The White Sox haven’t yet spent the money

White Sox GM Rick Hahn
Rick Hahn speaks at SoxFest 2020 town hall (photo by Josh Nelson)

One of the advantages of being even-keeled and slow to anger is that it’s easy to absolve oneself of another’s broad-brushing.

For instance, take Rick Hahn talking to James Fegan about how he sees his infamous “the money will be spent” after not really spending the money:

“The hot takes on ‘the money will be spent’ issue are perhaps among the poorest of White Sox Twitter, in my opinion, my biased opinion,” Hahn said, “I’ve seen that criticism mentioned a few different places, and it’s actually one of the very few that irritates me. Don’t get me wrong: criticism is part of this and to be expected. I just believe they should actually be grounded in fact, which ‘the money hasn’t been spent’ really just isn’t. The fact is that since the time that I made that comment, we’ve made a number of high-dollar commitments.

“That includes guys at or towards the top of the free-agent market like Hendriks, Yas, and (Dallas) Keuchel, as well as long-term commitments to a number of our own core players like Yoán, Eloy, Luis Robert and (Aaron) Bummer. Basically, in terms of either annual salary or total guaranteed dollars, we have significantly surpassed both of those thresholds when talking about ‘the money.’ Plus, no one has said we’re done in terms of potentially adding to this group should the right opportunity arise. And, all this is despite the fact that since the time I made that comment, a global pandemic has wreaked havoc on the revenues of just about every business sector of the economy worldwide. Like I said, criticisms not based in reality bug me.”

Ouch. It must suck to be a hot-take artist on White Sox Twitter. You can’t help but feel sorry for them.

I, on the other hand, carefully consider my reactions for a site so old it predates tweets, so I’m unburdened by such labels. With that in mind, my reaction to Hahn’s admittedly biased opinion:

LOL. Perhaps preceded by a fart noise.

Granted, the White Sox laid all sorts of track for this. When the Sox signed Liam Hendriks, I expressed apprehension that Hahn would make like Welington Castillo and frame it poorly …

That’s what comes to mind when the White Sox signed Hendriks for $54 million during the same winter they signed Eaton for $7 million. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the dollar amounts each player received, but we’ve seen that kind of allocation be used in a manner equal parts self-aggrandizing and self-defeating. Hahn can say Reinsdorf opens up the budget for top free agents, but it just so happens that top closers cost a fraction of what top outfielders and top starting pitchers do. It’s part of a budget that self-governs down to a level lower than most teams. The skyline ends up flat, and while everybody can see the real ornate water tower, it’s just a water tower, and not something that attracts visitors and keeps them there.

… and sure enough, he’s continuing to act as though all tops of markets are created equal. Go back even further to when the White Sox achieved their goal of finishing second in the Manny Machado derby in 2019. Kenny Williams said they couldn’t go nuts signing a premium free agent because of all the talented players who would eventually be earning something closer to market rate.

“Our fans would have been much more disappointed in our inability to keep this next core together,’’ he said. “We would have overextended ourselves had we gone to an uncomfortable level.’’

So it’s not surprising that Hahn would pull the same levers. They’re really the only ones he has, even if they’re terrible for fan satisfaction. The White Sox laid an enviable foundation by acquiring a lot of young and exciting players, many of whom are on savvy team-friendly extensions, and so of course they take the angle that we should be grateful they’d ever consider paying them. Read it another way, and it’s almost extortive. You know: Nice core we got here. Shame if something happened to it.

It’d be one thing if the White Sox had a history of replenishing their own talent, because then Hahn’s comparisons to the Rays (“…pointing to the Rays getting two wins away from a title with fewer resources”) would actually hold water. Then again, if that were the case, it might actually be exciting to consider how to make room for promising up-and-comers, rather than requiring the services of every current projectable player in perpetuity. As it stands, until the White Sox stop being the proverbial poor man who pays twice — or five times at some positions — he’s just using another team’s low payroll as an excuse for cutting corners again. Meanwhile, the reason White Sox fans wanted Hahn to spend is because they’re acutely aware of how poorly he fares when he tries to raid the bargain bin, and everybody wants a bigger margin for error.

Hahn basically sounds irritated that Sox fans paid attention. Maybe it’s because he thought he would have the capacity to spend more at this juncture, but Jerry Reinsdorf doesn’t like to spend money to make money, and the Hahn Era front office has been terrible at making Reinsdorf money to spend. Perhaps everything was building up to a big year that the pandemic thwarted. Now Hahn’s caught in a “Scott’s Tots” scenario, except Michael Scott didn’t blame the kids for taking him literally.

(I suppose this makes Adam Eaton a laptop battery.)

It’s not quite the same because Michael Scott wanted to pay for his promise. He just couldn’t. The White Sox could have added another big salary. It’s more that they didn’t want to. Hahn could probably get more fans to buy what he’s selling if he said that the pandemic made ownership unwilling to foot the bill for anticipated upgrades this year. Even then, that defense has some holes. If Hahn’s going to point to the Rays, we can point to the Padres, who are just as applicable, if not more so.

