An offseason that has been so much about waiting and speculating and reading tea leaves in the place of substantial rumors and progress went out on a high note.
The Twitter account of the sporting goods manufacturer Rawlings gave us something to remember the winter by.
Perfect. It’s perfect that the #brands have as much to contribute to a three-month old discussion as local and national reporters, and that this, like every other Manny Machado half-rumor in 2019, made me feel mostly nothing.
The thing is, if Machado signs with the White Sox, the Sox will have opened his career with a wasted opportunity. This signing — a landmark acquisition trumping all others in the franchise’s history, and for a well-rounded potential Hall of Famer who immaculately fits the franchise’s needs — should’ve been fun, and it willn’t’ve been.
The usefulness of “fun” has its limitations. While we know what it’s like to see the Sox win the winter only to lose the summer, the offseason that brought in Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson and Melky Cabrera was still fun for the fascination involved.
However, fun can’t be vacated. Those three months of 2014-15 are in the books as “enjoyable,” like it or not.
Imagine what the winter would’ve been like had the Sox and Machado found a way to strike a deal in December, or even early January. You’d be hearing about surges in season ticket sales, immediate SoxFest sellouts, unfamiliar hordes on the White Sox’ half of Camelback Ranch, and speculation over whether they could put a scare into an Indians team getting increasingly unimpressive by the year. Maybe that thrill would’ve slowly evaporated, but like the Samardzija “Shark Cage” caps, there will be proof it existed.
Those discussions seem like the product of a long-ago era. This was the third straight offseason where the White Sox didn’t improve the immediate product, which is a really long time to go without specific winter enthusiasm. It’s antithetical to the “hope springs eternal” rhythm of the game, and it’s probably toxic, if the growing discontent over the stagnant free agent market is any indication. Pertinent to today, it’s sapped excitement from pitchers and catchers reporting, because look at all the players who aren’t reporting anywhere yet.
Deadspin’s resident White Sox fan Tim Marchman passed along the top of the Baseball Prospectus Annual’s White Sox chapter, and it isn’t wrong:
If you can’t read tweets where you are:
You can make a case that the White Sox embody much of what is wrong with baseball in 2018. The fire sale (Sale?), the cost-cutting, the empty stadium, the focus on acquiring those sweet, sweet bargain-value prospects even absent a cohesive plan to turn them into major-league ball players: it’s all here and it’s frustrating.
That might be overly pessimistic, but there’s a reason that paragraph survived the editing process. The White Sox could’ve put an end to it — or at least a dent in it — and they haven’t. Maybe they will, but even if Machado signs with the White Sox as soon as this week, they’re already behind on getting returns from it.
This has probably been the most frustrating offseason I can remember. There is something to be said for not bidding against yourself, but if he hasn’t signed yet and you probably know what it’s going to take to get him signed, I would think Jerry and Co. could probably have worked out a deal by now. The “we’ll match any offer” strategy (which I think is what the Sox are doing) is fine up to a point. Spring training is now starting and it’s time to make a deal. If he doesn’t want to play for the Sox, I think they would have figured that out by now and moved on. If they lose out on Machado, the fan enthusiasm may reach an all-time low.
I’m sure I’m in the minority, but for me this whole offseason has been fun to observe because of its sheer fascination. I’ve loved the daily hypotheses of why the market is slow, the accusations of collusion, and especially the “righteous” indignation over the whole thing from players I don’t like (i.e. Justiin Verlander). I have loved how absolutely no one knows what is really going on. And the fact that the White Sox are even this far into the conversation with Manny Machado is something I never dreamed would happen. I think it’s been fun. Still is.
Yes, it’s better than the last two winters when the Sox were not trying to improve. And the fact that the Sox are in on Machado has made it interesting. But it’s still been very frustrating.
Maybe it’s just because the sun in shining, but I think we sign Manny this week and he reports to Glendale next week.
There are a bunch of signings this morning. I think the start of spring training will force teams to start acting with urgency. I agree- I think he’ll sign by Saturday (with the Sox, of course!)
Fangraphs updated their Top 100 prospects list. Other than being the low group on Eloy, they look to be most in agreement with BA.
They also updated their draft board. Time to add Byson Stott to #3 pick discussions. Also noted , only 15 pitchers in the top 44 players.
My current (admittedly very early) top 3 are Adley, Witt Jr. and Abrams. Might be time to break the “no high school” draft rule.
Kameron Misner is my early dark horse college bat.
I like your top three. The advantage of a player like Stott is, while he is a Short Stop. His size, speed, and athleticism would allow him to play everywhere in the field. Just plug him in when you need him, and move him to Short Stop when there is room. Takes a walk. Can steal a base. Big arm. Makes contact.
I don’t like Stott’s swing. All 5’s, no carrying tool.
Was hoping for a bigger sample size at Cape Cod this year to show some more pop.
He’s my Travis Swaggerty of ’19.(others like, I don’t)
he has 50 games to show you otherwise.
McDaniel just said they’re going to update their draft board every month.
I’ve seen fan-murdering games but this year we’ve already got the far more significant fan-murdering offseason.
I find it incredibly frustrating that when the Cubs and Astros pull this they’re “smart” and “building their teams the right way” and the baseball media gushes over their genius. But when the White Sox do the same damn thing its the embodiment of “what is wrong with baseball”.
I get that perspectives have changed quite a bit as the free agent market has continued to devolve, but I’m kind of sick of hearing all the hand-wringing over the current state of baseball by the same people who were issuing full-throated celebrations of rebuilds not more than two years ago.
You’re rewriting history here. The Sox got credit for their teardown. And the Sox were the ones talking about the dissonance of getting congratulations for admitting they’re bad at their job by trading good, cost-controlled players.
While the Astros followed a more gradual path to spending, the Cubs got big deals done in Decembers.
And, in the case of Lester, a year before they thought they were really ready to compete, which would’ve been analogous to an alternate universe where the Sox signed Yu Darvish last year.
I think making a big splash in free agency this offseason would still be comparable to signing Lester given the 2018 they had.
Yeah, you don’t get a lot of credit for trading away valuable assets. It’s easy.
Nola extended for $45m/4 plus an option.
His fortune diverging from Rodon’s sums up this Sox era.
Keith and Dan said sure, but only if we don’t have to talk to Slyder.
Manny wasn’t available? It’s not like he’s got to be at Spring Training.
Damn fine job booking, fellas. Please ask Mr. Law how a team can draft Collins, Fulmer, and Jake Burger’s paper mache achilles is somehow not a top 2 system if there isn’t bias?
How about just: Why do you hate the White Sox, Mr. Law?
Really looking forward to this.
I called Burger our large, adult son on Twitter and he liked it.