If the White Sox are done spending, it’s back to hoping

The Streisand effect is when the attempt to suppress a story backfires and draws more attention to it than if it were simply left alone. The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is when something you were previous unaware of keeps appearing on your radar after learning about it.

Now, which one better applies to the advice David Samson alleged Jerry Reinsdorf gave him?

If you’d missed that story from October 2019, a brief summary: Samson, the former team president of the Miami Marlins, purportedly received some advice from Reinsdorf:

Samson was Jeffrey Loria’s right-hand man in baseball’s worst ownership, and he earned scorn shortly after this for ripping Daniel Hudson’s decision to exercise paternity leave. The White Sox had plenty of reason to consider the source and let it die. Instead, they decided to form a team statement based on a bumper sticker on the back of a crossfitter’s car:

I don’t think I would have remembered Samson’s accusation were it not for that super-lame response, which is why the Streisand effect comes to mind. But reading the angry responses to Bob Nightengale’s latest relay about the White Sox’s inner workings on Wednesday night, the frequency illusion is also in play. A lot of people seem to keep noticing the way the White Sox pull up short, now that somebody mentioned it.

Nightengale, the only reporter Reinsdorf talks to, dismissed the low-level Nelson Cruz rumors and said the White Sox were just about tapped out.

Reinsdorf seems intent on ending the winter the way he started it by killing the excitement. He disrupted what finally appeared to be a real, actual, normal interview process to fill baseball’s most enviable managerial vacancy, installing Tony La Russa over the wishes of so many people in order to make up for his decades-old regret. Now he’s pouring water on hopes of filling even one of three gaps remaining on what could be the American League’s best team.

Considering that I initially relegated Nightengale’s initial La Russa reports as Reinsdorf’s attempt to publicly flatter a friend, I suppose I should correct course and take these things literally. There is room for ego service, in that should Rick Hahn come across a deal that makes an excessive amount of sense, Reinsdorf will be treated as the guy who dug deep in order to acquire the necessary talent.

But the ego aspect was the main reason I was cool to the idea of signing Liam Hendriks. It’s no knock on the talent — the talent’s great! — but I wasn’t thrilled at the spin rate the White Sox could put on the effort. Anybody who parses the words of the White Sox front offfice could have predicted the signing allowing Hahn to praise Reinsdorf for signing a premium free agent, even though closer contracts have the lowest ceiling of any position. And now here comes Nightengale doing that thing he does where he presents the total cost of the contract as money already spent in order to pump up the efforts of ownership beyond truth.

If the White Sox stopped spending now, they’re at around $127 million for their 2021 Opening Day payroll, which approaches the franchise record. That’d be impressive, except the full-season record* was set 10 years ago at $127,890,000, and that’s $150 million in today’s dollars. That payroll used to be top-10, and now it’s the median. Meanwhile, Forbes says the value of the White Sox has increased by more than $1 billion over that time.

(*They were on pace for a $135M opening day payroll last year, but the prorated version of it resulted in a $50M payroll for the 60-game season.)

Singling out those numbers:

  • 2011 value: $526 million
  • 2011 payroll: $127.9 million

And 10 years later:

  • 2021 value: $1.65 billion
  • 2021 payroll: ~$127 million

Figuring out how to make a rising tide lift just one boat? Chalk up another victory for Chicago engineering.

The spending would be more or less fine if the White Sox tried every year, rather than slashing their payroll to nothing over a recent multiyear period. The fiscal idea of rebuilding is saving money on inconsequential wins to spend it later when every victory counts. The Sox did the first part by slashing payrolls down to the bottom third (and once the bottom three) for the first three years of it. It appears the second part isn’t coming until the White Sox get good and their fans are allowed to spend money on the team.

They Sox remain in a good position to see it through, but so was Dr. Evil.

It doesn’t take a whole lot to foil what the White Sox have planned. Yoán Moncada, Eloy Jiménez, Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal, Adam Eaton and Dallas Keuchel have a tendency to miss weeks, the back end of the rotation requires at least one Best Shape of His Life Story to pan out, and Lance Lynn is a free agent after the season. Nevertheless, they’re telling Nightengale that they’re probably closing the door on other substantial additions, leaving White Sox fans to hope the Twins don’t regroup while they’re not looking.

