White Sox won’t be able to explain away Manny Machado

(Cpl. Benjamin E. Woodle / USMC)

Time supposedly heals all wounds, but a week into monitoring the Manny Machado-shaped lesion on the White Sox, sepsis seems like a real threat.

There’s Nolan Arenado, the best impending free agent third baseman on next year’s market who rudely removed himself from the running by signing an extension with the Colorado Rockies. The terms — seven years, $234 million, opt-out clause after 2021, no-trade clause until he hits his 10-and-5 rights — suggest no perceptible hometown discount, just a team that really wanted to keep the star it drafted and developed. That leaves Anthony Rendon as the only Machado-like/lite player set to hit free agency after the season, and Arenado’s extension shows how quickly that can vaporize.

There’s also this Sports Illustrated story, which shows the White Sox front office getting outgunned by Padres chairman Ron Fowler and GM A.J. Preller.

Preller recalls a Tuesday of stymied deals at December’s Winter Meetings and a late night awake in his suite. At 5 a.m. that Wednesday he called assistant general manager Josh Stein. “Forget all these trades,” he said. “Let’s go get Machado.” Preller agrees that their pursuit intensified after the $175 million rumor. (“We obviously overbid by a lot,” he jokes, “If we got him for 300!”)

The Padres knew the rumors could not be true, because Lozano had told them he would not grant meetings to teams offering less than $250 million. Still, they were intrigued. They had payroll flexibility and prospect capital. The plan had been to use the prospects to bring back stars; maybe it was time to take advantage of the payroll flexibility.

“We heard over and over that the number had to start with a 3,” Fowler says. “I jokingly said, ‘Well, 300’s only 20% higher than 250.’”

And now here’s Rick Hahn, who offers no satisfying answers to direct questioning from Scott Merkin. There’s some of the filibustering and token self-flagellation you’d expect, but even the most direct answers offer nothing in the way of sustenance.

For instance, when Merkin asks about whether the organization has a philosophy against opt-outs, Hahn says:

“Everything can be included if it made sense. It’s all about balancing. There’s interest to both sides to try to balance and make it work to both sides. There’s no hard line of ‘No, we can never do X.’ There’s a case for everything.”

If the White Sox indeed had a philosophy against opt-outs, they probably wouldn’t come out and say it, anyway. The other possibility is that this sounds true in their heads, but if an opt-out is one of the sticking points in negotiations with a player of Machado’s caliber and the team doesn’t budge, that’s what a hard line would look like, right? Practice trumps theory here.

But even better is this exchange:

Why not take the money proposed to Machado and present a higher guarantee to another premium free agent such as Bryce Harper?

“I’m not going to get into any of that.”

Alriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

If there’s part of me that feels sorry for Hahn, it’s because he has to answer for a deal for which Jerry Reinsdorf had the final say. If Reinsdorf wouldn’t guarantee anything more than eight years and $250 million, and if he wouldn’t offer concessions like opt-outs, there’s little Hahn can do. Under these constraints, I can see why trading for Yonder Alonso and signing Jon Jay would feel like a creative end-around, even if they would’ve been better served using those resources to offer Machado $262 million and seeing if that kept a latecomer like the Padres at bay.

If the failure lies more with Hahn and Kenny Williams than Reinsdorf, then it’s an unfortunate byproduct to the job security a Reinsdorf organization fosters. In a lot of cases, a GM who had overseen six losing seasons in as many tries would throw a Hail Mary contract at a Machado type in hopes of shaking the team loose from its doldrums, with the consolation that any further failure would be cleaned up by another administration.

Here, when Hahn talks about the “comfort level and risks that come with an 8- to 10-year commitment,” he’s probably going to be there at the end of those eight to 10 years, regardless of whether the postseason drought is 18 to 20 years long by then.

All of it is unsatisfactory, because no matter who’s to blame, fans are left with the knowledge that the White Sox went scorched-earth with their rebuild without a real intent to supplement it with top-end talent. It might not be the end of the world — thank you, AL Central — and maybe Yoan Moncada indeed solves third base, shifting the depth chart hole to a more solvable position. Still, the world is now a lot harder and less enjoyable than it had to be, which is problematic for an entity that is allegedly in the entertainment industry.

There’s cold comfort in Hahn promising to spend the resources earmarked for Machado, because if their “financial flexibility” can only be used on players who don’t threaten to set the market, then history says it’s not money well spent. The White Sox’ previous attempts to build a contender were crippled by their inability to find adequate players at non-premium costs. Some teams know how to shop at T.J. Maxx, but the White Sox end up wasting money on clothes that don’t make it through a washing cycle.

The whole point of the rebuild was to reduce the costs of stocking a roster with legitimate starters, thus opening up the top of the market for perfect fits. A Machado-like signing would’ve eased a lot of the pain from two hard years of tanking. Alas, when the White Sox were presented with a golden opportunity to make a splash, they instead they skulked down from the high dive, put on a t-shirt and sat in the car.

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Joe

“There’s some of the filibustering and token self-flagellation you’d expect, but even the most direct answers offer nothing in the way of sustenance.”

