Spare parts: Wilson Ramos upgrades Welington Castillo’s deal

Plus: Bryce Harper gets an endorsement, gambling is back, and Randy Savage's baseball career

Although it was initially reported on Friday, the White Sox haven’t yet announced the James McCann deal, as it was pending a physical.

In the meantime, another catcher came off the board, and for a seemingly team-friendly price. The Mets signed Wilson Ramos for two years and $19 million, which can be extended to $27.5 million if a $10 million club option is picked up for 2021.

MLB Trade Rumors assesses how the catching market could unfold from here.

Ramos hit .298/.343/.483 over 306 games the past three seasons, which is a pretty strong showing when considering he had a knee surgery in the middle of it. He was in my “hits well, catches OK” group in my roundup of catching options, with adequate defensive numbers to support that production.

By comparison, Welington Castillo received two years and $15 million from the White Sox for a less potent bat and worse defensive numbers. That move was seen as a fair price, and potentially a steal if Castillo’s defensive improvement in 2017 had staying power. It didn’t.

Barring a trade — and if Ramos is getting $19 million on the open market, I don’t see trade value for Castillo until the summer — the White Sox will hope that an unfamiliar pitching staff with awful control and an 80-game suspension created too much noise, but Castillo’s 2017 is the outlier in a poor history of receiving.

We’ll also have to wait until Rick Hahn officially comments on McCann’s game, but I’m guessing they’re hoping he does more than throw.

Spare Parts

It turns out Dale Murphy is both a pretty good writer and pretty open-minded for modern players who approach the game differently than he did.

The key to chemistry, though, is not sameness; it’s diversity. You need the yin and the yang. You’ve got to play within your personality, and you can’t be someone you’re not. Bryce Harper being Bryce Harper won’t irritate teammates. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Guys would be irritated if Bryce Harper wasn’t being Bryce Harper. When you’re trying to be someone you’re not, when it’s all an act and you’re just faking it, that’s what rubs guys the wrong way.

When I look at Harper, I don’t see an all-about-me diva. I see a guy who loves to play. I see a guy who plays hard all the time. I see a guy who has an edge to him.

A century after the Black Sox threw the World Series and forced baseball to reject all association with gambling, Major League Baseball is ready to partner with casinos and make a ton of money off it. Grant Brisbee examines how it got to be so different, but SABR Black Sox Committee Chairman Jacob Pomrenke said that players didn’t gamble just to augment low salaries. In a lot of cases, they did so because it was right there.

Until Zack Burdi can get over the hump, Randy Savage is probably the most famous baseball player my hometown has ever produced, so I enjoyed this detailed look at somebody who also got his baseball start in Downers Grove Little League.

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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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Ohhhhh yeahhhhh

Right Size Wrong Shape

Too hot to handle, too cold to hold!


I feel like there hasn’t been enough discussion of the super depressing Buster O report saying they aren’t going to pay up…. I can’t imagine ANY way they can pull this off without $$$


Its to sobering of news to deal with.


I can’t put too much stock in that report. What does it mean that the Yankees or White Sox aren’t going to pay up? If that’s the case, then Machado will go to the Phillies and Harper back to the Nats. I’d rather do what the Sox did and supposedly say they aren’t going to break the bank, than what the Phillies did by saying they were going to spend “stupid money”. That was not a good negotiating strategy. The Sox have been planning this since the start of the rebuild. I don’t think they are going to low-ball these guys. And if they do, I would not want to be Hahn or any management person at Soxfest. That will be an ugly scene.


The villagers will have the pitchforks and torches out I am sure… all 17 of them that will be left as fans if this was a total dog and pony show.


If neither come to the sox, i will be bummed, but still expect something like 10 years 330 with opt outs after 5 years to be leaked offer through Bob… Some sort of “Machado signs with the Yankees and leaves money on the table” headline 2 weeks later.


That wont fly this time around. They need to have the top offer to one of these guys period. You cant force someone to sign but nothing should be stopping them from having the top offer. They have done a terrible PR job if their actual stance is maybe we will get interested if perhaps their markets tank.

Lurker Laura

It’s all public postering at this point. I’m saving my sorrow and/or outrage until it’s all actually said and done.


