The weekend in transactions and non-news

Welp, I guess I can scratch “White Sox news during Bears Super Bowl weeks” from my list of potential offseason posts. White Sox single-game spring training tickets go on sale today, if that’s any consolation.

Of course, the excitement around said spring training games rests on the White Sox landing one of the two big fish in the free agent pond, and there have been no material updates on that front since Friday, when Bob Nightengale said the Sox made Manny Machado a formal offer. It says something about the state of free agency that the “formal offer” stage in late January fails to register. Nightengale’s characterization of ” likely closer to $200 million than $300 million” suggests that there are still offers and counter-offers and mystery teams to go.

As for Bryce Harper, three different reporters offered three different characterizations of the White Sox’ chances.

Nightengale: ” The White Sox have yet to make a formal offer for Harper but remain in constant contact.”

Jon Heyman: “Chisox seem like a long shot at the moment.”

Daryl Van Schouwen: “The Sox’ presentation impressed Harper more than he anticipated.”

“Forget it, Jim, it’s BorasTown” is basically my approach to the specifics with Harper, and the inanity surrounding Machado’s courtship may be fast approaching.

* * * * * * * * *

Catching up on the weekend’s worth of transactions:

*The Indians acquired Kevin Plawecki, a catcher who occasionally surfaced in Offseason Plan Projects because he never got a great shot with the Mets. He became available when the Mets signed Wilson Ramos, and the Indians were short a catcher after trading Yan Gomes to Washington.

(By the way, Ken Rosenthal said the Mets moved on to Ramos after Yasmani Grandal rejected a four-year deal in the range of $60 million.)

*The Mets picked up Keon Broxton, another somewhat popular figure in the Offseason Plan Project. from Milwaukee reliever Bobby Wahl and two low-level prospects. Broxton’s low acquisiton cost, along with a history of power and speed in center field, made him an appealing buy-low target, although unraveling plate discipline caps his potential.

*The Yankees signed Zach Britton for a deal that’s three years long, unless it’s two or four. After the first two years and $26 million, the Yankees can add a $14 million option for 2022. If they don’t, Britton can opt out then and there. But if Britton doesn’t opt out, then he’ll fulfill the third year of the deal for another $13 million before reentering free agency after the 2021 season.

Britton’s deal apparently doesn’t close the door on Adam Ottavino, and I imagine it doesn’t preemptively remove them from Machado discussion, either.


  • 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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I agree it doesn’t remove them from Machado, but hopefully somehow it helps push the needle towards the South Side. 


Now that Bears-game Mannygate has been dispelled, we can rest assured Manny won’t be signed to kick for the Bears.


I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the Sox’ unexpected pursuit of the best free agents in years in the midst of a multi-year long chilling of the overall free agent market has devolved to “completely unfounded rumors of Manny Machado at the Bears game” level of absurdity, but I gotta admit I didn’t see this coming.


Purely speculating on what a “closer to 200 million” contract would look like. Guessing 7 years: 36/36/36/36/32/31/30 = 237, roughly 33.85 AAV. Player option after the 3rd year, he’d be walking away from 32.25 AAV after his age 28 season. You could add 12 million anywhere in there and still be closer to 200 than 300. Both 33.85 and 32.25 AAV would be the second largest in MLB history at this moment (Greinke 34.4).

Josh Nelson

I wonder if Dan Lozano would follow Boras lead in a deal that would break down like this:

3 years – $35 MM AAV (3 years, $105 million)
4th year
A) Four-year Team Option at $38 MM AAV (4 years, $152 million)
If team declines:
B) Player option – 1 year, $40 million
If player declines:
C) Player becomes free agent after year 3.

This scenario Machado could have a 7 year, $257 million deal ($36.7 MM AAV)

Or a 4 year, $145 million deal ($36.25 MM AAV)

Or a 3 year, $105 million deal to become a FA again at age 29.

I wonder if a deal structured like this could work.


I think you’re right. We may be seeing a new thing in long term contracts. Though I’m wondering if they need to go a little higher in the 1st 3years, say $40 million per year?