But most GMs aren’t going to use their boss for body armor, and Hahn and Williams are particularly protective of Reinsdorf because Reinsdorf makes no local appearances himself. It generally works, because each part of the triumvirate ends up with a layer of insulation from consequences and blowback. Hahn runs interference for Reinsdorf. Reinsdorf’s working with a strange combination of “publicly invisible” and “visibly flawed,” so you can’t help but feel some sympathy for Hahn, who has to work within his parameters and around his big-footing. In between the two is Williams, who’s there to take blame for poor talent evaluation but also can’t further open the wallet.

Together, they’re a three-legged stool straight from the school of hostile design. You can chop at any leg or place it on rocky terrain and it’s not going to lose much in the way of stability when threatened. But you also can’t use it for comfort, because instead of a saddle, there’s a spike. It mostly just exists to spite the public.

Fortunately, it could still work out for everybody. The White Sox’s first string has tons of talent, so a good health year could have them atop the Central by plenty. Hahn could very well emerge vindicated from the whole thing, which makes his decision to take shots at the fan base all the more befuddling.

Hell, even if he wins his side of the argument, he shouldn’t expect it to be zero sum. White Sox fans still endured a whole bunch of intentionally short teams after the rebuild trades for no real reason. The Grandal, Keuchel and/or Hendriks signings could have fit in the budgets of most previous offseasons. The White Sox still haven’t matched the payroll they carried 10 years ago. Without a major over-the-top investment, the only reasons to choose to extend the streak of four straight losing seasons to seven were to pay less for a roster, and draw attention away from the years they actually tried and failed. The front office benefited from the arrangement the whole time. The fans are just starting to get their share.

Anyway, given that Hahn twisted the best thing about the White Sox — exciting young players, most of them on stable contracts — into a burden, he pretty much confirmed where the White Sox would’ve been if they signed Manny Machado, as we pondered a couple of weeks ago. I’d still take the megadeal every time, because complaining about all the money spent is better than not spending all the money and complaining anyway.

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Hahn basically sounds irritated that Sox fans paid attention.

This. A Dennis Green quote sums up White Sox leadership: They are what we thought they were.

Last edited 2 years ago by asinwreck

Perfectly summed up.


It all filters to Jerry per usual. The reason the Sox gave up too much for one year of Lynn is because that is Jerry’s feeble attempt to compete while keeping costs low. Every time that Hahn Criticizes fans, it’s really Jerry talking because his fragile ego has been bruised by fans who give a damn. The die he sells, which will be when he dies, will be one of the greatest in Sox history. If you look at the situation from atop the trees, Jerry profits for himself at the expense at the emotions of millions of fans. There’s really no reason to root for the Sox, which explains why the only fans left are the ones who were fans already

Trooper Galactus

Except this is Hahn defending comments that he made of his own volition, not something Jerry forced him to say.


So much to unwrap from every disaster Hahn interview. To keep it short on two points:

  1. You gotta love when he drops the financial havoc on every business in the world…. yea no one cares cause 14 other MLB teams and that’s all we are talking about have out spent you this year.
  2. The garbage that the rays are 2 wins away from winning it all being some small market team. Great you dont scout, draft, or develop 1/10th as well as the rays and they still lost. Also, by this logic you can go back and say the dodgers the biggest spending team in the league were also just a few wins away from probably winning 3 or 4 more world series titles because when you have an overwhelming abundance of talent your margin for error is greatly reduced.
Trooper Galactus

To your first point, even the Blue Jays, who are starting from shakier ground competitively, lost the same during the pandemic, and can’t even play in their home city in 2021, made more significant investments this offseason in a division thats far more competitive. If the White Sox had invested similarly this offseason they’d be alongside the Yankees as ALCS favorites.


If Hahn says they spent the money, he must be telling the truth. It is blasphemy for a true fan to read, or think for themselves.


Any faults of Hahn or Kenny ladder up to Jerry. Every time it’s Jerry.


The second to last paragraph – yes. It’s why I am continually amazed that some segments of the fanbase don’t understand the frustration. The ’21 payroll is *league average.* While I’m always up for more spending (of course), a league average payroll in most years is fine. But if you told me a few years ago that they would run a league average payroll in 2021, I’d sure want to know why the payroll had to be 29th in the meantime. That’s what’s frustrating.

They sold us on the idea of acting cheap for a years on the expectation that they would use their saving to act rich. They aren’t acting rich.


The funniest part of this is that he’s checking twitter to see what people are saying about him, and then feels the need to get defensive about it to the press! You’ve built a good team this year! Lots of fun, exciting, talented young players to dream on; the upside for this squad is massive! He should be out there hyping up this roster full of former top prospects, guys who can throw over 100 mph, guys who can hit moonshots, and even last year’s MVP!

