With exactly one month to go until the season ends for most of the league — White Sox included — Jeff Passan took a shot at assessing the free agent market for ESPN.com.
The White Sox aren’t prominent players in any single bullet-point, but aside from Alex Colomé being on the block and Lucas Giolito being an extension candidate, there are a few chief takeaways:
No. 1: It’s going to be slow. Passan says executives and agents expect the pace of this coming offseason to mimic that of the last one.
No. 2: Scott Boras holds the cards. Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon are expecting contracts above $200 million, and Boras has shown he’ll wait as long as he needs to get there. Unlike last season, the White Sox will have far more competition for either if they want to get involved (and they won’t really want to get involved).
No. 3: Qualifying offer candidates:
Locks to get it — and reject it: Cole, Rendon, Madison Bumgarner, Stephen Strasburg, J.D. Martinez, Aroldis Chapman, Josh Donaldson, Marcell Ozuna. Outside of Cole and Rendon, it will be brought up during negotiations too.
Likely to get it: Zack Wheeler, Cole Hamels, Jake Odorizzi, Giants reliever Will Smith and Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius.
One nice thing about the revamped compensation rules for free agents is that it’s no longer necessary for root for a team finish in the bottom 10, because every team’s top pick is protected. That wasn’t such a big deal the last two years, but with the White Sox having baseball’s ninth-worst record right now, it’d be a lot easier to justify rooting for meaningless September losses.
Not much has moved since Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark reported that David Glass is discussing a sale of the Royals to Indians minority owner John Sherman a couple of days ago, but nobody’s refuting it. Such a sale would probably be more bad for the AL Central than good, because everybody knew the Glass ceiling when it came to spending. That said, we’ve seen recently purchased clubs deal with their debt first, so any transition might not be a smooth one, even if the Royals’ TV deal will make them more competitive with the league.
Neil deMause looks at baseball’s decreasing unpopularity and examines the usual suspects (pace of play, tanking, cost of tickets, etc.). What’s most interesting is that while baseball’s attendance drop is treated as a recent phenomenon, a sports economist notes that attendance never actually bounced back from the recession a decade ago.
As Dylan Cease takes the mound today, it’s worth watching his curveball, as that seems to be his primary culprit in his inability to get lefties off his fastball.
- The Braves haven’t been afraid to spend in 2019, and it’s turned them into one of MLB’s powerhouse teams — CBS Sports
- Dallas Keuchel has returned to Cy Young form with the Braves — Sports Illustrated
I was pulling for Dallas Keuchel to reward the Braves for signing him June, and to punish the teams that didn’t pursue him before then. To my relief, he’s been about a 3-WAR pitcher, even with an uneven start that’s potentially attributable to a lack of spring training.
- Tigers’ Gardenhire hoping for a chance to see rebuilding through — Detroit Free Press
- As Tigers keep getting younger, veterans like Gordon Beckham are playing for their futures — The Athletic
The White Sox already gave Rick Renteria a contract extension in the dark corner of a parking garage, so we can watch Detroit to see how they handle a manager who doesn’t yet have a guarantee before his lame-duck season. The only thing the Tigers have locked in thus far is Gardenhire’s sixth consecutive 90-loss season.
I included the last link, even though it’s a fortnight old, because the Gardenhire story made me wonder what Gordon Beckham was up to.
Hey Jim the Deadspin link is to the Royals sale article.
This winter hold on to your money, Washington is looking good without Harper and saving 300 million. We need a right fielder and a professional hitter. Leury Garcia to second until Nick is ready. Pitching is hard to put a price on, it’s all buyers beware. 2020 can be exciting With a couple of good moves.
I don’t think they’ll have a problem holding onto their money.
You mean you don’t believe Rick when he said, “The money will be spent.”?
Washington spent $140 million on Patrick Corbin, and it appears they are going to spend $180 million on Juan Soto.
im hoping we try an extention with moncada this offseason as well
rizzo clearly isnt confident he will sign though : “We would give him 10 years, $180 million tomorrow morning for sure,” Rizzo told the Sports Junkies on NBC Sports Washington and 106.7 The Fan Wednesday morning. “But I don’t think he’s going to accept that.”
Yeah… Soto is represented by Boras. I don’t think he’ll be signing an extension anytime soon.
I dunno, that’s a pretty nice chunk of change for a 20-year old who can still get another pretty decent contract after that at age 31 if he’s still anywhere near as good. I don’t think Soto was a big bonus baby so is he really gonna turn down one of the largest deals of all time, especially if there’s big money up front?
The Nats had a top-5 overall center field prospect with five-tool talent banging down the door. They’re pretty much the last team that needed Harper, and they actually spent the money on another premier free agent, so let’s avoid any comparison with what the White Sox do.
And in case you didn’t notice, the Nationals have four contracts ON THEIR CURRENT ROSTER that are twice the size of the largest ever doled out by the White Sox.