This why I’m muting GMs this season.

roke1960

Anything Rick says just sounds like “Blah, blah, blah…”

Trooper Galactus

“What are you, my cat?”

Shingos Cheeseburgers

It’s not really a good thing but one of my theories as to the ongoing behavior of the Sox’ FO is that they don’t want any long term financial commitments because they’re lining up a sale in five years or so. Leave the stadium negotiation and contract extension talks to a new owner without having to worry about the sunk cost of a bad contract.  

Although Occam’s Razor says they’re just cheap and bad. 

mikeyb

I think I’m kind of believing the same thing. But man, you’d have to think the sale of a good team that actually draws fans to games would be a lot better than the sale of a garbage franchise in its 10th straight losing season. Then again, Loria didn’t come away hurting from the sale of the Marlins.

roke1960

Excellent story as usual, Jim. They are just very inept at running a baseball team. I don’t think this management team is going anywhere- Rick will get 3-4 shots at a “rebuild”, and they will say they learned from past mistakes.
Jerry needs to sell now if he’s just going to keep hording the profits. Can you imagine if Rocky Wirtz owned the team? We’d probably have both Machado and Harper.

soxsince70

Reinsdorf is very much in danger of becoming a modern day Bill Wirtz.

815sox

Ding Ding Ding ….. Lots of people do not remember how terrible it was to be a Hawks fan. I do. It sucked and badly. If you want to look at incompetency, look at Bill W and the Hawks. The freaky thing is, you do not fully realize how terrible it is at the time. You keep selling yourself on hope because you are a fan.

The only good thing is when they finally get good, its really good.

Given the tax advantages from buying a sports franchise, which include all its contracts, that theory doesn’t really play. And having a competitive team with better attendance and a larger media audience would also make the franchise a better value.

That makes sense. I was just trying to avoid admitting to myself that the true answer is ‘cheap and bad’. 

I do think the team ends up getting sold in the next decade so JR doesn’t have to be the one to threaten to move the team. Yes I realize he’s done that already but it’s was only about 7 years into his ownership and before he won seven titles in the city. He doesn’t want his closing role to be a villain. 

An article on that other site posited that Jerry’s going to be owner for life because of the tax advantage from selling the team as part of his estate, which resets the basis from its purchase price, as opposed to before, when he’ll owe full-freight on capital gains.

The team also isn’t moving and move threats aren’t believable anymore, to the extent they were in the first place, because the market makes up a large chunk of franchise value.

Marty34

The profit though with payrolls the last couple of years is a nice parting gift for the investors.

If I understand this properly (and I probably don’t) the estate would pay taxes on the 20M he paid in 1981 not the 2B the franchise will likely go for? Fuck billionaires. 

If that’s the case then yeah, the team isn’t moving until he’s dead & team is sold. If the Tampa and Oakland situations are resolved by then a long distance move is possible unless before then they can scam a collar county/NW IN into paying for a stadium. 

The basis would reset to current market value rather than the original purchase price. So the estate would only pay taxes on the amount the franchise sells for over current market value.

Marty34

What’s crazy is Reinsdorf never gets “credit” for building the awful Trop dome or the train wreck that is the Tampa market.

815sox

“extent they were in the first place, because the market makes up a large chunk of franchise value”

One thing the Sox do well is reach out to the various groups of fans that make up the diverse Sox fanbase. Also, some areas in the South Side are getting pretty damn nice and you’ve got money moving back into the area. Of course this creates larger issues for the community, but for the Sox its a good thing. The whole area around the White Sox stadium is going to look very different in a decade. Of course they could completely mismanage everything in this regard.

MrTopaz

Anyone know how much of the team Jerry owns? Like, is it a simple 51% majority, or has he consolidated it to a much higher level?

karkovice squad

He’s never had a majority-stake. Per Forbes he’s got a controlling interest somewhere around 20% of the Sox and 40% of the Bulls.

MrTopaz

Ah. Thank you. Time to start a go fund me.

karkovice squad

More like a gohedgefundme.

This is the OPPOSITE of what you do to build value in a franchise before a sale. In 07-08, the Cubs went on a spending spree, including signing Alfonso Soriano to one of the biggest contracts in history, specifically to build the value of the franchise in anticipation of selling it. Two straight playoff appearances behind some marquee names helped accomplish that goal.

Marty34

The Cubs in the Trib’s final days were a lot closer to a World Series than the Sox are right now. The Trib also wanted a piece of the lucrative merchandising dollars that were to come with a World Champion Cubs team.

Josh Nelson

Early results have been interesting

SonOfCron

I don’t have Twitter, so I can’t vote, but at this point how could the answer possibly be “yes?”

knoxfire30

Because there are tons of Indian, Tiger, Royal, and Twin fans who love Hahn as a GM.

roke1960

How could anyone possibly vote yes. If you did, please tell us why.