This is your time to shine Rick; if you believe in the rebuild, this should be the pinnacle of your career. Don’t spend your time checking to see how many of us are making fun of Bob Nightengale on twitter for not understanding how payroll obligations work.

As Cirensica

Great article Jim

As it stands, until the White Sox stop being the proverbial poor man who pays twice — or five times at some positions — he’s just using another team’s low payroll as an excuse for cutting corners again.

This is one of the most damning thing about White Sox management. They not only are cheap, they overpaid the cheap.

Kenny Williams said they couldn’t go nuts signing a premium free agent because of all the talented players who would eventually be earning something closer to market rate.

I don’t get this “tanking strategy”. Let’s build a cheap core and save money to (over) pay the same core later on when they are aging and not as productive. This is a self-defeating strategy, and quite frankly a bad idea.

Trooper Galactus

Have any of the extensions to players other than Abreu locked them in past age 30? Most of them will be free agents before that even if their options are extended, except for Anderson (whose two options take him to age 31). They should be plenty productive and cost effective at the end of these contracts, which is SUPPOSED to give them financial flexibility, not be a hindrance towards it.


This isn’t a strategy. It’s spin. They locked everybody up already, until 2024 at least. They had a clear strategy a couple years ago, that would have worked beautifully if they followed through. Sign their core players to salaries well below what they would wind up getting on the open market, so they would have their core intact for longer. TA7, Eloy, Robert, Moncada. Done. This would allow them to spend in free agency to fill in whatever their needs were. That’s what “the money will be spent” actually meant. Except they totally abandoned that last part, and are lying about it now to cover up the lack of character and balls of the ownership.


Sox ran bottom tier payrolls for what? 4 or 5 seasons? They were rebuilding toward a big championship run starting in 2020 or 2021. And during that time frame, the following guys were available, either in free agency or via trade:

Manny Machado
Bryce Harper
George Springer
Mookie Betts
Anthony Rendon
Gerrit Cole
Stephen Strasburg

Sox didn’t get a single one of them.

Farting noise, indeed.

Trooper Galactus

They only even bothered to make an offer to one of them. I don’t think Betts was a realistic trade target, but not even bidding on Springer was just plain atrocious.

Last edited 2 years ago by Trooper Galactus

It’s honestly impressive that the front office (Rick+KW+Jerry) could take the most talented team they’ve had in my lifetime, and still make the experience of being a fan a kafkaesque nightmare.


I take an opposite and unpopular stance on Sox payroll issues and I’ve posted this view on other articles presented by Jim M and Sox Machine.

I don’t feel that comparisons or rankings versus other organizations tell the whole story. Because Chicago is a “large market”, it’s assumed that the W Sox are large market players. Don’t shoot me as I haven’t researched it, but the W Sox media stream revenue probably doesn’t hold a candle to LAD, NYY, or maybe even the Cubs. Ticket sales probably trail the big boys also. W Sox operate more as the midmarket team that they are.

Also, I see no credit given that W Sox have “locked up” younger projected-star core players such as Tim A, Eloy, L Robert, Moncada, and a few more. They paid more than they had to in their first few years in order to possibly save bigger extension money in years 4,5, and 6. The test will be how Giolito’s next contract gets structured. This style also affects their ranking.

And rankings are fluid, depending on who the latest high-ticket player signs with which team and for how much. The list changes.

I also hear no bitchin’ about when the W Sox do spend big on a FA and he busts out. There’s been a few, and E Encarnacion’s 12 M last year is the most recent example.

So I say don’t get your undies in a bunch over whether the W Sox payroll ranking is 15th, 12th, 9th, or whatever. It’s what value do you get for the dollars that you do spend. W Sox are relatively young. When Giolito, Anderson, Robert, Eloy Yoan, Cespedes, Crochet, or whomever gets to their next contract, the W Sox payroll may explode if you want to keep these guys together.

The trophy doesn’t go to the team that spends the most. It goes to the team that wins the most. Reinsdorf, Williams, and Hahn are easy targets for us posters as they often appear to speak out of both sides of their mouths. But they should also be given credit when they pass on an overpriced FA or sign a future asset for under-market. One man’s ‘being cheap’ is another’s ‘being wise’. Either way, the 2021, 22, 23 W Sox teams are in line to be annual contenders. Let’s just enjoy the expected winning and not give one hoot about how Jerry R wants to spend (or not spend) HIS money. I think the W Sox are basically fiscally responsible and if you want to call that cheap, so be it.

I don’t expect my opinions to be popular here, but I think we all spend way too much time on how much they spend and the ‘business’ of baseball and not enough time just talking baseball.


I’ve got a lease in the Clark Street bridge but I’ll sub-let it to you for the low, low price of $100/day. What do you say?


Luckily for you, somebody has done the research, and the Sox likely make a ton of money on TV revenue!

