Today’s installment of WHITE ON BRYCE: SOX PURSUE HARPER:
Aagent to the stars Scott Boras ascended platform in front of a festive Christmas tree at the winter meetings in Las Vegas to give the state of Bryce Harper’s free agency, along with other issues of the day.
The White Sox remain very present, but unfortunately, he saved his best metaphor for the Yankees.
“… When the nurse walks in the room with a thermometer, the issue is not what the thermometer says that day. The issue is, what’s the health of the patient when they’re ready to leave the hospital? And [the Yankees] are not ready to leave the hospital yet.”
After which Brian Cashman answered with one of his own:
“I don’t have any reaction other than to say we try to promote that we are a progressive and open-minded operation and that every day is different, that we are prepared to pivot and react if things change, if the rosters adjust,” Cashman said. “If something doesn’t make sense today, it doesn’t mean it won’t make sense tomorrow. All I can tell you is where our current focuses are. But at the same time, we’re a fully operational Death Star.”
As for the White Sox, Boras’ comments didn’t require an English degree to parse. He made no reference to his rocky history with Jerry Reinsdorf, saying they have “a very respectful relationship.” He also said that Harper is well-versed in what every interested team’s future forecast looks like, which supposedly opens the door to a latent contender like the Sox.
The combination of the White Sox’ financial flexibility and desire seem to make this eminently possible. The White Sox’ history — the 10-year postseason drought and inability or unwillingness to close contracts more than $68 million — still remain as reasons for pause. It’s up to you, the intensely interested third party, to decide how to weigh them.
I suppose you can look at Jim Bowden, who put the White Sox as his front-runner, but I haven’t been able to take him seriously since the “Ralph” escapade. When it comes to White Sox matters, Bob Nightengale is basically a vessel for the White Sox front office, so this means more:
Reinsdorf and Boras have already spoken twice by phone about the 2015 NL MVP. […]
Still, the White Sox are making it known they want to be big-time players, meeting in person with Harper for five hours on Nov. 19, with White Sox vice president Ken Williams, general manager Rick Hahn and Hall of Famer Jim Thome in attendance. Yet, Reinsdorf was not at the meeting, and still has not granted permission for Williams and Hahn to negotiate a contract.
* * * * * * * * *
The reactions to Harold Baines’ surprising election to the Hall of Fame are slowing in frequency and intensity, but two fresh ones stand out for different reasons
At Deadspin, Steven Goldman details the Hall of Fame’s history of swinging between extremes, which resulted in “fame” gaps over its history.
Post-Frisch, Hall managers tried to rein in the Committee by trying different, theoretically more discerning incarnations; the TGEC is the latest of these. The ongoing expansion of the Baines Zone shows they have failed. In the final analysis, the Hall of Fame is a museum, and museums tell stories. Even the Hall of Fame gallery, where the plaques are hung apart from the bat, ball, and uniform exhibits, purports to tell a story. It goes, in short, here are the best players ever to play American baseball. Because that collection consists almost entirely of players below the Ruth/Mays level, the Hall has always invoked cognitive dissonance—we read “Hall of Fame” to mean Hall of Great, or Hall of Exceptional Accomplishment. But we haven’t defined those terms very rigorously, which means it can also be the Hall of Some of Us Really Like Jack Morris.
And then there’s Tony La Russa, whose reaction to criticism on live TV suggests both that he might’ve been a stronger force in the room than Reinsdorf, and that Baines’ election was more emotional than rational.
My stance is still “Good for Harold.”
* * * * * * * * *
*The Rays signed Charlie Morton to an eminently reasonable two-year, $30 million contract with a variable vesting option for 2021.
*Joe Kelly indeed capitalized on his strong October, signing with the Dodgers for three years and $25 million.
*Andrew McCutchen puts double the dent on the Phillies’ 2021 payroll compared to the 2019 edition:
I’m beginning to get more optimistic about the Sox and Harper. It seems like the Yanks and Dodgers are ready to pounce if no one offers a record breaking contract. It’s time for Jerry to pony up 10years/$350 million. I think that would get it done. Then get Adam Ottavino and that bullpen will be nasty.
Have a fear that Boras is using the Sox aggressiveness to drive up the price from other competitors. It just seems like his MO and the word coming out of Sox camp is less confident.
Do think that plays into them being link to several other players, show a bit of goodwill that this won’t turn into an Arod situation.
I think the biggest question is will Jerry offer the most money? JP Morosi says Sox will be highest bidder on Harper or Machado. If they are, they will likely get one of them, most likely Harper. He loves Chicago, GRate is a great place to hit, especially for lefties, and he could hit in front of Eloy for at least 6 years. Plus, he will be THE cornerstone of this franchise if/when they win World Series titles. He would have to share that in LA and NY.