Josh Nelson

To sum up the responses favoring Hahn:

– It’s not his fault. It’s Reinsdorf/Williams fault
– Too soon to grade his performance (even after six seasons)
– Look at the Jose Quintana trade

roke1960

I agree that the bigger blame lies with Jerry, but Hahn has not had a winning season. And yes he may have won the Q trade, but Eloy and Cease have played 0 major league games so far. So I could see unsure, but never yes.

Could you do a poll on whether Jerry is a good owner? I think that would be more telling.

dwjm3

The fanboy types really love to dump everything on Kenny and prop up their boy Rick. It is incredible considering Kenny won a title and Rick has won nothing.  I guess they can’t admit to themselves Rick is a failure because then they have admit that the rebuild isn’t on track.

SonOfCron

So one or two decent-to-possibly-good trades completely negates years of underwhelming or terrible ones (Shields, Samardzija, Peavy for Avi & Co.), a failure to build around one of the cheapest and better cores in the Central for years by signing guys like LaRoche, Melky, Austin Jackson, etc., and a complete lack of understanding of what makes a catcher valuable (losing Flowers, signing Dinner Navaro and now McCann)?

Seems fair.

Amar

The blame Kenny angle is ridiculous. If anything I consider Kenny and Hahn as one.

Patrick Nolan

KAHN!

Amar

Yes!

soxsince70

The Wrath of KAHN.

dwjm3

True, I had an Indian fan the other day tell me he thanks Jerry for turning us into a small market team. He said we should be dominating this division.

karkovice squad

With opponents like the Sox, who needs friends?

Soxfan2

I don’t think Hahn is good but I don’t think he is necessarily bad. He’s definitely just bleh. I understand the argument about not have the free reigns to spend money, though when he has spent (D-rob, Melky, Keppinger, Laroche etc) it hasn’t worked out well. If he was a good GM then he would have been able to make shrewd moves to build around the Sale, Eaton, Quintana, Abreu core. The Rays do it, the Brewers do it and the Athletics do it. When I say shrewd moves I’m talking about the Brewers getting Jesus Aguilar, the Mariners trading for Mitch Haniger or even the Athletics trading for Ramon Laureano. A good GM is able to find these types of players. I’m sure its not all Hahn’s fault because as we’ve seen the Sox don’t have the best pro and amateur scouting department. 

Trooper Galactus

Uh, I could be wrong, but aren’t pro and amateur scouting hires largely the domain of the GM?

Soxfan2

Good point. One has to wonder if Kenny is more in charge of that as president of baseball ops

Trooper Galactus

I don’t think the White Sox have ever really been up front with the delineation of responsibilities between Hahn and Kenny, probably so they could deflect a bit through the public ambiguity. If they have elaborated on exactly this in the past, then I’m unaware.

MrTopaz

I voted no because even if Jerry really is hampering the team with low bids on star additions, a good GM should’ve been able to get a .500 team somewhere in in the first couple years of his tenure. You can make an argument for Hahn not being the most incompetent GM to ever run a team, but I can’t see any way you can argue that he’s actually good. Unless Jerry’s micromanaging every decision, down to levels most of assumed he never bothers with, a lot of marginal moves that have proven calamitous are all on Hahn.

GrinnellSteve

I’ve never gotten the impression Jerry is a micromanager.

PauliePaulie

I know an MLB agent who says that dealing with the Sox is different than any other club, due to JR’s involvement in every signing.

GrinnellSteve

So much for my impressions.

Chet Lemonhead

This is a devastatingly good take. No fat. Every line is kicking serious ass. Best writing (just the words, man) I’ve seen yet on SM.

Trooper Galactus

As opposed to Rick Hahn interviews, where every line is just serious ass.

PauliePaulie

A lot to unpack here. None of it good.
My biggest takeaway is the team’s full throated endorsement of Moncada being the solution at 3B as if it were a simple and obvious plan B. It’s the type of Sox PR move that begs for future ridicule.
Also, if they did not offer Manny an opt-out, the entire pursuit was a charade.

knoxfire30

Hahn and KW probably go to the same PR firm that Jerry hires out for Gar and Pax… these guys cant shut up fast enough. Every time they do interviews, I come away more worried about the state of the franchises, a thought I wouldnt think possible heading into said interviews.

vince

Mood: If this is the White Sox’ version of entertainment, who needs tedium?

dwjm3

Jim:
 I appreciate the effort you have made to take the organization to task over this debacle.  

roke1960

I don’t know what we as Sox fans would do without you guys giving us a platform to vent and for writing such insightful articles.

Thanks again Jim, Josh, Patrick and everyone else who make Sox Machine a must. You guys are the best!!

karkovice squad

Ultimately, we have to do what’s in the long-term interest of the White Sox and put us in the best position to win championships.

Well, there’s the problem. They see a disconnect between winning and doing what’s in the long-term best interests of the franchise. Kind of like the Fed’s dual mandate of reducing inflation and unemployment which usually favors the former over the latter.

That was more honest than he intended to be.

The whole point of the rebuild was to reduce the costs of stocking a roster with legitimate starters, thus opening up the top of the market for perfect fits. A Machado-like signing would’ve eased a lot of the pain from two hard years of tanking.