(Also I’m not sure I would use a 1-year, $12 million contract as evidence of “spending big on FA”)

Last edited 2 years ago by mikeyb

When Jerry bought the team, both the Sox and the Cubs were coming out of a decade long doldrums. Since then, the top tier, big market status of the Cubs has become unquestioned, and for the Sox, the fact that play in Chicago has somehow become a burden to be overcome. These things are not immutable laws of nature, they are the result of decisions made. I appreciate that Jerry took a big swing with SportsVision back in the day, and struck out, but that was back when I was in diapers, and I’m getting close to 40 now. At some point, a reasonably aggressive owner would shake off the rust and try to take the damn thing. After all, the Sox do play in one of the top 5 markets in the country. They do play in the biggest media market in their division, by far. We as fans should expect more from this team, especially when the GM went out in public and said “the money will be spent.” He can lawyer-speak all he wants to obfuscate the issue, like, “I never said the money would be spent on Harper or Betts,” he knows damn well that those are the kinds of players fans want, and the team needs. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the team would be unquestionably better with those guys in right field instead of Adam Eaton, and better is better when you’re trying to win a world series.

But when you’re working under needlessly rigid payroll constraints, you have to start splitting hairs on what “better” means, because you can’t just go for the clear cut solutions. We don’t have Harper, or Machado, or whoever, because Jerry’s ironclad philosophy of fiscal responsibility has ruled out the possibility of signing them, and his over all timidity and conservatism over the last 4 decades has shrunk his team’s market share to the point that even dreaming about those guys raises anxiety specters of future payroll crunches.


I just want to say that I’ve tried to express similar thoughts dozens of times and haven’t been able to make them as clear and concise as you have here. Kudos.

Eagle Bones

Let’s also not act like the Sox being second bananas in this market is somehow a forgone conclusion (certainly not by the amount that they have been). With the Cubs willfully taking a step back right now and the Sox surging with all of their young talent, there was an opportunity here to pull in a bunch of casual Chicago baseball fans. The way you do that is with winning and building a fun brand that people want to be a part of. If this team goes the the playoffs the next several years in a row, makes a couple deep runs and maybe wins a WS, there is a lot to be gained in terms of market share. But no, let’s try to save all of the pennies we find under the sofa cushions in hopes of affording an extra six pack next month…


I try not to attack people for their opinions. It’s just baseball, after all. But it is something fans and some ownerships are passionate about. Reinsdorf just isn’t. “The trophy goes to the team that wins the most, not that spends the most.” Really, there is no relation there? No team with a payroll under 12th has won the World Series in the last decade. Seriously, can any adult that is being honest and objective believe that is a coincidence? That’s why people are ticked off that they are 15th in payroll and have Eaton, Rodon, and Lopez instead of 3 much better players in a year they are supposedly “all in”. The reason people talk about the “business of baseball” and dollars is it relates to the quality of the players and team they have, and their chances of winning a championship. Duh.

Whatever twisted logic that would promote that the Sox are actually a small market team in disguise despite playing in the 3rd largest city, that does not change that the Bulls are worth nearly 200 times what Reinsdorf bought them for in the 80’s, and he is worth like 1.5 billion, listed as the 10th richest MLB owner. Why people who are Sox fans make arguments supporting a cheap owner that has brought 1 championship to the south side in 4 decades and losing teams for the past decade is beyond my ability to understand. Reinsdorf is a few years away from the end of his life, and there is probably nothing that would be a happier event for him than bringing a championship to Chicago. So instead of giving back to the city that made him rich to the point where money should be all but meaningless to him, and spending to make a very good team great, he hoards. As if he can take any of it with him. It’s a disgusting philosophy, and if he is in this to make the most out of every dollar, he should sell the damn team to someone who actually loves baseball, and winning.

Last edited 2 years ago by jhomeslice

I also hear no bitchin’ about when the W Sox do spend big on a FA and he busts out. There’s been a few, and E Encarnacion’s 12 M last year is the most recent example.

From the very article that we’re all commenting on

Meanwhile, the reason White Sox fans wanted Hahn to spend is because they’re acutely aware of how poorly he fares when he tries to raid the bargain bin, and everybody wants a bigger margin for error.

But to add to this, I’d say

  1. You’re absolutely insane if you think a $12m is ‘spending big on a FA’
  2. I think many of us are less likely to criticize moves that are viewed as reasonable at the time, but turn out to be bad in retrospect. Pnoles graded the Encarnacion signing as a B at the time. Projection systems at the time were all pegging him for ~1.7 WAR (over 162 games). I think we (fairly) give the Sox FO a pass for good ideas that don’t pan out.
  3. On the other hand, we’ve absolutely criticized “big” FA signings that the Sox made before. Pnoles gave the Kelvin Herrera signing a D at the time.

