In brief: Jon Jay’s name, for one

Jon Jay (Keith Allison / Flickr)

When the White Sox made Jon Jay official and introduced him to the media on Thursday, one question was on everybody’s mind, and one question only:

At six letters, does Jon Jay have the shortest name in White Sox history?

Yes, but now it’s a seven-way tie. Jay shares the honors with these former Sox:

Ken Ash: Appeared in just two games for the Sox in 1925, who sent him down the minors. He later resurfaced with Cincinnati for spot duty over three seasons.

Lu Blue: An occasional guest on Ted’s Saturday Sporcles due to two excellent seasons on the South Side. The first baseman hit .283/.405/.367 during the last two real seasons of his career (he had one plate appearance with Brooklyn before calling it quits).

Ed Hahn: A member of the Hitless Wonders, the right fielder hit .231/.328/.274 over five seasons with the White Sox from 1906-1910. No relation to Rick, I believe.

Al Sima: He pitched for three American League teams over four seasons, including a brief five-game, seven-inning stint with the Sox in 1954.

Bob Uhl: The lefty made two appearances in his career. He faced six batters over two scoreless innings for the White Sox in 1938, and then he failed to retire any of the six batters he faced for the Tigers in 1940.

Al Weis: The middle infielder is best known for his heroics in the 1969 World Series. He went 5-for-16 with four walks and two homers. The first one was a ninth-inning shot that won Game 2, and the second tied up Game 5, setting up the Mets’ clinching victory. Before then, he was a forgettable backup infielder on the White Sox who was traded to New York in an ill-fated deal headlined by Tommy Agee.

So I’m happy to extinguish that particular firestorm.

Among the secondary concerns, Charlie Tilson was designated for assignment to open the spot on the 40-man roster.

Oh, and Jay is also a close friend of Manny Machado’s. Perhaps he was warned about Yonder Alonso’s Manny-heavy press conference, because he put his foot down more firmly after addressing the topic.

At one point Jay seemed to bristle at being asked about Machado: “He’s a good friend of mine and I’m going to leave it at that. I’m here to talk about myself and signing with the Chicago White Sox. I’m not here to talk about Manny’s matters.”

To whatever extend Jay took umbrage, it’s understandable that he’d want to define his arrival on his own merits. Rick Hahn tried to do the same, noting that Jay’s corner outfield defense and acceptable on-base percentage are a boost to the team that had little of either. As expected, he denied that the Sox are using roster spots as recruiting tools.

Jay’s problem is that he doesn’t define an offseason. He put together a strong 59 games for the Kansas City Royals before they dealt him to Arizona. He hit .307/.363/.374, a performance toward the top end of his range, and Ned Yost bid him farewell by calling him “one of the most professional players I’ve been around.”

Despite Jay’s contributions, the Royals went 21-40, including the worst offensive month in Royals team history to start the season. Whatever his assets, he doesn’t change a team’s fortunes without a whole lot more help.

In Jay’s defense, none of the White Sox’ other acquisitions are any better for this task. Alonso’s in the same exact situation as Jay, in that he’s more crucial to the Machado plotline than anything else. Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome should help protect whatever leads they are, but they won’t help in getting them. Ivan Nova should be competent, but so was James Shields. Maybe Kansas City’s speed will justify James McCann’s presence, but Detroit thought it could do better than tendering him.

All of these moves are more complementary than centerpiece, and everybody’s waiting on the latter. Thus, every acquisition will be judged with Machado in mind, and the closer a player is to Machado, the more it’s going to define him, regardless of where Machado signs. It’s unfair for some, but there’s a straightforward solution for all. If they’re tired answering questions for Machado, they very well could get a Machado who can answer for himself.


  • 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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The White Sox haven’t had many true “professional” ballplayers lately. Maybe Jimmy Rollins, but he didn’t last long. Jay will have a very positive influence on the young guys. It sounds like he may be ticketed for right field. That still leaves room for Pollock on a 2-3 year deal to play center, in addition to Manny. Adding those two may actually give us an above-average defense for once.


What do you define as professional if Abreu, Shields, etc don’t count? 


I guess professional may be too loose of a term. Jay has gold-glove caliber defense, doesn’t strike out much, and has a decent OBP. The Sox have not had many of those guys lately. Professional may not be the right term, but his type of player has been rare on the Sox.

As Cirensica

You are confusing professional with competent. A player can be a professional yet be bad at playing baseball. Remember Scott Carroll? He appeared very professional.


Don’t forget Darin Erstad

Rex Fermier

Stop mincing words. Jon Jay is a good baseball player!
And the White Sox NEED good baseball players.


I read that this morning.  It’s definitely an interesting theory, albeit one that’s pretty hard to prove for the entirety of MLB.  No doubt a Harpchado signing would see a spike in the Sox attendance fortunes similar to the Tigers getting Miggy.


The article this morning about where Machado’s high school coach thinks he’ll sign is a remarkable illustration for how this whole process seems to have devolved into parody. I don’t want this to be over if it means the Sox don’t get Machado, but holy hell do I want this to be over.


At first the Yankees had the advantage because they would let him play short, now the Sox have the advantage because he can play short? I’ll bet that’s news to Timmy. It really has become a joke. I’m with you- I really want this to be over.