Passan lists the Sox as one of 9 teams positioned and motivated to go after Cole. Sure, Jerry’s gonna outbid the Yankees.
forget the yanks, what teams in the league have they proven they could outbid… if 9 teams are in, guess where I rank the sox chances! NINER
…did I hear a niner in there?
I’d guess, they will make a huge bid by their own standard to qualify themselves as a “finalist” (which they will try to sell to us as a win of itself), but come well short of what he actually signs for. 2nd or 3rd.
Just wait for the magic words, “We had a seat at the table.”
The high chair with the sippy cup…
Or a very distant, very safe second accompanied by a truckload of horseshit quotes about the quality of the offer.
Gordon Beckhan is charting his off season regimen in order to add ten pounds of muscle and be in the best shape of his life.
Baseballs attendance has 3 problems and only 2 are solvable.
1. Everyone 30 and younger has nano second attention spans. People glued to social media, and tech, and that problem is never going away. They arent gonna sit thru a 3 hour game which likely also becomes a 4 or 5 hour window when you consider travel too and from the event.
2. Prices, food , beer, etc are outrageous. It may sound like an old man yells at the cloud moment from a mid 30s guy like myself but to me I have all the sunk costs in the world of hosting 81 home games, why not make the food and bevies a little more reasonable and get people to the ballpark without having to miss a mortgage payment.
3. Tanking, you simply cant have a third or more of the league dead in the water to start a season. 3-5 year rebuild have become not only acceptable but the norm for most average clubs looking to try anything but spending. Baseball needs a cap at the top and a spending floor at the bottom. Would immediately help solve this problem. You almost never see a football team tank, that league produces a worst to first team every single year etc etc something can be learned from that.
So true on all three counts. At the Mercedes-Benz Stadium here in Atlanta, they actually have very reasonable prices for food and drinks- $1.50 for a hot dog, $2 for a soda, $5 for a beer. They are ranked #1 in the NFL for fan experience. I wish other teams would try that. The prices are ridiculous at almost all stadiums.
Attendance will continue to go down as the older people stop going to games, because they will not be replaced by the millenials.
And yes, something needs to be done about the 3-5 year tanking. The Bears went from a laughingstock to a Super Bowl contender in one year. Yes, a lot of that had to do with coaching, but that is not really possible in baseball.
Atlanta also claimed to have actually made MORE money on concessions when they added the fan-friendly pricing menu. Which they probably did, seeing as the next year they added even more things to the lower-priced list.
Well coaching and Khalil Mack! haha But, good point on the concessions. That is pretty cool what they are doing in Atlanta. Concessions should be cheaper, although I don’t buy that they are exceptionally expensive when compared to alternatives. Here in Chicago a nice dinner for 2 can easily exceed $300. Concerts can cost hundreds per ticket. A friend of the family gave my parents tickets to see Barbara Streisand a few weeks ago at the UC and the face value was $750 per ticket. Amusement Parks can cost a $100 or more to enter with expensive food and drinks. Movie theaters are not cheap. Just parking in or around downtown can run you as much as $50 for the day. Even a Big Mac, coke and fry meal at McDonald’s can cost $10 here in Chicago. People routinely spend $5 plus a day for mediocre coffee.
What also has to be considered are the taxes and wages in some of these major cities. Increase the sales tax (currently 10.25% here in Chicago), create an entertainment tax raise the minimum wage etc. and prices will increase.
I agree with your third point. Miami, for example, is not going to draw 1 million fans this season.
I can’t believe they’re even drawing 1,000 fans. If not for all the fans of other teams who moved to Florida they’d have single digit attendance at every game. I have no idea why anybody would be a fan of that team any longer.
A floor would be nice. Spend it or we just take it from you
idk, nba has a spending floor and still 1/3 of the league tanks in nba too… mostly has led to alot of bad/overpaid contracts, that or they just give some random guy a 1/year 20 mill deal just so they can reach floor like the lakers did for kcp couple years ago
The NBA has a superstar problem. You need multiple superstars to win so you either need to draft some or clear enough space to sign some both of which are easier if you tank.
NFL is probably a closer analogy: need lots of good players, talent throughout the draft, constantly increasing cap means you can sign guys every offseason. A salary floor could help or maybe make it easier to get to the postseason
Yeah, but in the NFL, the money is pretty concentrated as well. QBs, pass rushers, left tackles, and WRs with a few exceptions.
I think the first point is a bit silly. I’m sure people said the same thing about kids who grew up watching TV in the 1950s-60s. One of the most stereotypical hobbies of young people is binging multiple episodes of TV shows. If you have the attention span to watch 6 episodes of Friends in a row, you can hand a baseball game.
Young people aren’t watching because games are on cable which fewer and fewer people have and other sports are more interesting at the moment (NBA, NFL) or are more available (European soccer leagues).
