly bode well


Bernie sanders told me it would be a progressive socialist utopia, are you calling him a liar?


Why bring politics into this?

lil jimmy

In Improv we call that a “lay-on.”

Lurker Laura

I always appreciate your insight into your home country.


Glad that you and your siblings were able to get out.


The trivia about having previously drafted McCann makes it sound like someone who had scouted him took pity, and the Sox had an opening. Or perhaps Kenny always gets his man.

I suppose this means they weren’t in on Grandal. Hopefully that means they expect his decline will match up with their window. Otherwise, this could all be something boring, like another pro scouting failure.

Yolmer's gatorade

McCann is totally a Kenny always gets his man thing. Whatever, it’s probably a bad idea, but the Sox are rebuilding. Maybe they do have some insight from scouting him that unlocks some value.


“After several days of suspense” . . .

I know I’ve been holding my breath for this.

As Cirensica

Let’s play a prediction game:

Who signs first?



Machado signs on Dec 22
Harper signs on Feb 5



Machado on Jan. 5. Harper on Jan. 24. Just in time to be introduced at Soxfest.


Think you nailed it here. No way does Boras go beforehand.

Speaking of Soxfest, am I the only one here a little surprised Eloy is going? If the org screwed with my money like that and wanted me to come to Chicago in the middle of winter to make them autograph, I’d tell them to gtfoh. In reality, I would actually have my agent send a release to both the FO and media saying helping the team on the field will always be my goal, and because of that, I’m unable to make the convention. I will be busy that weekend tightening up my defense.

As Cirensica

Young players are dying to go to these things/events, to play in the majors, to be part of it…they forget easily these grievances….for a while at least.

Divas will act like you describe over there. Eloy isn’t one (yet)


Yes, being bothered by someone transparently suppressing your wages for their own personal benefit definitely makes you a diva.

lil jimmy

What the Sox are doing is not personal or mean spirited. It’s using the current format to their best result. It’s not personal. We are also told, he was offered a contract. I would guess many millions were offered. A deal may still be struck.
His future is bright.


Let’s go Machado on the 23rd of December. Once Harper sees the number he has to beat, he’ll sign pretty quickly: January 4. They’ll both be in the fold for Soxfest.