In regards to his position, would you want him if he insisted on playing short? I still would.


I don’t know. Machado always seemed to be the best fit for this team when he’s a third baseman. Moving him around to accommodate his pride just causes headaches, but it’s much better to have a player of his caliber, than not, so sign him and then figure something out.


He won the platinum glove at third base and doesn’t have great range for a shortstop. Plus the Sox have a competent shortstop whose defense is trending up and a hole at third. There’s an answer here that clearly makes the most sense but it’s the White Sox so who knows what they’d actually do if he signs.


If getting Manny is going to require us to:
– start Manny’s 1B/DH, who sucks
– start Manny’s C, who sucks
– start Manny’s OF, who would suck if our OF wasn’t the worst in baseball
– moving our SS, who’s signed to a long-term deal and just found his footing at the position
– starting Manny at SS instead of 3B, the position we actually need

You kind of have to wonder ‘How much is he actually improving the team’s chances of winning?’ and ‘Is all of the Anti-Machado glop about him being selfish true?’


In Machado’s defense, I haven’t really heard a whole lot this offseason about how he’s adamant about being a short stop. Nowhere near as much as we heard last winter and through the season. I hope the Sox sign him, and I hope he’s realistic about about his ability, and I want Timmy to be the starting shortstop.


I agree. I don’t think he will play short for the Sox if they sign him. I’m kind of surprised his coach would say that. i’m sure he was just speculating.

karkovice squad

I think the SS bid was about how teams tend to pay a higher premium for elite SS vs 3B.

If the Yankees aren’t running up the price are the Phillies going to bump Segura off the position for him? Seems unlikely.

I’d rather just pay him what it takes to make him agree to play 3B. Otherwise they might as well have made Harper their priority then figured out the infield with Arenado, Rendon, or Madrigal plus maybe a stopgap.


Yes, you want any HOF track player in his prime, particularly when you are giving up no talent in return. Machado was +5 defensive runs saved in LA in 400+ innings last year, and I do remember there being talk about Baltimore’s weird positioning distorting his SS metrics there.

The Sox would actually be one of the better positioned teams to adjust. They are already looking at Moncada at 3B with Madrigal ultimately looking like a 2B, and that leaves TA. I am a huge TA fan and appreciate the work he has put in, but am I the only one who is intrigued with putting his ridiculous athleticism on display in CF? Billy Hamilton came up a SS and in short order was a top 3 defensive CF because it allowed him to maximize his best asset. TA was a 2 WAR player last year in part because he used his physical gifts to cover a lot of ground and play a good SS. But what if he is a 3-4 WAR CF?




I’d still want Manny if he insisted in playing SS, but my offer amount would decrease accordingly


Yeah it has gotten old…The only thing missing is a street agent like a college basketball recruitment

As Cirensica

Ed Hahn: A member of the Hitless Wonders, the right fielder hit .231/.328/.274 over five seasons with the White Sox from 1906-1910. No relation to Rick, I believe.

Member of the “Hitless Wonders”…hello!!! Rick has to be related to him.


This is consistent with reports that the Yankees are out on Machado.

Source confirms: Free-agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu heading to #Yankees on two-year deal. Believed to be in $24M range. First reported: @JackCurryYES.

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 11, 2019


It would be foolish to ever count out the New York Yankees on a player of Manny Machado's caliber. But if they are indeed planning on bringing Machado into the fold, they're going to need to move an infielder, because LeMahieu, Gregorius, Torres, Tulowitzki and Andujar is a glut.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 11, 2019


They’ve got to be out on Machado now. If they aren’t, this signing makes no sense, because they aren’t trading Gleyber.


Yeah, that’s fair. I didn’t really think too much about it, but it seems like the only way it would work would be to move Torres to SS/3B and put Manny at the other spot, then move Andujar and Gregorious and ignore Tulo, which seems really unlikely.


LeMahieu signing with NY and Lizinski (who has never lied to me) confident Harper going to Phillies……..I think door is wide open for Manny to join his friends. I have a feeling it is this weekend.


I hate to get my hopes up, but I think you’re right. It’s closer than ever. Make it happen now, Jerry!


Now we just have to wait until after the Phillies make their presentation to Harper tomorrow, plus I’m guessing three or four days for them to come to a decision about how well it went and how they want to prioritize their spending, and we might see this thing wrapped up by the middle of next week!

I don’t drink much at all, but in the interests of not getting sucked into the tornado of Instagram Da Vinci Code rumors that are absolutely coming the next few days, I’m gonna go get black out drunk and hope I don’t come to until next Tuesday, or so. If there’s a resolution, someone just write it in a note and pin it to my shirt, or something.

Lurker Laura

(pops out of self-imposed baseball break): I cannot rec this comment enough.

(crawls back into hole)

lil jimmy

Abreu agreed to a one-year, $16 million contract with the White Sox on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Bruce Levine of reports.

karkovice squad

So he had 3/$34m on the deal he opted our of and will end up around 3/$39m, $5m improvement. Not a bad bet on himself after all. Good for him.

He’s also basically getting paid the arb-adjusted equivalent of Santana and Encarnacion if we figure the last year of arb is 80% of the likely free agent deal.

Trooper Galactus

What’s even more amazing is I thought he would have made at least $5 million more in arbitration.