It also would’ve put them in the best position to win championships but not in the franchise’s long-term interest.

NateDPT12

Jim’s point about the point of the rebuild is what people who say, “Don’t worry we have prospects” don’t understand. The Sox tore down in 2016 not because they didn’t have a cheap core of good to great players. They tore down because the roster was garbage after that because they were unable or unwilling to spend to build a complete roster.  The point of the rebuild ostensibly was to reorganize the roster so they had enough low cost quality pieces to supplement the roster and combine with FA to build a new core while maintaining flexibility to build out a complete roster. 

The problem is they cheaped out in free agency and are then selling the prospects as the building of a new core. They haven’t changed their approach at all, best case scenario you have now is Eloy, Moncada, Kopech, and Cease are your new core and you’re right back in 2016 mediocrity again.  Except Hahn will have even more money he’s already proven to be unable to spend effectively. Machado should have been the new core you supplement with prospects, instead they’re building a core with prospects and supplementing with cheap FA. It’s backwards short sighted thinking.

Trooper Galactus

Yup, and the likelihood that Eloy/Moncada/Kopech/Cease is anywhere near as good as Sale/Quintana/Eaton/Abreu was is very, very low.

Xiliox

Is there anychance that Hahn is in on Harper, but decided to not share anything with the media?

SonOfCron

No.

roke1960

He must really not want to go to Philly.

karkovice squad

They had a Chance for one.

GreatjonHumber

We have KatyPerrysButthole. We’ll always have KatyPerrysButthole.

lil jimmy

I think that butthole is all for Orlando Bloom now.

Trooper Galactus

Only on his birthday.

Yolmer

It is bad missing out on Machado. The Sox can make up for it next offseason by sign JD Martinez and one of the good starting pitchers. These player will likely be available on the 5-8 year deals the Sox seem comfortable with.

dwjm3

JD Martinez will be what 32 or 33 by then?

The point of this rebuild was to avoid signing the aging veterans that tend to blow up with the Sox in favor of tier 1 free agents with less downside risk.

roke1960

They’ll sign JD just when he becomes a bad investment. That’s the White Sox way.

Yolmer

The point of the rebuild was to have a core group of cost controlled players. If the core players suck, Machado was never going to fix that. If they progress this year, there are other ways to spend money. Martinez as a full time DH will have value for a while. If you just want 40 dingers, there are plenty of those players too. Hahn is right that missing out on one player does not change the overall rebuild plan.

dwjm3

They didn’t really just miss out on one player…Machado is gone, Harper will be gone shortly, and Arenado is gone.  A good chunk of the tier 1 free agents are gone.  I think there is a good chance Rendon reups in Washington as well.  In essence they needed  to get Machado just in case there wasn’t an opportunity to even bid on other guys.

I also think you are making pretty huge assumption saying that Martinez will provide value at DH for years to come.

karkovice squad

1 player absolutely does change the overall rebuild plan when it’s Machado or Harper. Their youth and talent lower the degree of difficulty in filling out the rest of the roster.

All of the alternatives end up being more costly and riskier ways to reach the same value. That’s true whether the prospects provide an adequate core or not.

Let’s remember that Machado was probably worth an almost $400m contract and the Padres got him for less than 80% of that.

Yolmer

Assume Machado is worth 5-6 WAR in the contention window, 2020-2024, there are other ways to obtain those 5-6 WAR besides Machado. In fact, it is likely less risky to sign 2-3 good players than 1 great player. If Machado gets injured, there goes an entire season of contending.

Red Sox, Yankees, Astros, Cubs, Braves, are they contenders because they have one star player? Obviously no. They are contenders because they have a cost controlled core group of players that are all good. The Sox need that before anything else. The way the market is now, free agency money is pretty fungible. They’ll be able to find pieces with surplus value in the years to come. The only thing that is absolutely critical is the core group of players.

karkovice squad

We’ve seen that show. Please tell me how it worked out when the Sox sunk millions into a lot of “lower risk” players in their 30s instead of premium talent in their 20s.

Which players are more likely to get injured and have difficulty recovering?

And who can better afford to give up 3/4ths of a win per year to age-related decline, a 5-6 WAR player or a 2-3 WAR player?

Making a lot of risky, small bets isn’t less risky than a big bet with better odds.

Yolmer

I think people are misapprehending the rebuild. The 2016 Sox had maybe 4 very good cost controlled players (Eaton, Sale, Quintana, Abreu), but they did not have the resources to spend to fill out the rest of the team with talent to contend. Melky, Fraiser, Robertson weren’t really busts. They were even money spending, but they would not have an impact without 3-4 more pieces of similar quality and resources, which the Sox could not afford. What the Sox needed was 8-10 cost controlled pieces that were good, major league players even if only a couple were real stars. With that in place, they could use their somewhat good but still limited resources to spend on veterans that would push the team over the top to a contending team. That is still in place. Moncada, Kopech, Jimenez, Anderson, Madrigal, Cease, Robert, Rodon, Lopez, plus a couple more from the midlevel (Rutherford, Basabe, Dunning, Collins, ect.) that fight their way up will be that core. Whether they spend on finishing pieces today or in the future is not as important as finding the cost controlled core.