Josh Nelson

Sure, you can bump the pay to whatever you need to sign the player. I’m just wondering aloud if the structure makes sense for all parties involved. A team could decline half of the deal, but the player could opt-in to a massive 1 year deal before entering free agency again.

Of course, there is the qualifying offer then to consider at the point, but who knows what the status of that will be after 2021 with a new CBA.


That setup seems to have a lot of built-in animosity in it. Make Option A a mutual 4-year option with the player deciding first. Player either opts out making him a free agent OR the player opts in and if the team opts out, the team pays 25 million and the contract is ended.

Josh Nelson

That’s a good suggestion.


@zerobs this is based off the structure of the Boras deals for Arrieta and Kikuchi.


Arietta’s deal is very different. The option years are all at a lower rate, the player can opt out only if a 2-year option is not exercised. I get what Josh was trying to do but Arrieta cannot opt IN for a raise. Maybe Josh didn’t word it the way he meant it but as written it sounds like the team has to give a raise to a player they don’t want to commit to and can’t non-tender. May as well pay him up front and leave the animosity out of it a la Jason Heyward. 


It sounds as though no one is stepping up in the Machado race. Now is the time to get him. I think zerobs is probably close to being right, 7/237 is probably about what they are offering. Now add a year and 35M and I think 8/$270 would get it done. If the Yanks wanted him, they would have gotten him already. The Yanks don’t get into bidding wars- they didn’t with Corbin. I’m pretty sure they have given him their final offer. It sounds like Lazano is waiting for the Sox or Phillies to raise their offer. If they don’t he’ll go to the Yanks. Get it done now, Jerry!


Totally agree, these numbers are very reasonable. No more excuses get it done.


I don’t think the problem is the Sox or Phillies, I think the agents are waiting to see if the Angels can make room.

Josh Nelson

Speaking of the Angels, Ken Rosenthal today reported the Angels were finalists for Patrick Corbin, JA Happ, Nathan Eovaldi, Wilson Ramos, and Zach Britton.

That’s a tough pill to swallow for a team to fall short on all five targets.

Josh Nelson

I was on TV last night. The groan you hear in the background discussing when Eloy Jimenez will be called up is Cody Parkay’s field goal attempt hitting the field goal post.

Lurker Laura

Tough time to be on TV, Josh. Our sympathies.

Josh Nelson



Sure, I guess. As long as this money wasn’t needed to improve the offer to Manny/Bryce, I’m onboard. Allows the Sox to use options on the young guys and ease them into higher leverage. 


Isn’t he still hurt?

lil jimmy

This should do it for bullpen help. Now a starter please.


That’s a lot of money for someone who ended 2018 with a shoulder impingement, broken foot, and bad numbers in the last half of the season. Also, I don’t understand the point of investing this money in a bullpen that will not have any leads to protect over the next two years.

The front office has invested a non-trivial amount of money and traded Omar and Call without managing to materially improve the team in any way. Spending a bunch of money on marginal major leaguers when you could use those roster slots for flyers on young players makes no sense, given that this team isn’t going to challenge for the playoffs anyway.

Unless the Sox manage to land Harper or Machado, I really think there needs to be a change in organization.


He hasn’t been good since 2016. His k rate was a feeble 7.71/9 last year.

I am getting a little frustrated that we could basically pay for the first years of a Harper or Machado contract with the salaries we’ve given to nobodies so far this offseason.


To wit – players added, salaries, and DepthCharts projection

McCann – 2.5 (.6)
Nova – 8.5 (.8)
Alonso 8 (.9)
Colome 5 (.5)
Herrera 9 (.3)

We’ve spent $33MM adding 3 wins to a 100 loss team.


No way McCann puts up 0.6 WAR, so even those 3 wins are generous.

Also Colome is expected to get ~$7.3m in arb.


Actually it’s only 2 wins since Narvaez projects 1.7


Not if your projections include catcher defense & framing.


Don’t worry, McCann sucks at that too.

As Cirensica

Machado would have cost less, only needs ONE roster spot and will outproduce all of these players by a large margin


If he returns to form and we aren’t making the playoffs he could be a big trade chip.  Should have a solid pen for at least half a season

As Cirensica

If he returns to form and we aren’t making the playoffs he could be a big trade chip

White Sox motto!