When Giolito, Anderson, Robert, Eloy Yoan, Cespedes, Crochet, or whomever gets to their next contract, the W Sox payroll may explode if you want to keep these guys together.

But that’s just it – I don’t give a shit about the 2027 White Sox. We’ve suffered through an entire decade of mediocrity to get to a point where the 2021 White Sox are legit contenders. I’d rather that we focus on making the current White Sox team that is both good and would benefit immensely from extra improvements considering how close they are to the Twins at the moment – even if that means that the 2027 White Sox suck.

The trophy doesn’t go to the team that spends the most. It goes to the team that wins the most.

Too bad these things are very strongly correlated.

But they should also be given credit when they pass on an overpriced FA or sign a future asset for under-market.

Sure. And they should also be criticized when they pass on a reasonably priced FA that would have helped them dramatically.

It takes literally zero competence to sign a player currently under team control for multiple years to an ‘under-market’ contract. Some contracts, like Sale or Quintana’s, truly do end up being incredibly good for the team and those deserve praise. Others, like Eloy, Yoan or Robert’s, are hardly an underpay when you consider the alternative of simply going through arbitration with these players. They’re not bad either, but the FO didn’t get a steal.

Last edited 2 years ago by 35Shields
As Cirensica



If the price of three Stanley Cups in 1 decade is this current, mostly listless Hawks team, I don’t have a problem with it, and I don’t begrudge 2015 MrTopaz if he didn’t wast any time thinking about the current state of my fandom. It’s an object lesson in how to approach a contention window, and it’s right there on the near west side.


Same. They traded away the best pitcher I am likely to see in a White Sox jersey. Buehrle moved on too.
I care far more about seeing them win in the post-season over the next two or three years than I do about being emotionally entrapped by the notion of them keeping some players I like at the cost of them actually having a chance to win anything. Already did that song and dance.


Similarly, I get incredibly frustrated when I see people on twitter referring to how the Cubs blew it or how they were a failure. I hate defending the Cubs and am absolutely thrilled that they only ended up with one WS, but they built a great team, were in it consistently for half a decade and won a WS.

Make as much fun as you want, but ask any Cubs fan if they would rather have won in 2016 or have more of their core signed through the next few years (admittedly kind of a false choice given how much money that franchise has, but whatever). They’ll think your nuts for asking.

If the White Sox being favorites to win their division and having a solid chance at a WS in the next 2-3 years means that they suck for the rest of the decade, I’m more than happy to make that deal.

Eagle Bones

The fact that 8 people up voted this is insanity.


Apparently we have some fanboys lurking in the shadows.

Eagle Bones

One thing to add here that I think is important, this idea that “it’s the owners money, they dont have an obligation to spend” is kinda bullshit. These teams are all getting tax payer money, tax concessions or both, no? Theyre taking the money out of your pocket and you dont have a say in it. And heaven forbid they decide their stadium is too old because theyre going to extort the shit out of the local government with threats to leave. So yeah they kind of do owe it to the tax payers to invest in the team since the tax payers are (involuntarily) investing in the team.

Last edited 2 years ago by Eagle Bones

If Vaughn is as good as advertised, and
If the young studs in the bullpen continue to progress, and
If Cease is effective as the 4th starter, and
If Rodon or Lopez, or later in the season Kopech grabs a firm hold of the 5th spot, and
If they stay healthy,
This is a World Series team.

But if more than one of those goes wrong, they are going to have a tough time going deep in the playoffs, or even make the playoffs. That’s more if’s than a World Series team should have, and just spending some money on quality depth would have provided some backup for those if’s. This is a star-studded team, but if Leury or Engel or Zach Collins or Mendick has to play a significant role this year, they’re in trouble.

As Cirensica

The Chicago What-if Sox is always a World Series team contender.



Sounds like management is saying Kopech is starting the year in the sox pen… interesting so that 5th spot is basically just down to lopez and rodon.


I hardly think that can be called a done deal (Kopech in pen and Lopez/Rodon as 5th). I think Kopech will be very good, and it is reasonable to expect both Lopez and Rodon to be pretty bad. Unless by some miracle one of them is actually decent, meaning an ERA below 5 rather than above 6, it will be obvious that they can’t afford to lose every 5th game because their starters are terrible. Kopech is 2 1/2 years removed from surgery and looks great by all accounts. If he is on an innings limit he should still be good for 4 or 5. If he struggles he is still likely to be decent and way better than Lopez and Rodon. I’ll take 4 good innings from Kopech over awful innings from those other 2. It won’t take long into the season for ability to be the metric that determines who their 5th starter should be. I don’t think Lopez or Rodon will prove to have any. I think it is a good bet that neither one will be pitching by May, with Rodon likely on the DL by then anyway.

Last edited 2 years ago by jhomeslice

Im going on what management just said today.


