Following up: Two more stars stay put

The solace of financial flexibility in the wake of the Manny Machado mistake largely evaporated when Nolan Arenado decided to accept a contract extension with the Colorado Rockies a week later.

A couple more nine-figure deals Tuesday made it even harder to imagine where the White Sox will be able to spend this money they supposedly have, at least in ways that apply to position players in their physical primes.

Mike Trout joined Arenado in removing himself from the free agent board over the next two seasons. Trout, who was set to hit the marketafter 2020, signed a 12-year, $430 million deal that is effectively a 10-year, $360 million contract extension. At least we now know Bryce Harper wasn’t going to make much of an impact as a recruiter.

While he’s not in the same world — he won’t become a free agent until 2023 — Alex Bregman also got paid on Tuesday. The Astros handed him a five-year, $100 million extension that covers what would’ve been his first two post-arb seasons.

What’s notable about Bregman is that he’d previously expressed discontent about the negotiations over his contract renewal. Houston’s front office apparently found a way to smooth it over, and in the matter of a week.

Whether they were going to be free agents next year or four years from now, Arenado, Trout and Bregman show the folly in relying on future classes to hold up. Right now, Mookie Betts as the only transcendent position player untethered through the end of his initial team control period over the next two years. If the Sox couldn’t keep up with the likes of the Padres, their odds of landing somebody like Betts might not even be worth posting.

Remove Betts from the table, and the market doesn’t get populated until after the 2021 season, with Kris Bryant, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa and Javier Baez set to cash in. That’s three full seasons and a new CBA from now, which makes such speculation an even bigger waste of time. If Bregman’s deal is the shape of labor relations to come, the Sox are going to have to rely on the prospects they’ve already acquired to get the job done.

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Jim Margalus
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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Tearing down and acquiring prospects in 2016-17 was the right thing to do not because of any faith in the organization’s ability to compete. It made sense because of the promise of useful talent that might mature for whomever was running the White Sox in 2021.

So far, the same men are signing checks and making decisions. May that change before Jimenez, Mocanda, Cease, and Kopech become too expensive for Jerry Reinsdorf’s estate planning strategy.


Oh God, I hope Jimenez, Moncada, Cease and Kopech become too expensive for Jerry. At least then we’ll know they did something special in the big leagues. 


Every fan saw all of these things coming. No one in the sox front office had a clue. Its just unbelievable the garbage this team has in charge.


Hahn sure is being made to eat his words about the rebuild not coming down to one player.  The market ended up dictating that it really did come down to signing Machado, they needed to strike when the iron was hot.


I don’t think that’s what he meant when he said it doesn’t come down to one player. I think he would tell you that the rebuild continues with 5 or 6 top-100 prospects and a handful of former top prospects on the roster.


Yes, but by not signing Machado, he made it clear that they will not spend big money on a free agent. And they can pat themselves on the back all they want about being “at the table”. They knew Machado wasn’t going to take their contract offer. So they’re best chance at supplementing the rebuild with all-star talent just went by the books. Which probably means that another rebuild will be forthcoming in a few years.


The problem is that every time a prospect faulters or get injured, or they fail to convert on a FA signing, Hahn makes that statement.
The “not one player” is now up to 4+ players.


Maybe at some point in my life the Sox will sign a big name star. But man is it hard to see that happening any time in the foreseeable future. Especially with the clown show currently running the team. Don’t anyone hold their breath next year.


If you want to pick at an old scab, Fangraphs has added its own framing metric to WAR


Small takeaways:

– Steamer (which now includes framing) projects Castillo and McCann to be 1.2 WAR and 0.3 WAR a piece, which is close to PECOTA (1 WARP and -0.1 WARP respectively).

– Brewers now project to be the best team in the NL Central thanks largely to a 4.7 WAR projection for Yasmani Grandal.

Trooper Galactus

Narvaez projected for 0.7 WARP, Kevan Smith at 0.5. Come the fuck on, Rick.


Also interesting about the Bregman deal is a $10mil signing bonus for a pre-arb player. Opened a can of worms I was convinced the owners would continue to consciously keep a lid on.
As Sox fans, our best hope might be the Sox following a Brewers model for the rest of the rebuild. The issue being the Brewers seemingly have a competent FO and robust analytics dept.


The Brewers owner was also willing to stretch the budget for Lorenzo Cain. The Brewers have developed into a good organization from top to bottom it seems.


The Brewers have 3 players being paid more than $10 million (to the White Sox’ 1) plus they aggressively traded for a player who would become MVP (to the White Sox’ trading for James Shields). Your ability to hope is much stronger than mine.


The Sox had their one chance to sign an impactful free agent this year. They said all the right things and made us believe they were all in on Harper and Machado. Their actions prove that it was all a lie. They will have no chance to sign anyone near the impact of these two guys in the coming years, and they were signed at market or below market rates. Within two years we will start to see the first selloff to start the next rebuild when they trade Rodon. This front office is a complete joke. Everyone in the Sox organization talks about how loyal Jerry is. Well he certainly isn’t loyal to the people who make this all possible, the fans. JERRY SUCKS, JERRY SUCKS, JERRY SUCKS.


I can’t believe there are investors who are happy with this. I remember hearing of investor unrest after the strike and Jerry was buying guys out. Maybe the same thing is happening now and once he has bought enough out he will sell.


Tyler Flowers’ fWAR updated with framing:


Wonderful. Thank you. 

Lurker Laura

Tyler Flowers has become the ex-girlfriend/boyfriend that Sox fans can’t stop cyber stalking.




Yeah, but we’ll all be able to celebrate when he gets inducted into the Hall of Fame.