Sure enough, Minnesota followed up its signing of J.A. Happ with Andrelton Simmons, who helps prevent Rocco Baldelli from asking too much from his utility players. Those two moves put the Twins back in front of the White Sox in the projections, and if Cruz returns to Minnesota without a White Sox counter, the Sox will have missed an opportunity to crash the standings. It’s the kind of missed opportunity that makes it a little too easy for fans to think that second place isn’t the first loser, but the first objective.

(Paul Bergstrom/Icon Sportswire)

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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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knoxfire30

LOLOLOLOL laugh so you won’t cry. No one tries harder to send away their fans and dampen enthusiasm then this sox franchise, what in the hell are they doing???? The division could absolutely be locked up for half a decade with reasonable expenditures and yet they enter a 2021 season having minimally improved their 2020 roster, and doing absolutely nothing (one could argue downgrading) their 2022 and beyond roster…. the lack of SP depth after the top 3 is terrifying, they have no dh or backup catcher solution, they are hoping an oft injured rf bounces back… I mean its just shocking how many things “could” go wrong with this thin roster. Sure everyone could stay healthy, young players could fulfil promise, guys could bounce back etc etc but this team had enough cheap talent to go out fill gaps and reinforce the bench so that multiple things could go wrong and they could still win the division and compete for a title. Of course that won’t happen so every game we will cautiously watch and hope Eloy doesnt run into a fence, Gio, Lynn, or Kuechel dont wince after throwing a pitch, grandal doesnt strain an oblique … etc etc. SO FREAKING FRUSTRATING.

HallofFrank

Yes, the White Sox will probably finish behind the Twins in the standings this year, but won’t you just be SO GLAD they won’t have to pay George Springer any money in 2026?

Last edited 1 year ago by HallofFrank
metasox

There were affordable catcher, DH and back-end rotation options that could have rounded out the team without long-term commitment. Not pursuing that would feel to me like a bigger fail.

knoxfire30

Even the round out scenario would of been underwhelming but at least you would feel better about 2021 and have hope that with fans back at some point maybe they could fool us again that they would bring spend in the top tier next off season… just a joke that with the chance to secure high end talent for the entire stretch drive they have decided not to. We will be talking about a frontline starter and RF next off season for sure.

Eagle Bones

Yep. It would be hard for me to give them an F for the offseason after trading for Lynn and signing Hendriks, but if they willingly go into the season with this many blatant holes and such an extreme lack of depth on the roster because of some arbitrary, short-term budget “challenges”, it has to be a pretty low grade.

patrick

I think what’s most unsatisfying for me is that they spent all of this “premium” money on a guy that, while significantly better talent-wise, probably won’t actually move the needle much as far as outcome compared to last year. Their biggest struggles came when they ran out of SP depth, they had injuries to some of their better hitters, and their run-producers slumped towards the end. The Hendriks signing addresses none of those, the Lynn trade is a subtle improvement, and the Eaton signing may actually hurt in 2 of those areas given he’s: A) bad, and B) hurts himself.

Everyone knew RF and DH and SP were necessary to make this team into one that could actually sustain slumps and injuries. They not only settled, they arguably dug a big hole for themselves given the inevitability of Eaton and Eloy missing chunks of time.

Eagle Bones

Yep, the whole “they don’t need Springer because the lineup is already good” argument never made sense to me for a lot of the reasons you mention.

texag10

Ok, let’s not get too crazy. Lynn is a massive improvement to our starting rotation. Is it enough? No, but it’s not a “subtle improvement” by any stretch.

Trooper Galactus

Sure, for one year.

texag10

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying. I don’t think they are viewing this year as a complete “go for it” season. They already have the players in place to round out the roster.

You want want starting pitching? Lopez and Cease are obviously going to get better and Kopech will be getting worked up in the minors along with Flores and Stiever for depth.

Why do you think we need a backup catcher? Zack Collins is one of the top prospects in the organization and he’s finally ready to contribute at the major league level.

Who needs Nelson Cruz when you have Andrew Vaughn to rotate between 1B, DH, and (just for the hell of it) 3B. Just you wait!

Adam Eaton is going to be a solid everyday player in right for us and if Cespedes isn’t ready to start next year, that’s why he has a team option in his contract.

You see? Everything is perfectly in place and there are no holes whatsoever in this roster.

Eagle Bones

This post needs more “clearly”.