The Sox are basically a midlevel payroll team. They can spend some, but they can’t spend their way into contention. With that in mind and the prospect/core timeline, it is understandable if they want to defer spending on free agents into the future.

mikeyb

Your list of “good” players features a total of 4 guys who have put up even average seasons at the MLB level. The 2016 team had 4 guys who were all-star caliber players.

Also, weird that a “mid-level payroll” team would spend an offseason throwing $40 million at players who are all projected to be worth less than 1 WAR. Seems like something a cash-strapped franchise shouldn’t be doing.

karkovice squad

The Sox are basically a midlevel payroll team.

You’ve drunk too much of the owners’ Kool-Aid. Baseball revenue has grown from over $5bn in 2008 to over $10bn 10 years later.

The Sox operate like a small-market team because they want to not because they can’t spend more.

Yolmer

I said they were a mid market team.

Trooper Galactus

And the contention is they do not operate like one.

karkovice squad

And that implying “mid-market” teams can only afford $150m payrolls (or whatever threshold they want to go with that’s beneath the penalty cap) is also wrong given how revenues exploded.

Trooper Galactus

$160 million was top half of the league in 2018. I think that’s gonna trend down a bit as some teams have shed payroll, but the White Sox record (approx. $130 million) is nowhere near top half these days. Never mind they’re one of only three teams to never dole out over $70 million in a contract.

karkovice squad

Point being that more teams can afford to run $200m payrolls. They choose not to.

Trooper Galactus

That might be a bit of a stretch (I do acknowledge they want to make money for ownership here), but every team should be running a nine-figure payroll, and mid-market teams (like the White Sox SHOULD be) should be closer to $160-175m.

lil jimmy

Yep. If the mid payroll is 138, we should have a payroll above that. That is why Machado should have been signed.
Right now, we are 50 million below the average. It’s time to put on your big boy pants, if not today, then starting tomorrow.

roke1960

He could have signed both Harper and Machado and been below $150million. Reinsdorf is a disgrace.

roke1960

I just don’t see any scenario in which signing Machado or Harper would have been a bad idea. Assuming a player’s prime is his late 20s, they would have a player reaching his absolute prime at the same time our core would be settling into major league roles. Signing a 30+ year old player to a big contract may not have been prudent now, but two 26-year olds? There may not be two better free agents available to the Sox in the next 5 years than Harper or Machado. Plus the number of teams bidding was very limited. Betts, Trout? Not a chance Jerry would even consider going after them, plus the number of bidders will likely be much higher. The F/O squandered their best opportunity to accomplish a number of goals with one signing- remotivate the fan base, speed up the rebuild, put a core piece in place for the next 8-10 years. What they did was inexcusable.

HouseOfTheRisingSox

Exactly. There have been so many posts about it, but I can’t stop saying or thinking it. Their only saving grace will be if Eloy, Palka,Moncada, Anderson, and Sanchez all become perennial All-Stars. Otherwise we just chose not to go get one that could play that position. That ridiculousness is what it would take to get me over this off-season performance.

Trooper Galactus

Is it really too much for us to expect the front office to understand their own resource limitations and plan accordingly? And in case you missed it, they’ve already opened the book of excuses by saying they’ll have to pay those very core players soon.

Trooper Galactus

Yeah, there are other ways to obtain 5-6 WAR. But chances are it won’t be out of one roster spot, and these clowns will be lucky to get that out of every single acquisition they’ve made this offseason.

mikeyb

If they progress this year, we would have had 9 more years of Machado with that core that magically became good enough to warrant signing old ass JD Martinez.

Yolmer

Yeah, ya know, players always perform according to their first full MLB season stats for the rest of their careers. Seriously, projections are going to have to place disclaimers on them because of this statistical illiteracy. Please do not bet your life savings based on ZiPS projections.

mikeyb

Ah the irony of the guy arguing for signing 33 year-old JD Martinez over Manny Machado lecturing me on not understanding how projections work.

Trooper Galactus

Dude, what the hell? If a Machado signing isn’t going to make up for core players not cutting it, what the hell is JD Martinez gonna accomplish other than being cheaper?

Yolmer

Why spend money before it is clear the core players are good? If Moncada, Lopez, Rodon, Anderson take a step forward, there are players to spend on in free agency in 2020. If not, taking some more high draft picks is probably a good idea. As Sam Hinkie would say, trust the process. Everyone is freaking out about the process because we missed on one free agent.

karkovice squad

Look at the Twins still waiting to be good before spending money.

Then look at the Cubs.

Trooper Galactus

Never mind that the White Sox should be outspending the Twins every year.

roke1960

Do you really trust the F/O will spend big on free agents in 2020 or 2021? They’ll use the excuse that they’ll have to save up to afford our own free agents down the road. I do not trust them at all anymore. That I trusted them this winter was a big mistake on my part.