Let’s say for arguments sake that the Yankees don’t like the idea of 300M+/10+ with Machado (something else that has been “reported”). The Phillies also lost out on Happ and Corbin “reportedly” because they weren’t willing to go beyond the years they were comfortable with. Granted these are both pitchers but it speaks to the Philladelphia front offices philosophy, regardless of what their owner has publicly said.

If that’s the market the Sox are bidding against, it’s possible for them to have the highest offer without it being “record-breaking” in terms of years, total guarantee, or AAV.

The fact is that this isn’t Mike Trout we are taking about. Both these guys have serious question marks as to whether they’d be worth the biggest contract in baseball history. The willingness of any front office in baseball to sign a mega deal for either of these guys is doubtful given the way players are valued nowadays and how other big contracts have worked out when it comes to players ages 35+ seasons. Forget what the pundits say, this isn’t the free agent market of years past and I could see Harper not doing much better than the 284/10 offer from the Nats.


I feel neither optimistic nor dejected, but to you and others citing that report as reason for pessimism, I’ll tell you why it doesn’t bother me.

This isn’t a typical FA courting period. This is a franchise impacting expenditure, and it will be treated as such. It will not be merely on a FO level, but ownership level. There are many things people can say about Reinsdorf, but one thing nobody will ever say is he isn’t a master negotiator. Sometimes even too good (Frank’s diminished skills clause and all the acrimony).

Ask yourself the question. Knowing everything we know about JR, if he decided he was going to do everything possible to sign Harper when the time came, would he be the kind of person who would be loose enough to tell the type of people that would ever tell someone like Buster Olney? What’s the advantage there? I’m not saying it’s intentional misinformation, just it serves no purpose to put out a “nobody will outbid us” message in a negotiation.

If this were to happen, it would be a bombshell anouncement with very little smoke from reporters beforehand IMO. It’s going to take an eternity for this contract to be written up and agreed to with everything both sides will want. And while there is obviously negative history, part of me wonders if Boras/JR wouldn’t relish just a bit the rare opportunity to negotiate with someone on their own level. JR might feel on some level this is his last big WS moment given his age. But again, they are probably nowhere near highest and best offer territory so nobody really knows anything.

lil jimmy

Downers Grove seems like it should be located between Bedford Falls and Potterville.


Been watching Jimmy Stewart again lj?

lil jimmy

I can’t decide which character I’m most like. I’ve got it down to Burt and Ernie.


Like it’s some medium phase in the transition between the Norman Rockwell, hometown ideal of Bedford Falls and the clearly more fun, but bleak and also kind of racist dystopian vision of Pottersville? Or actually physically between the two?

Also, every time I see mention of Bedford Park I immediately assume it’s gonna be like Bedford Falls, but I’m pretty sure if I ever went there I’d be terribly disappointed.


I agree with Murph about Harper.

As Cirensica

Unrelated question to Jim, is there something wrong with the unread yellow shadow in the comments area? That was very handy to me to comb thru the already read comments, but lately, that’s gone from my end.

Also, do you know if there is a way to look for comments one leave here like in SSS? Sometimes I participate in interesting conversations, and I stop following up because I can’t remember exactly where or when I post what.

Just questions…no critiques or complains. Love it here as it is.

As Cirensica

Thank you Jim. Appreciate the search functionality, but please didn’t mean to add work on your to-do list…. Put it on your lowest priority list, just like the White Sox do with the catching position.

The read/unread markers are working now 🙂

Trooper Galactus

I was familiar with Randy’s baseball career, but the notes about his guest appearance in an MLB announcing booth was something I wasn’t familiar with, and I gotta say, Marge Schott really screwed everybody out of something that could have been absolutely awesome. While Randy Savage the wrestler is renowned as one of the best ever in the business (his match against Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania 3 is an all-time great, and he’s one of the few guys to get a legitimately good match out of the Ultimate Warrior), less appreciated is Randy Savage the color commentator. While dealing with injuries, it wasn’t uncommon for Macho Man to spend some time at the announcers’ table, and he was REALLY, REALLY good at it. He gave concise analysis, got viewers hyped for matches, and would drop great lines constantly that enhanced the quality of the matches for the viewing audience. If he’d been allowed to regularly do guest commentary in an MLB booth, I think it could have been magical, and not just in the sense it would be a spectacle. I believe he could have been a credible in-game analyst and been a major television draw who enhanced the product and on-field talent without being a sideshow.