I don’t disagree with that. But how long can they keep Rodon and Lopez in the 5th slot if they totally suck, which is likely, regardless of what they say now? Anyway not dissing your comment, only the idea that we will be stuck with the agony of watching either of those 2 clowns pitch for more than a very few starts. Unless they are going to intentionally sabotage the season and ruin all fan support, which is a possibility I suppose.

Trooper Galactus

Lost in the discussion about Rodon/Lopez as fifth starter is the very real possibility that unless Ethan Katz can fix Dylan Cease in a single offseason, the fourth starter spot could turn out being a disaster as well.


I have more hope for Cease than that. If he takes even a half step forward with better command, he will be more than adequate as a number 4. He doesn’t have to be great. I mean if you take everything to a negative extreme, there isn’t any point in following this team! I’m too critical to begin with, but recognize that I want to be positive in general and enjoy the season unless it turns into a disaster, which is probably unlikely. I think Kopech and Cease will be pleasant surprises, and nobody will be complaining about Rodon/Lopez for very long because they won’t be pitching much or even with the team in the 2nd half. When Fry gets back in May one of them is likely to be gone.

Keep the faith a little bit, LOL!

Last edited 2 years ago by jhomeslice
Trooper Galactus

I mean, we did similar wishcasting for Lopez, Fulmer, and others. Even if Cease is fixable, is such a fast turnaround a reasonable expectation? Sure, I’m hoping for it, but I’m not exactly writing him in for a 2+ WAR season either.


Cease was a top 20 prospect. He is not a multi year failure like Fulmer, but a guy with not even a full season MLB experience (130 innings in 2019/20) who has yet to find his command. Can’t give up on pitchers THAT quickly. He was also not totally awful last year even if his command was lacking. Many pitchers that became successful did not dazzle in their first 150 innings. Giolito was much worse than Cease before he got it together. Cease has an ERA of 5 over those 130 innings, and was not awful on the level of Lopez and Rodon last year, he doesn’t need THAT kind of turnaround.

The Sox put themselves in a situation where they are counting on Cease and Kopech. But they don’t have to be great, not for 2021. They aren’t asking them to be their 2 or 3 starters. For 2021 they just need to be able to fill out their 4 and 5 spots, which would not take miracles for two top 20 prospects. I’m usually the pessimist, but you may be too pessimistic even for me! Anyway the majority of my comments have been critical of their offseason, but they do have some reasons to hope that are much more realistic than counting on Eaton/Rodon/Lopez, and if healthy I expect some pretty good things this year aside from those 3. Rodon and Lopez can’t ruin much of anything if Cease and Kopech are fine. Somtimes better to think of things that can go right than expect everything to go wrong.

Last edited 2 years ago by jhomeslice
Trooper Galactus

I don’t mean to imply Cease is by any means a lost cause. If anything, the Sox hiring Katz to try to max out Cease’s potential early is one of their most commendable moves of the offseason. I just wonder if we’re taking him being a viable, 30 start/150 innings/100 ERA+ guy a bit too much as a given.

Trooper Galactus

You forgot, “If Adam Eaton doesn’t suck like he did in 2020.”


The Sox are so cheap now they’re giving their international signings knock-off uniforms!

Right Size Wrong Shape

If he’s going to be placed between the class A and AA levels, does that just mean he’s hanging out at a hotel in Atlanta all summer?


Adam Eaton as a laptop battery. That’s hilarious. But, is it lithium?


40% as effective as it was 4 years ago? Sounds spot-on.


Lithium is useful for life as a Sox fan.


I’d like to hear them asked what they did with all that money they saved over the last few years. I’m assuming Jerry just pocketed it.

karkovice squad

Except it was basically covered by the windfall profit from the MLBAM sale.

  1. Reinsdorf, or the org in general, crying poor b/c of one year of a pandemic is laughable. He buys the team for $20m and within 40 years it’s worth an estimated $1.65b. How about that for a return? Sure, that’s not cash, but there’s no denying that the money is there for a higher payroll if they wanted it to be there.
  2. The team was founded in 1894. They’ve never made the playoffs two years in a row. If that’s not a motivating factor in all of this, I don’t know wtf Jerry is doing as the owner. I’d be doing everything I could, a la the Padres, to become a powerhouse for the next 5-6 years. Not my money, easy to say, blah blah, but throwing an extra $10-$20m at this to isn’t at all unreasonable for fans to expect.
  3. It’s not always easy to be a WS fan. With the above said, I sure as hell prefer rooting for Jerry & Co., who at least sounds overall like a decent human being, then the Ricketts family.
Trooper Galactus

If I’m not mistaken, over half of their payroll is covered by revenue sharing and TV deals.


I don’t see the money being spent next year, either.

They have nine guaranteed contracts in 2022 worth $109,383,333 (I’m including an Eaton buyout and Lynn, Leury and Rodon come off the books).

Arb-eligible players like Giolito, Fry, Engel and Marshall should total about 15 mil, conservatively (with López shown the door). So we’re at $124,383,33.

