Podcast: Grading the White Sox front office

Bryce Harper finally signed with Philadelphia giving them a big boost. Oh, and Nolan Arenado won’t be a free agent after all. With the offseason debacle brings an opportunity to re-evaluate the White Sox front office as things stand. Are they making improvements? Are they good at their jobs? Can they be better moving forward?

Previewing the 2019 White Sox infield, why are the White Sox moving Moncada to third base? Can Tim Anderson build upon his 2018 success? Will Jose Abreu remain in a White Sox uniform for all of 2019? Greg Nix joins the show to answer those questions and more.

Speaking of questions we had a lot of them to answer in P.O. Sox. Listen below:

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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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Jim should have Carson Cistulli on the pod to discuss gardening.


Good podcast guys. 

However, I have to quibble with the assertion that the White Sox traded three “great players” on three “great contracts.”  

Sale, no doubt.  But Quintana and Eaton? Going a little overboard with the “great” label for ability, although the contracts were/are still really good.

Still a “good” podcast, though. 


Your arguing semantics, really. Yeah Sale was better, but Quintana had been somewhere around the top 15 pitcher in baseball the years before being traded. Adam Eaton averaged 5 rWAR in his 3 seasons here. They might not have been the best of the best of the best, but they looked like they would make all 30 teams significantly better at the time.


They’re great players? I know the WAR numbers, too. I know what I saw and what’s transpired since. It reinforced my conviction that they’re not great players, but solid with big question marks. Sometimes you need more of a “beat writer” mentality instead of being a water carrier.


From ’14 to ’16, the 3 years before they were traded, Eaton was the 19th best position player in MLB.(one spot ahead of Votto) Q was the 9th best pitcher. The total cost for those 6 years of control and 27.7fWAR was $13.761mil.
What has happened since is immaterial. The statement was that they were great players on great contracts. That is a true statement.


Whatever you’re smoking, I want some. I know the rules have changed, but I don’t have a reliable supplier at the moment.

So everyone agrees? Adam Eaton is a “great” player and Jose Quintana is a “great” pitcher?

Great pitcher? That’s not Q. However, if I could pick one pitcher in the MLB to pitch 30 games next year, guaranteed, it would probably be him. That’s solid.

A great pitcher throws Game 1 of the World Series (given the chance) and pitches a full game once in a blue moon (Milwaukee might not be on the schedule) for a needed win. If the Cubs make the WS this year, Quintana is probably the 4th option.

A great hitter is, you know, available once in awhile. Eaton was good. 19th best in an arbitrary three-year stretch does not make you great.


According to Fangraphs, Quintana has a 24.8 WAR over his first seven years. Shields had a 25.2 WAR over his first full seven years.

And no, I don’t think “Big Game” James was a great pitcher. Very good for a stretch, though. Just like “Six Innings, 90+ Pitches” Quintana.

My World Series point was the hypothetical, “Who do you want pitching Game 1 of the World Series?” You could have a draft of pitchers throughout history, and I’m not sure when/if Quintana’s name comes up.

karkovice squad

Implicitly defining “great” as “greatest” is certainly one way to set the terms so they favor your argument. But please do tell us more about arbitrary versus objectively true standards.


At some point in my WS draft example you run out of the greatest pitchers and the great pitchers and you need to start naming very good ones. Q would be far down the list.

I’ll let the Hall of Fame (if it hasn’t been renamed the Hall of Flowers) decide the merits of these players when the time comes. I predict Sale will waltz in with above 80% on a first ballot, whereas Quintana will receive less than 10% and Eaton will be lucky to get one vote.

Great indeed.

Jim Margalus

Considering you described a guy with four consecutive 200-inning seasons as “six innings and 90+ pitches,” I’m not sure your labels are any better than mine.


Okay, based on 33 or 32 starts (which he had those 4 years), I should have said “6.2 innings and 100 pitches”, so there you have it.

Good (Eaton) or Very Good (Quintana).

Say it, Jim. Saaaayyyy itttt!

karkovice squad

You should probably take an actual look at Q’s peers instead of speculating about a hypothetical draft you haven’t run.

Q was 13th in MLB for starts and 15th for IP during his Sox tenure from ’12-’17. So “6.2 IP and 100 pitches” isn’t something to dismiss out of hand.


You should get a little more of a historical perspective. Ask Wilbur Wood how impressed he is with Q’s starts and IP totals. Ask anyone who played or watched the game before 1990. They’d probably say, “nice numbers, let’s see how he does the last six weeks of the season.”

And there’s a lot of pitchers these days bunched up right under Q’s totals. It’s not a great disparity.

karkovice squad

I’m not sure the person who wants to talk about a pitcher 50 years ago without accounting for the context of how the game has changed is the one who gets to recommend someone else gets historical perspective.

For starters: 5-man rotations, bullpen specialization, and the difference between run environments with a HR rate that’s significantly higher now than it was then.


It is different… it’s worth less (i.e. innings pitched and starts).

You know, “counting” stats, like hits and RBIs.

karkovice squad

I’m impressed you managed to set a new bar for vague, unsubstantiated assertions at this point.

karkovice squad

Single game dominance is kind of a silly criteria when a team needs to win, on average, 90+ regular season games and 2 playoff series just to get to that game.

Q’s greatness coming by way of a route the Hall doesn’t appreciate is also beside the point. He was uniquely able to reinvent himself every season, rarely taking the same approach to generating outs. His greatness came from in coupling that flexibility, health, and a lack of real weakness to an exceptional ability to generate favorable contact.


You’re missing the point of the WS example. The point is all participants would eventually agree that they’d run out of worthy pitchers and end the draft before Q’s name came up – except soxmachine nation.

Oh, and you’re going to need something a little more stirring than “an exceptional ability to generate favorable contact” if you’re going to lead the charge for Q’s HOF induction.

karkovice squad

The point is single game dominance, Hall of Fame induction, and conflating “great” with “greatest” need to be justified not asserted as definitive.

Your premise is flawed so your conclusions are.


I’ve reached the point where the years of losing and being irrelevant have me favoring the side of wanting new ownership as well as new front-office – JR, KW, and Hahn can go…knowing that it’s most likely not to happen and W Sox will continue to be bottom feeders. Organization needs a fresh start and I believe it starts at the top. Also, since the current rebuild is in year 3, I strongly believe it’s time to put in place the field manager and coaches to go along with the core of players that supposedly will be here the next 4-5 yrs. Ricky R as manager underwhelms me and if he’s not the guy that will be here when the W Sox presumably will be relevant, then get the guy who will be here started.
It looks like Omar Vizquel is the guy and I hope he’s allowed to also have a new pitching coach as Cooper’s results generally underwhelm me also.
So my grade for FO is a resounding D-.