7 years. Give or take a few April weeks.
Some players may prefer sharing that, takes some of the media pressure off, especially during the slumps.
That was one of the problems with Ventura as the manager, he didn’t take pressure off the players like Guillen did. Ozzie became too much of a side show, but Ventura gave the media nothing to use so they took more of the players’ time.
Harper seems like he wants to be the Man, whereas Machado seems like the kind that wouldn’t mind sharing the spotlight.
Ditto, I get the distinct feeling Boras wants to use them to drive up the price and keep other teams honest.
Not so much drive up the price as much as create a market. Having more than two teams creates dimension. Now it’s not either or. It’s a market place. no longer one or the other.
I would love to see it, and I approach it all with extremely cautious optimism. I drool over a future outfield of Eloy, Harper, and Robert.
At the risk of sounding stupid can someone actually parse out that Boras comment for me? Seriously talk to me like I’m two years old.
Maybe it’s my lack of knowledge on the state of the Yankees but I have no idea what he’s saying there.
I think he’s essentially saying that, because they’re the Yankees, you can’t count them out until the contract is signed. Cashman hinted at that too when he called the Yankees a fully operational Death Star. They may decide to sign Harper just because they can, even if he doesn’t necessarily fill a need.
I think the Death Star comment was meant to mean that they already have a great team.
You’re probably right, but since Boston has won 4 WS titles to the Yankees’ 1 this century, they may just decide to spend that limitless supply of money to load up and try to reassume dominance in the AL East.
He’s speaking in metaphors. The thermometer reading represents interest in his client (Harper). The patient represents the ball club ( in this example, he is talking about the Yankees). Boras says, just because the thermometer is reading low on a particular day, doesn’t mean the patient should be discharged from the hospital. Which I take to mean, that although the Yanks have stated they aren’t very interested in Harper, they shouldn’t be counted out because they still have issues to address (First Base, i suppose?)
He’s no Shakespeare, that’s for sure.
Boras’s metaphors aren’t worth parsing. He makes me really cranky when he talks in metaphors. Last year, it was Arietta the Squirrel and his nuts. Ugh.
My advice is to ignore Boras’ bullshit. He’s filling the world with noise.
Thank you for the rational analysis, Jim. You have company on the Good for Harold bandwagon.
Switching topics, why are the Sox going after Harper?
While I like Harper as much the next guy, Machado makes so much more sense for the Sox.
The Sox have a need at 3B for the foreseeable future and a ton of corner OF talent in the minors.
Why such a hard push for a player at a position of depth for the club? What am I missing?
I think Machado wants to go to the Yankees if they are willing to pony up the money. I think the Sox have a greater chance of singing Harper.
I think we have a better in-house fallback/stopgap option at 3rd (Yolmer as a cheap 1.5-2 win player) than right field, a developmental guy in Burger, and two premier 3B free agents next year. I like Machado more too, but I can understand the reasoning, especially if Machado is dead-set on playing SS.
Here’s my take on that. Machado has stated that he wants to play short. Now most people would take him there ahead of Anderson. But there are some questions about his defense at SS, which hurts his value a bit. Still a pretty damn good player to get but is that price tag really worth the upgrade over Anderson?
Outfield depth is illusory, too. It’s easy to imagine something like Eloy-Robert-Harper with Basabe a 4th outfielder. And then utilizing 1B and DH to get one or two others in the mix.
You need 5 WAR anywhere you can get it. Farm system depth at one position can be used to trade for need.
Are they not going after Machado? I’ve seen them mentioned on both. This one just seems to be getting more publicity for some reason. If that’s the case, the obvious answer is you go after both and hope to land one. Yes, they have a bunch of OF prospects, but other than Eloy none of them really look like sure things as ML starters.
There’s been much less buzz on Machado overall.
It sounds like Harper’s talks have advanced much further than Machado’s. The Sox aren’t going to meet with Machado until next week. Harper may have made his decision by then.
And if they get Harper, I think they’ll still push hard for Machado.
Machado’s people have slowed their roll. They know they have a market. They decided to build that market, rather than drive a market. Not a bad choice.
We’d all like to see Harper on the Sox, but it’s hard to understand why it would make sense from his perspective. The Sox have been terrible recently, at best they are still a couple of years away from contending, and despite being in a big media market they are not a high-profile team. I really doubt Harper is making his decision based on farm system rankings – and if he is, I’d question his sanity. Seems like the only reason Harper would sign here is if the money he’s offered is way more than any other team offers.
I’d love to be convinced otherwise, though. What baseball reasons are there for Harper to actually want to sign here?
Maybe this new-fangled thing called money?
Well he said “baseball reasons,” but Cano shows that players can be moved if it doesn’t work out.