Trooper Galactus

So, why spend money on an elite player in his prime when we can spend less money on a pretty good player past his? Gotcha.

Yolmer

Why spend any money? Baseball is over because we missed out on Machado.

Trooper Galactus

Because it stands to make your team monumentally better for at least the next half-decade, if not longer, it would renew fan interest, and it would send a message to other free agents that you’re for real and not just a background bidder. It’s not just the failure here, it’s HOW they failed.

Yolmer

I was being sarcastic. I am disappointed about not signing Machado especially for the price that everyone thought it would take to sign him. I think people are being a bunch of Chicken Littles about the failure to sign him though. Machado is just one player.

Amar

Hahn and KW are the chicken littles for not assembling a playoff team in more than 10 years.

Trooper Galactus

The sky started falling a decade ago. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to start panicking about it as the fragments start to impact the Earth.

HallofFrank

Agree with this. I’m bummed they missed Machado, but it’s not the end of the rebuild. Astros, Cubs, Royals, Giants, Cardinals—hell, most of the teams that have been really good in the past decade not named the Red Sox or Yankees—all signed key players, but usually not the premiere/elite talent of a particular market. Missing out on Machado stings, but there are still a lot of paths to a competitive White Sox team in 2020 and, more importantly, beyond.

dwjm3

The Astros and Cubs have much better front offices than ours. Part of the reason for spending was to cover up the ineptitude of Hahn and Kenny at talent evaluation.  In fact I would say every team you listed has a better front office than ours.

HallofFrank

That might be true, but it doesn’t change my point, which is that a Manny-like Free Agent isn’t necessary to build a winning team.

dwjm3

Yes it does…The teams you are mentioning all have front offices better at talent evaluation and thus they are better at identifying tier 2 and tier 3 free agents, given the history of our front office there is no reason to believe they can replicate that. In essence there no reason to believe given their track record that they can replicate what you describe.

yinkadoubledare

The Cubs did it two years in a row. They signed Lester (who was second only to Scherzer in that year’s market) then Heyward (who was considered the top guy that year).

Yolmer

Heyward was also in his year 26 season and a sure hit. Oops.

35Shields

Notice that even in the “The Jason Heyward sucks scenario” he’s still a league average player

HallofFrank

Lester and Heyward just aren’t at the level of Manny or Bryce. If Manny/Bryce/Arenado are tier 1 FA, Lester and Heyward are tier 2. No doubt- the Sox will have to pony up and spend. The point was: a tier 1 free agent signing isn’t necessary to build a winner (even if it helps).

christmastime

I don’t think rick gets credit for all the smaller moves he’s made to make the sox better: flete, rose, clarkin, Polo, Cordell, gillaspie, Puckett, Forbes, burr, viera, pinto, Cunningham, mederios, Perez, frare, paulino, Connell, Dominguez, banuelos….. sorry did I say credit?

Trooper Galactus

Wow…glad I read that to the last line.

loch

There’s cold comfort in Hahn promising to spend the resources earmarked for Machado, because if their “financial flexibility” can only be used on players who don’t threaten to set the market, then history says it’s not money well spent. The White Sox’ previous attempts to build a contender were crippled by their inability to find adequate players at non-premium costs. Some teams know how to shop at T.J. Maxx, but the White Sox end up wasting money on clothes that don’t make it through a washing cycle.

This is the type of poetry that leaves you crying, because of the accuracy of the imagery and because the content is so painful.

MrStealYoBase

There are several functions a front office has:

1. Scouting and drafting talent
2. Scouting and signing international talent
3. Player development
4. Trades that make the team better in the short term
5. Trades that make the team better in the long term
6. Free agent signings that anchor a roster
7. Free agent signings that supplement a roster
8. Coaching hires and analytics to get the best out of the roster

Hahn and Co. probably get an A for point 5, a B for point 2, and Fs on everything else.

It’s impossible to put together a winning team when the incompetence far outweighs the competence. This is why I’ve really soured on this rebuild. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel unless there are some major organizational changes.

mikeyb

Hahn could trade Adam Engel for Babe Fucking Ruth, and I still would never give him an A on “trades that make the team better in the long term” after the James Shields debacle.

GreatjonHumber

And in the fact that the returns on the Sale and Eaton trades are looking shaky.

christmastime

is James McCann better than Kevan Smith as a back up catcher….or is that another 2 million we could have paid Manny?

GreatjonHumber

No/Yes

mikeyb

We didn’t need a single one of the additions the Sox have made this offseason (unless someone wants to argue that Ivan Nova was essential). That’s $40 million we could have paid Manny.

karkovice squad

That’s $40m that could’ve gone to Greinke and Brantley, plus the $30m they were going to spend on Machado, which would’ve put them around a .500 projection for 2019 with another wave of prospects to follow in 2020. With only 1 long-term contract on the books.

mikeyb

Not to mention the $20 million wasted on Jabari Parker.

lil jimmy

I said at the time, His arms are too long and he can’t cover the inside of the plate.

johnnyg83

Why didn’t Hahn sign Matt Wieters +0.6 WAR to a minor league deal instead of guaranteeing James McCann -0.5 WAR?