Kopech, Cease, Heuer, Madrigal, Foster, Vaughn, Collins and Crochet bump up the salary to about $131 million for 21 players.

So if they, hopefully, bump up the budget to $151 million, they have 20 mil to replace Lynn, Eaton, Garcia, Rodon and López and improve the team.

Good luck with that. Bye-bye Thompson and other prospects.

Last edited 2 years ago by tommytwonines

Right, this analysis is pretty scary. This off season provided nothing long term except a closer, so the sox will have to find another Lynn type deal in the off season if they continue to refuse to spend free agent tier 1 money. That makes the development of all 2ndary prospect this year very consequential. Typically a Lynn… Darvish…. Snell type arm is available but what we saw was most of the big trades this off season teams wanted 18-19 year old talent. The Thompson, Dalquist, Kelley types will have to really show something to be viable trade options to acquire high end talent.

Trooper Galactus

If they don’t expand payroll, they’re just trying to ride out Keuchel’s and Grandal’s contracts and again stopping short of what was needed, just like 2016. At that point, they might even be trading away core players for more salary relief, even if they’re still productive in a manner commensurate with their pay.


I suspect JR will start “streamlining” once he feels the championship window is closing. The payroll will be Rays/Pirate-ish when he or the family sells.

Last edited 2 years ago by tommytwonines
Trooper Galactus

It would be so Renisdorfian to take the stance that a team’s sale value increases with a clean ledger, not huge hype around a star-studded roster.

karkovice squad

Joke’s on you. The money won’t be spent because owners will lock out the players.


They’re going to trade Giolito once his arb number starts to really climb. Rick compared himself to the Rays today, he’s already laying the groundwork for a Snell like trade.


The White Sox still haven’t matched the payroll they carried 10 years ago.

Pour one out for ‘actually the money has been spent’


Technically, Cot’s is projecting them to exceed their 2011 payroll. Still “actually, we’re spending $265,000 more than we were a ten years ago” doesn’t really make things much better.


Ah that makes sense, duh!


The dumbest thing in all of this is Hahn opening his mouth to disparage Sox fans and defend the specific “money will be spent” comment. They made the choice to go cheap this offseason. No reason to call more attention to it/inflame fans’ qualms by talking about it. Just leave well enough alone, hope your team lives up to its promise, and move on to the next horizon. Disappointing misstep for Hahn, who typically just spews out bland robot lawyer salad.

Trooper Galactus

I said it before; silence is an option. Another in a long series of unforced errors by a front office that can’t help but be as antagonistic as possible toward fans who have expectations (ones they set).


Like, Jerry had to know what he was and was not willing to spend. He also had to have had an idea of what the highest caliber players were going to be asking for. If there was going to be a big gap between what they were going to ask for and what he was willing to spend, he could’ve just called Rick and said, “Go easy on the ‘the money will be spent stuff.’ You’re good at talking around things. Do that, instead.” It’s not illegal to just stfu. They could have played coy all this time and been merely frustrating in the extreme, instead of playing it the way they did and insulting the fans.

Trooper Galactus

Let’s revisit this in five or six years. If they don’t win any World Series titles but make the playoffs a few times and maybe even win a series or three, is Hahn gonna poo-poo fans who expected a title when he set that as an expectation himself? Is he gonna crow about the rebuild leading to the best sustained run of success for the organization when the bar for that is appallingly low? History suggests yes.


The White Sox org always seems to be criticizing the fan base. Be it attendance shaming or not spending enough. It’s my fault, I shouldn’t make them so angry. The Sox really are a nice organization when you get to know them…..I might be in an abusive relationship.


Hahn is criticizing fans who read and think critically, and for looking at what other teams are doing. What a tool. Nobody can point out what the Padres are doing and ask why the Sox are stuck with a 14th or 15th ranked payroll and the same two pitchers that were disasters the past two seasons competing for the 5th starter spot. Oh wait, the new pitching coach will fix them! As if all pitchers on the Giants were great because of his influence.


“guys at or toward the top of the free agent market”

Including Keuchel as an example shatters credibility just to satisfy the rule of three. Did Hahn offer Cole or Bauer 3ys/$55MM? Hell, maybe he’ll buy out some FA years from Giolito at $18MM per. More than anything, that comment seems to imply an AAV at the QO level is the ceiling for a FA to fit in a Reinsdorf budget.

Trooper Galactus

I’m honestly fearful Moncada could be traded before his final no -option year because his salary spikes from about $18m to almost $25m. Even if he’s 2019 Moncada leading up to that, if Jerry’s still around he might actually balk at paying that, especially if the team is on the downturn.


Come now, the owner might still pay some of it to balance the prospect haul coming back.

Trooper Galactus

Nah, they’ll just send international bonus pool space.


If Kris Bryant has a monster year and the Sox sign him next year to play RF/DH, all will be forgiven.