Are the Sox the most irrelevant franchise in MLB? It’s got to be between them and the Marlins, I think. All the other bad teams (Orioles, Rays, Royals, Reds, Rangers) at least are doing something interesting or have recent playoff appearances to point to. Even a hardcore MLB fan has basically no reason to pay attention to this team, and won’t unless Eloy comes up and starts raking.

Josh Nelson

Pirates should be on that list.


I have a feeling that the Pirates are the absolute best case scenario for the current Sox rebuild, given that their owners seem to have the same philosophy on free agent contracts as Reinsdorf. Years of rebuilding got them three brief playoff appearances and one genuine star player. Would Sox fans view that as an acceptable outcome?


The difference is the Pirates are a legitimate small market team. They have an excuse, though not a great one. The Sox are in the 3rd biggest market in baseball. No excuses for these clowns.


Even worse look is the Angels a team in a somewhat similar situation of being the 2nd team in a large market just spent 430 on Trout while still having guys like Pujols on the team. And the Mets would also spend big when they could in the past but i think they have a broke owner or something right?


Their owners (or owners with controlling interest?) had investments wrapped up in Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme, I think, so when that blew up, a lot of their wealth disappeared. I think.


Angels’ TV revenue is at least twice what the Sox’ is. (Pirates is half the Sox) The ways teams make $ today causes size of market to be a poor metric.


Ricketts isn’t the cozy business partner the Trib was, he’s out for blood. The Sox need an owner who is willing to compete with the Cubs for this city’s attention.


Thinking back on the Sox free agency/record settin bonus/big contract history of the Reinsdorf era, I’m seeing Belle, Navarro, Borchard, Dunn, Danks and LaRoche as biggish-to-big commitments the team has made that turned out to be not only busts, but massive busts where the team barely recouped any value.* And honestly, I feel like I’m missing a big one, although that might just be the depression the subject elicits.

This is stacked against… what? Fisk? Striking gold with Dye**?

… this team, guys.

* Ignoring Belle’s great run, the fact that he graciously allowed them to weasel out of the contract before his hip dysplasia set in probably does nothing to alleviate Jerry’s (probable) conviction that he only just dodged a bullet and was stupid to take the risk.

** great name for a podcast, if Jermaine is into that sort of thing.

Trooper Galactus

Belle set the franchise record for home runs and produced 8.6 bWAR in two seasons. How was he a bust?


I don’t know if you’re old enough to have watched Belle play for the Sox, but I’d say the consensus is that he had lousy first halfs for the Sox and padded his numbers when the Sox were already out of contention.

I haven’t looked at the breakdowns closely, maybe it’s a baseball urban legend.

I agree you look at the overall bWAR and stats for those two years – it looks very good. Can’t call it a bust.


it is a bit of a legend . . . He had a better first half in 97. He had a historic season and second-half in ’98 but had put up 17 HR and an .853 OPS in the first half — perfectly cromulent, but not quite up to his typical season. And they went 47-35 in the second half of ’98 but finished 10 games back; a more likeable person might have been given credit by fans for almost dragging them into the pennant race, but Joey was not that.


In as much as his subsequent injury would have made the full commitment untenable, in the eyes of the front office, which seems like a useless hypothetical, but you can’t tell me doesn’t weigh heavily in Jerry’s mind when he’s looking at contracts.


I’m sure we’ll be in on Bogaerts, Bumgarner, and Cole next year, no need to panic!


Sure, we’ll sign Nat King Cole, then offer Cole $80million for five years. I’m sure he’ll jump at that chance.


Positionally, I just don’t see them diving into the FA market in this way in the future. So, yeah, I’m bummed they squandered this chance but not interested in tearing out what little hair I have left to see them nail down a star in free agency next year.

Maybe if Grandal is back on the market they sign him (presuming Collins proves this year that he’s not a catcher and Rutschmnn doesn’t slip to them at no. 3). would that count as signing a star?

With the crowded outfield picture emerging, I don’t see them suddenly blocking Robert’s path in center. I suppose this year will tell us more about whether Adolfo, Basabe, Rutherford, Walker, etc should be presumed a spot.

But on the infield, what’s it going to take for them to give up on Moncada after this year? Surely, they didn’t move him off 2B to give up on Madrigal; What’s it going to take to make them look for a new SS instead of cost-controlled Anderson?

What’s that leave? 1B . . . giving up on Abreu? maybe. They are starting to seem lined up to draft Vaughn. Collins and Burger need a spot. I guess you could look at Goldschmidt there, but not if they draft Vaughn.

With all the prospects on the come, good or bad, do they try to sign a DH?

Forget it . . . Grandal and a veteran arm — Verlander? Bumgarten? that’s the most you’ll get.

It’s more likely they import a star through a trade.


Collins proved last year that he’s not a catcher


I agree. I don’t see them giving $100+ million contracts. A lot will depend on how the young guys advance this year. If a few of the outfielders take a step back, I could see them going after someone like Puig or Corey Dickerson. The infield looks like Moncada, Anderson, Yolmer/Madrigal from 3rd to 2nd. I would expect Abreu to be back at first. Grandal is possible if Collins continues to struggle. With possible starters Rodon, Giolito, Lopez, Kopech, Cease, I would imagine they’d add an Ivan Nova type. Overall, I would expect another lost offseason next year with the Three Stooges in charge.


Moncada and Anderson are both already average major leaguers, why would they need to give up on them?

It was all just a dream

With every day that goes by this offseason is looking more and more Hindenburg-ish. Hahn filled the balloon with lots of hot air and with every piece of news she keeps burning hotter.


McDaniel just spat some brutal honesty about the state of the rebuild, in his chat.


According to Jeff Passan, Sox and Eloy nearing a historic extension.


Kiley also says the Sox are looking College bat at #3, even if Adley and Vaughn are off the board.
Just keeps getting worse and worse.