If his choice is between Chicago or Philly it isn’t tough to understand. Chicago is a substantially nicer city.
After all he prefers the food here.
If the money is the same, I’d be inclined to agree but the larger question is if the money will be the same or even close. I feel Philly is willing to get a little crazier with their cash than the Sox, as evidenced by the McCutchen contract.
Never been in Chicago, but I have been in Philadelphia which is a very nice city, and closer to NY, DC, and near the coast. No as cold as Chicago, and probably cheaper. But I can’t compare as I only have half knowledge.
A White Sox fan who has never been to Chicago must be a rare thing. I think most of us ended up Sox fans because of where we grew up and rooting for the same team as our family and neighbors.
You should visit Chicago someday. Come on a nice summer weekend and you’ll have a great time.
I want to visit Chicago one day!!! I’m actually not that far. I live in Canada. Grew up in Southamerica.
How did you become a Sox fan?
Baseball fans that grow in other countries have to choose a team, and there are no rules. I know many people who like several teams, and that’s OK. I thought a fan although enjoying baseball, needs a team to cheer.
I chose ChiSox because by the time I started to follow baseball in the USA, the ChiSox had Ozzie Guillen, Fred Manrique, Wilson Alvarez, Carlos Martinez (His son, Jose Martinez plays currently for the Cardinals), and also I was a big fan of the Big Hurt…so that’s why I “chose” the ChiSox. When Ozzie was named manager, that sealed it even more.
Good for you!! I hope you can make it to Chicago some day and take in a White Sox game.
I am a fan of Ozzie, I am probably minority here, I miss the times when he was the manager. Ozzie left with a above .500 record, a WS, a few playoffs appearances, something RV, RR, or RH haven’t accomplished yet. He is not very sabermetrical guy, and his mouth is too loud, but the guy had really good baseball instincts, managed the bullpen like few can, and kept the players healthy. (Not saying all of that is thanks to him only, just some facts that happened when he was the manager)
Philly’s a great city. Everything that’s good about NYC with about ~25% of the things that suck about NYC.
Philly isn’t even in the same stratosphere as NYC in my view. It doesn’t have the same amount of good restaurants and good shopping that NYC has. It has also struggled economically from their strange city tax.
I’m a die-hard Sox fan and love Chicago, but I really do think Philadelphia is a lovely city and at this point in my life, would personally rather live there. It has the big city feel but is there easiest city to navigate in the country. Cheesesteaks are among the best things on Earth, Philly is in a great location for travel to other big cities and the beach, and there’s rich history and culture. The greater Philadelphia area is home to at least five Wegmans, and most importantly: Wawa.
If he’s signing a 10-year contract, it doesn’t matter that much that the Sox might not be contenders this year. Management will have to convince him that they will spend more money to supplement the young guys. They have more high end top prospects than anyone (4 in the Top 50), and the reason they are not a high profile team is because they don’t have anything currently that makes them one. They instantly become a high profile team the minute they sign Harper. Having Moncada in front of him, and Eloy behind him in the order for at least 5-6 years has to be appealing, and GRate is a great park to hit in. It sounds like it’s going to come down to Jerry and Rick convincing him that they will act like a big market team moving forward. With the exception of NY and probably Boston, there is no better big market city to play baseball in than Chicago, and that includes LA.
I don’t know, I just don’t think Eloy or Dylan Cease is playing into Harper’s (or Boras’) decision making. After all he could have just stayed in Washington and played with Soto and Robles.
Right, but if Washington said they couldn’t go past 10/$300 million, he wants more than that. Now if no one offers him more than that, he may end up back there. But if the Sox offer $350, Washington’s out.
10/300 reported, not confirmed. I’m betting less. It works best for all concerned to not correct or deny.
Saw one report that with deferrals and such it was more like 10/284. Which isn’t far off from 10/300, but it is a difference.
I don’t think Washington will get back in at this point. They can roll with Soto/Robles/Eaton no problem and just splashed the cash for Corbin.
Great info. so 25 a year and Walgreen’s coupons
It’s some part, but not sure what portion of the decision is baseball reasons. It obviously plays a role, but people using it as the deciding criteria might be surprised. If I was in his shoes, it wouldn’t be “I’m signing with Sox because of Eloy Jimenez and these young guys”, but I would want the peace of mind that there were reinforcements coming to make the team competitive shortly.
Chicago doesn’t have movie stars, all the props go to the sports stars here. MLB players love coming to Chicago in the summer, that being the home base is still super attractive. You can still buy a top floor condo at the Waldorf no matter what part of town your team plays in. Dude is still a human being with a wife and all that, and that only helps us. If it were the NBA where who your best 2-3 teammates will determine if you have any chance of winning a ring was all that mattered, it would be different I think.