If the Cubs have a mediocre season and Eaton is on the DL, Pederson may wind up in a Sox uniform this year before all is said and done.

Trooper Galactus

Oh goody! That way he will cost money AND prospects!


LOL I hope not. If Darvish and Lindor did not fetch much, a couple months of Pederson won’t take much. Maybe the Sox can resign Fulmer and send him to the Cubs, or… give them Lopez. : )

Trooper Galactus

Because if there’s one thing Hahn has shown, it’s that he can win prospect-for-veteran trades.


no, it won’t.


how i feel when hahn condescends to a fanbase that simply sees him for what he is.
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it’s just so frustrating that rather than be honest about the fact that they’ll never really spend, they lie to us and then get mad when we ask them about their previous promises.

karkovice squad

They add insult to injury by throwing contradictory lies at us. They want to have it all ways.

The least they could do is pick a story and stick to it.

Alex Schmidt

Let me get this straight: the executive who GAVE AWAY FERNANDO TATIS JR feels the fan base is failing to trust him enough. Is that what I’m reading?


“which makes his decision to take shots at the fan base all the more befuddling.”

Where did he take a shot at the fan base? He said there’s one thing Sox fans say that irritates him. There’s a pretty wide gap between those two things.


He said fans that criticize him “aren’t grounded in fact”. I feel that’s a pretty good swipe at fans.


For a while, I’ve been thinking that 2005 was the worst thing to happen to the White Sox from the point-of-view of them winning relatively cheaply, but I think what really did for them was 2006 & 2007, because I feel like the lesson learned was that spending big didn’t work. (Top 5 payroll in 2011 didn’t work out too well either).

Eagle Bones

Why not just cry poor because of the pandemic? I mean theyre both bullshit excuses, but at least they can hide behind their private books and not completely rake the fanbase over the coals with that one.

Also, when you’ve gotten jim to write a piece like this, you know you f’d up. There are so many times when I think a certain move is all terrible and jim comes in and at least offers an alternative line of thinking that makes me think eh maybe there’s a reason this makes some sense. The fact that they’ve left even jim this exasperated speaks volumes.

P.s. thank you, jim, for the Scott’s tots reference, it made my day.


I would take the pandemic excuse. I don’t think it’s particularly legitimate since the Sox make like $800k per game under the new TV deal (which they got to keep 100% of since the league suspended revenue sharing), got some playoff $, and they pay basically nothing on their lease. To be fair, they didn’t cut staff or minor league pay, at least not reportedly.

If they came out and said, “hey we took care of our people and as a result we weren’t able to push payroll to where it was planned to be” I don’t think anyone would be pissed off. But coming after fans who are rightfully asking why the heck they didnt have the money to sign anyone better than Adam Eaton in RF is weak.

Last edited 2 years ago by MrStealYoBase

Yeah, Hahn comes across as a real tool. I had some sympathy for him before since he isn’t the one who dictates how much he can spend, but here he is blatantly fabricating excuses for a cheap and gutless ownership with no love for baseball or the city of Chicago. Disappointing.


I want to thank every one for so clearly spelling out the reasons that I stopped giving any of my money to Jerry Reinsdorf many years ago.


Every. Single. Move. Is dictated by Jerry’s self-serving interests and cheapness. “Dangle the carrot,” as he says. The whole reason that the Sox overpaid for a closer, a position they’ve been able to produce talent cheaply, is to make the facade that they’re spending on top tier players, though we all a know a top tier closer doesn’t cost what a top tier RF or SP does. Moves are made not to better the team, but to make Jerry out to look well, when he is a thief and a crook of the emotions of sox fans. There’s a reason the Sox are worth what they are after he bought the club for the same as the Cubs were bought for. He doesn’t invest first to reap profit later and in sports, that’s a must. In fact, if he owned any entity besides a sports organization, his companies would have gone bankrupt decades ago. He prays upon the brand loyalty of sports fans by taking total advantage of it for his own gain. He’s a vile human being.


And he doesn’t get that “spending money to make money” is just sound business acumen. Ordinarily I might buy tickets to a few games in the future this year. But now, I can’t. Because there is no chance I’m paying money and would waste my time watching Rodon or Lopez start a game. So if I go to any games it will be with discretion and having to know who will pitch in advance, because their 5th starters (as long as Rodon and Lopez are pitching, which hopefully will not be long) are not even major league level. Without breaking the bank, if they simply spent a little more in a couple key spots, it would promote greater fan interest and loyalty, and show up in revenue. Instead by going cheap they promote animosity and fans feeling shortchanged for not having an ownership with balls and that cares about winning the way fans do.


Not spending is the root of so many poor decisions. IIRC, the Pads picked up a portion of Shields’ contract and the Sox sent Tatis back. Could have said we are keeping our lottery tickets but will pay more (nevermind the fact the org probably could have gotten Shields without either).