35Shields

Because he, like James McCann, is bad at his job.

HouseOfTheRisingSox

Better nickname — McCannon vs weiner

Anohito

When the deal broke, I tried to cope with my disappointment by some, what I now know is, nonsense about incentives vs guaranteed money. (mostly stemming from my lack of knowledge of how bad contract incentives were and how they could be gamed).

There is truly no way to explain this away. What sucks is how the FO will not listen or try to fix any of this at all. I just can’t understand how they can be so purposeful ignorant to all the furor flying around, and if not the furor then the nationwide mockings of them.

35Shields

ZiPS is now baked into Fangraphs DC projections. If you didn’t like the 70-92 that DC gave the Sox when it was only based on Steamer, don’t worry because with ZiPS added in it now projects the Sox to be… 70-92.

But, hey, if you don’t think that DC is your style, maybe we should check out PECOTA. After all, PECOTA performed better than DC the last few years at projecting team wins. PECOTA has a totally different perspective on the Sox, expecting them to be… 70-92.

But at least this team has improved over the offseason, right? After all, at the beginning of the offseason Steamer-based DC projected the Sox to be… 70-92.

MrTopaz

Thinking about the diving metaphor at the end, I’m reminded of one time when I was six or seven and I tried jumping off the little one meter springboard at a pool, only I slipped at the end, my feet shot out from under me, and I fell ass first onto the edge of the board and rolled off in the most unceremonious way imaginable. I was so embarrassed I just sort of lay there, face down in the pool, hoping everyone else would go away and leave me with my shame. Unfortunately, the life guard interpreted my unresponsiveness as, “Holy shit, that kid might be dead, time to spring into action and force everyone to focus on him,” and he proceeded to drag me out of the pool while everyone just kind of stared. I suppose the shock of me “almost dying” crowded out the schadenfreude of watching me eat it, so that was an unexpected plus. So I guess what i’m saying is, that story could also be used as a metaphor for the Sox’ offseason, and all the front office needs is to get some of this heat off is convince everyone that their failed pursuit of Machado almost killed them.

It changes the narrative, is what I’m getting at.

Anohito

It’s a plausible theory but no one will buy it, not angry fans and not mocking outsiders. If this is their game, then it’s just yet another example in the long list of why this FO is so inept and out of touch.

Lurker Laura

I did a black flip off the diving board when I was 10, didn’t push hard enough, cracked my head open, and have a lifelong scar to show for it. Also a metaphor for this White Sox offseason.

lastof12

Your story reminds of when I was a lifeguard and there was a young lady attempting to jump of the 1M diving board backwards. I blew my whistle and yelled with all my might. Nevertheless, she jumped without clearing the diving board, hit her chin and went crashing into the water.

I dove in and brought her to the surface, while blood rolled down her chin. I had to swim to the bottom of the pool to rescue two of her teeth.

The moral: if you make stupid moves, you can lose some teeth.

MrTopaz

Yeah, I’m 100% confident that I was running on the board. I mean, I was in either first or second grade, so there’s really no chance I was following proper safety procedures.

Trooper Galactus

Hey, even the pros whack their heads on occasion. There was a guy on my high school diving team who seemed to do it at least once a meet.

GoGoSoxFan

I’ve never been on a diving board in my life. I was always afraid if I jumped off one something bad might happen. Also a metaphor for the Sox off season.

lil jimmy

You’re not wrong. My Dad cracked his head open. Last summer, an in law broke an ankle taking chances.

asinwreck

I don’t know if a fish actually rots from the head down, but that’s how organizations decay. The owner owns the responsibility. The wait for the end of the Jerry Reinsdorf Era continues.

NateDPT12

The other thing that stands out to me in the SI article is that 250M was the floor for getting a meeting. So the Sox offered the bare minimum to get a seat at the table and never moved off of that.  Yet they were “Shocked” someone topped their offer.  Again they’re either lying or incompetent.

roke1960

Amazingly, I think they’re BOTH lying and incompetent.

NateDPT12

Nope, it’ll be stone dead in a moment.

Trooper Galactus

“I feel happy! I feel happy!”

yinkadoubledare

He doesn’t want to go on the cart

Patrick Nolan

This sort of feels like prolonging the inevitable but maybe my opinion is colored by the general aura of misfortune surrounding Dunning in the White Sox farm system.

dongutteridge

Bottom line: Sox wasted a year of the rebuild. Not only will they be chasing Cleveland, in this joke of a divsion, but Minnesota as well. K.C. might rebuild faster than the Sox.

If it wasn’t for the AL Central there’d no point even paying attention to this franchise.

roke1960

That makes it official. White Sox offseason grade is F-.