As a 30 year old, crap like that comment piss me off. There isn’t a single person of any age that is 100% focused on the field for the entirety of the game. It just so happens that now there are options other than looking at clouds/people watching/chatting with your neighbor. You are damn right I’m going to check my phone during pitching changes, breaks between innings, or challenges. But don’t try and play it off as only young people do it because I’ve seen just as many 40/50 year olds doing the exact same thing. It’s just a sign of the times.
Yeah, idea that Kids These Days have short attention spans is kind of belied by the fact that in addition to marathon TV sessions, movies are getting closer to 180 minutes than 90, they’ll wait in line an hour for a chicken sandwich, and camp out overnight for the new shiny thing.
Which suggests the problem is with the product and its marketing not the audience.
Not to mention, why doesn’t MLB and teams take advantage of the attention span thing by offering people more ways to stay focused on the product. For instance, when I’m at the game I can typically get just the most basic of statistics about the players batting/pitching. I can’t tell you how many times I get into friendly arguments about where a player played before, was traded from, how many how runs he hit 3 years ago, etc. Then we resolve the “argument” by checking on BR or Fangraphs. Why don’t teams take advantage of augmented reality. They can rent AR glasses that could display advanced statistics, google search results, player history, replays, etc. It would not only satisfy people’s attention spans, but offer another revenue source. MLB isn’t quick to adopt things like this that would appeal to people with a thirst for that type of knowledge.
It’s not the short attention span that keeps kids away from games- it’s the instant gratification that our society has come to expect. Why should they drive to a game, pay for parking, pay ungodly prices for food, when they can stay at home and instantly watch a half season of shows in the same amount of time? Plus baseball is a slow-paced game- always has been and always will. This isn’t a knock against the younger generation. It’s just a reality. There is so much entertainment available at home now- there’s no reason to drive to watch a slow-paced game.
It’s not even an instant gratification conversation. MLB.TV is $130 for the entire season for all teams. I live ~25 miles from Globe Life so call it 2 gallons of gas there and back, $5. Parking there is $15. A halfway decent ticket is gonna probably run around $40 but it depends on the day of the week. Two beers and a hot dog is another $20. So for a grand total of $80 I get to see one game, by myself. The value just isn’t there for me to go to games in person.
Not only is the value not there, but you can get a lot more accomplished at home and watch whatever you want. Why spend all that money and time going to the game. And it’s not just the younger generation. It’s everyone now.
That being said, we are going to all three games this weekend in Atlanta. We’ve been down here 10 years and this is the first time the Sox are in Atlanta in that time. So it’s going to be an expensive weekend!
I think they’re trying to solve the instant gratification issue with moronic homerun totals.
Baseball used to be an interesting slow paced game. Now it’s a one outcome, slow paced game.
The instant gratification culture where story arcs on TV play out over 1 or more seasons instead of in self-contained episodes, you have to watch like 2 dozen movies to get the payoff on superhero films, and, again, people wait in line for an hour to buy a fast food sandwich.
Sorry, no. This isn’t a culture problem either way.
The wild card is actually hurting competition. Too many teams are content striving to be the 4th or 5th best team in their league.
Gee, wouldn’t that be nice?
Today’s game is one reason why I have always felt baseball needed to be much cheaper to attend than the other major sports. The game was garbage to sit and watch as a Sox fan, over in the 2nd inning. No one should have had to give up their hard earned money for that. I don’t watch other sports much these days, but I recall baseketball routinely decided in the final couple minutes, football competitive for at least a half and soccer and hockey so low scoring that they cannot help but be competitive. But baseball gives a lot of clunkers. And that needs to be baked into the pricing.
They’re not going to sign Cole or Rendon. And you know what, that’s fine if the plan is to then spread the money around to fill multiple holes instead. Ozuna, one or two of Wheeler, Bumgarner, or Odorizzi, and one of the big 3 relievers would be a great offseason. The one thing they can’t afford to do is put all their eggs in one basket like they did last year and end up with nothing.
I’ve made a similar joke before and I’ll make it again. Sure, they’ll sign Ozuna and Wheeler. What, Pablo Ozuna and Dan Wheeler don’t do it for you?
Ozuna’s a good player but is the assumption he’s good enough to play RF? Or do we put him in LF and move Eloy to DH? As much as he has serious baggage Puig can at least play right and provide 750 to 800 OPS.
Another offseason suggestion: sign Moustakas for infield redundancy + the DH option. He’s not going to be super expensive and gives the team a guy with proven playoff experience. Yomer upgrade multiplied
Imagine if we had thrown 2 years 30 mil total at Moose to DH instead of wasting a prospect and 9 mil on Alonso…
Agreed except he wasn’t friends or family of you know who?
An important note for anyone expecting a change in ownership to be the holy grail.
This is a depressing thought.