Plus his wife and Bryant’s wife are good friends. They can be neighbors. That could be an important factor. I’m sure any of you who are married know that!
Would not be surprised if that’s on a list of discussion points. Not that it would be a tie breaker, just that it will come up once.
Happy wife, happy life.
This could be an absolute nothing burger, but he’s apparently really tight with Bryant (and he and Bryant’s wives are apparently very close). If he’s looking at Chicago and the Cubs aren’t an option because of the money, maybe just being in Chicago for reasons like that are a selling point. I have no idea if this actually means anything to him/them, but for those of us with significant others, we can all attest that she gets a vote too (and in some cases her vote outweighs yours).
That’s because your vote is usually stupid 😉
Good one Laura! I know in my family, I wouldn’t have the final say! And that’s probably a good thing.
Three days back, I told my wife “It’s called give and take, not take and take”
And your vote is usually crazy. 🙂
Rule 5 draft pick Xavier Fernandez catcher please
I assume he slots into the bullpen? He’s been developed mostly as a starter…
Just like last year, the Sox made the Rangers’ Rule 5 pick for them.
….for that ever-popular return Cash Considerations.
Probably one of those deals that the Rangers get to move up in exchange for not taking a Sox player.
Jon Daniels was busy.
Likely to be moved, beat writers say.
Ohhh…I missed these comments.
Indians got Carlos Santana back. Traded Encarnacion to Seattle.
THere is a 3rd team involved apparently….Tampa?
Hey, the fully operational Death Star got blown up by the low-budget plucky underdog.
Would rather have a Death Star and lost then to never have a Death Star at all.
Those things are 2 for 2 in getting blown up by the plucky, less-well funded underdogs. 2.5 for 3, if you count Starkiller base. The Empire never learned it’s lesson that you shouldn’t tie up so much of your resources in big, expensive assets that prevent you from pursuing other winning strateg…
Wait, is this an argument against getting Harper?
From Markham…Ontario 🙂
With regard to Harold, I think people are too dismissive of longevity as a skill. People have been embracing the “health is a skill” view for a while, and with that it follows that being able to contribute at a high level for many years is an impressive feat. Obviously, Baines HOF case is still contentious even with that, but I really dislike the “oh, he was just very good for a long time” argument…not many players are, which by definition means he was exceptional.
Also, it’s a good thing happening to an apparently decent person, so I agree with Jim’s reaction.
Top 65 in all categories: Homers, RBI and hits. Shoulda been in years ago.
Anyway, I think another skill that goes unnoticed is DH’ing. How many times have guys DH’d and everyone says how hard it is and the DH penalty to their stats and blah blah blah. Baines did that for like 18 years. And did it well! Never complained like Dunn or Konerko or Thomas about how hard it was to DH. Just went out and raked with the second most beautiful swing in the games history.
HAR-OLD HAR-OLD HAR-OLD… Jim i may need a cot in july. lol
It’s probably going to be a zoo with Mariano going in.
I’ll listen to harolds short speech, get up and walk out. haha
Won’t top this though:
THEODOR ‘DR. SEUSS’ GEISEL
Lake Forest College, 1977 Entire Commencement Speech
“Do a lot of spitting out the hot air. And be careful what you swallow.”
the year after is my sons 12 year old season and teams are trying to get him to pitch for them in cooperstown. Jeter is going in. That will be ridiculous
This comment in the article Jim linked to really covers it for me:
All you very good not-quites, ‘tis dawn of new day-
You Dykstras, Delgados, Ellis Burks and Ron Cey,
Jeff Kent and Mark Grace, Gil Hodges and Keith,
Justice, Gonzalii (Adrian and Luis),
Crime Dog and Murphy, each and every Alou,
Strawberry, Sosa, and John Olerud,
Munson, Posada, Clarks Jack and Will;
With Baines now inducted, you all fit the bill!
Enough with the metaphors already. Boras’s tortured ones already make my head hurt, then Cashman has to pile on. Just stop, please.
Actual Rosenthal reporting the Mets are exploring non-Yankee three team deals that would get them Realmuto while sending out Syndergaard to the third team. Padres are mentioned, but nothing doing. I would dearly like it if Hahn could get in on this. Sidle, Hahn. Sidle for all you’re worth. Might make the Sox that much more appealing to sign with, if they didn’t mortgage too much.
Isn’t the Padres hiccup that they won’t include Tatis Jr? Which would mean we would be asked for Eloy, no thanks on Thor in that case.
This is almost certainly true, but it’s the holidays, and I’m dreaming. Also i’m hoping the Mets find a way to LOLMets into giving us Thor.
Between the Marlins and the Mets, it’s not exactly two front offices that inspire confidence so who knows. Maybe a quantity deal could get it done, but for me I would still pass. Though Thor is a Demi-god!