As Cirensica

Worst off season since I became a fan of this team in the late 1990s

roke1960

So here’s a recap of the offseason “pursuit” of Machado and Harper.
-Sox meet with both players and have a “seat at the table”.
-Both players sign for less than what most people had them signing for.
-White Sox come $50 million short on Machado and drop out on Harper before making a bid.
To take credit for having a “seat at the table” is outlandish. They pulled one over on all of us. I agree- this is the worst offseason ever, and I’ve been a fan since the 60s.

soxfan1959

I’m going to catch them in person when they play on the road. I won’t visit Sox Park again until Reinsdorf sells the team.

Trooper Galactus

Yeah, I may have to plan a timely visit to my sister in Houston.

SonOfCron

13 years. Goodness.

knoxfire30

So 25 and 30 for bryce and machado… even with the dead weight of alonso, nova, mccaann, the sox could have both these superstars for a team payroll of around 135…. and next year with those 3 plus abreu and maybe jones off the books, a pretty darn good roster and less then 100 mil in money committed… FREAKING JOKE, FIRE EVERYONE, CONTRACT THE TEAM, SELL THE TEAM, WHAT A JOKE

roke1960

You are 100 percent right. This is a joke. But Jerry and Hahn and Kenny are the only one laughing. They played us all for fools, getting us to believe they were in on these 2. Jerry, you are pathetic.

knoxfire30

55 mil, annually to add to elite players for the next decade, to a team in desperate need for both let alone one… a team with no other money committed down the road… this is it, this is the end. Im in shock, god damn shock

roke1960

I have no words to describe my anger at management for failing to meet these contract requests. Both are very reasonable contracts, and to not get either one is just appalling.
I really want to hear their take on Bryce’s final contract. Less than $26 million per year? Jerry, I can’t wait until you no longer own this team. You are a lying, cheap, disgraceful owner.

Trooper Galactus

Abreu, Jones, Alonso, McCann, Jay, Nova, the Shields buyout, Castillo…good god, I hate the people running this team with such a passion right now.

karkovice squad

And front-loaded.

roke1960

So, no opt-outs and front-loaded? Isn’t that what the Sox wanted to do? It shows what a good front office can do. In the ranking of the 30 front offices, the Sox would rank 40th.

karkovice squad

Full no-trade protection, too.

craigws

At this moment, I honestly wouldn’t mind if they contracted the team. They don’t deserve any better.

Anohito

But what about us? Don’t we all deserve better? This is all such goddamn bullshit.

Trooper Galactus

Sometimes I think I’d prefer the emptiness to the soul-sucking stupidity.

karkovice squad

You’ve still got blueberries and football in that scenario.

craigws

The Montgomery Biscuits are still out there.

roke1960

My guess is Hahn or Kenny won’t have the guts to show their lying faces at SoxFest next year.

Trooper Galactus

There’s a poll that needs to happen.

Anohito

I guess now we wait for “White Sox won’t be able to explain away Bryce Harper”

knash

“I’m not going to get into any of that.”

Now that Harper has signed, please, on behalf of the entire fanbase, fucking ‘get into that’ Hahn.

roke1960

It will be just one lie after another, you can be assured of that.

knash

Can’t wait til next year when we have another opportunity, except none of the players are elite/young, huge market teams will be back in the bidding, etc.

Eat Arby’s y’all.

egib52

Then they can go back to pushing the narrative that they don’t want to overpay aging stars.

MrTopaz

Welp, I guess it’s time for Rick to be very personally disappointed.

roke1960

For all of you going to the Sox home opener, could you please do this 50+ year Sox fan a huge favor and get a “JERRY SUCKS” chant going. I’m sure it wouldn’t take much to get started. It would so warm my heart to know that our fans are passionate about the disgust we have with this owner. Thank you.

egib52

I am sure they won’t acknowledge the front office, but if they do please let the boos be deafening.

vanillablue

The only interesting thing about this season is guessing when fans will start putting paper bags over their heads.

As Cirensica

But first…fans need to stop using the paper bags in front of their mouths

MrTopaz

White Sox Baseball: Jerry smoking a cigar in the owner’s suite, listening to Sinatra’s my way, watching the Sox go 72-90.

soxfan1959

Kind of like Nero watching Rome burn. Did Sinatra play the fiddle?

MrTopaz

No, he just made Dean Martin do it.

Marty34

Jerry either colluded with Philly to split Harper and Machado, and the Padres screwed the Sox or he is getting ready to sell the team. Collusion is my guess and Lozano / Machado were ticked off enough not to give the Sox a chance to match.

egib52

I am starting to believe this is exactly what happened. How do you go from Hahn saying he would be frustrated if he got neither Harper or Machado, to then not even making an offer on Harper.

Amar

This is plausible 

jorgefabregas

Robin/Robinson Leyer sighting!

PauliePaulie

MLB.com has updated Sox top 30. System ranked 4th.
Need some bouncebacks as it’s starting to look a little shallow after a still solid top tier.

Yolmer

Harper’s contract may be more of a disappointment. If he is still around in 10 years, stick him at DH for the last few years. He likely wouldn’t he an albatross at $25 million in 2030-2032.

HouseOfTheRisingSox

We’ll probably trade for him then

soxsince70

The Sox shopping at TJ Maxx??
They’re really content to shop at Dollar Tree or Five Below.