HallofFrank

The failure to sign a premium FA is the bigger failure. A cheap C, DH, and back-end starter would help, but it wouldn’t move the needle much. I’d still expect them to be behind the Twins (especially once they sign Cruz).

If this rebuild fails or is disappointing, the failure we’ll look back on is the failure to sign a premium FA. The big FA signings in the attempt to go from worst to first include a catcher, closer, their 3rd best SP, and Abreu. That raises the floor of the team, but it doesn’t raise the ceiling much. It’s just difficult to understate how much of a difference a premium FA would have made and they could have done it while running a very reasonable payroll.

metasox

This org isn’t doing big, long-term commits that will then be used as an excuse to retain other players. I can accept that. And I am not getting too worked about winning or not winning the WAR battle on paper. But there isn’t an excuse to at least field a complete team with some depth, if serious about winning.

HallofFrank

The Sox have $75m committed in ’23 & $71m in ’24. If $16m (the ~difference between Eaton and Springer) is an acceptable excuse for not retaining other players, then that is a major problem.

jhomeslice

Frank, exactly, your highlighted sentence says it all.

andyfaust

Well don’t get your hopes up. The Oracle (Bob Nightengale) has spoken.

knoxfire30

Typically Nightengale stuff I would take with a grain of salt, but he has been on a couple very unlikely rumors that panned out this off season so he has gained credibility.

texag10

I mean, the roster for 2022 is pretty much locked in except for, say it with me now: starting pitcher, right fielder, and designated hitter. But at least we’ll finally get Konerko off the books which will free up money to cover absolutely nothing because raises will offset all of it. Get ready for no free agent signings for the next few years because we already don’t have any money.

grittyiq

With Sugano and now Tanaka pitching in Japan, it will be especially disappointing if (when?) they end up a starter short again.

MarketMaker

reinsdorf’s distaste for the burden of expectations would certainly explain his reticence to banish the incompetence he surrounds himself with. while the sox are mired in mediocrity he can relentlessly pursue profits, but when winning implores investment he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place.

asinwreck

ONE MILLION DOLLARS!

(Jerry, no, you’re worth over one billion dollars. Spend like it.)

mikeyb

What was the 2020 payroll? Hahn’s whole thing was that competing last year was a year ahead of schedule. But if the target to be competitive is 2021, shouldn’t the 2021 payroll be significantly higher than 2020? Because right now it looks to me like the payroll is basically flat year over year.

mikeyb

Ah fair, for some reason that detail completely slipped my mind.

andyfaust

“The fiscal idea of rebuilding is saving money on an inconsequential wins to spend it later when every victory counts.”

I’ve tried expressing this thought in many of my comments over the last year or two. I’m just not as good with words.

Does Reinsdorf just think he’s smarter than everyone else and can win without spending big? Not even “big”, I think most of us are just asking for average. I think it was josh that said in a recent pod, just $10M more could make a huge difference at this point in plugging one or more of the remaining holes. You hope the front office ends up looking smart in their frugality, at the expense of other clubs, but other than 2005, it’s his own clubs fans that JR makes to look like suckers.

Eagle Bones

I think it’s clear that “winning” (as in maximizing your number of wins) isn’t really anywhere near the top of Jerry and many of the other owners’ priority list. Winning only seems to be important as it applies to making money (i.e. be good enough to maximize your profits).

LoveLittleLouie

Been a Sox fan since Elston and Rush and my strong opinion is that Jerry has a passion for winning that we had not had prior. However, he is a businessman, not a Steinbrenner, and part of the winning is doing what he thinks is smarter. I really have no reason to believe he is trying to be cheap to have more money for himself. That does not mean I would not want better players that cost more money.

Eagle Bones

References to Streisand Effect and Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, with an Austin Powers video, in an article about the White Sox willingness and intentions around spending and contending. Jim, you make even the most painful subjects enjoyable to read about. Well done as always.

lastof12

I like this golden nugget: “Figuring out how to make a rising tide lift just one boat? Chalk up another victory for Chicago engineering.”

Last edited 1 year ago by lastof12
patrick

I always kind of roll my eyes at the “I’m done with this team” comments, because so often are they just blatant overreactions without any meat behind them. And really, actively trying to not follow your favorite team is much more difficult than I’d expect (see: how many Bears games I watched this year). I think the problem that the White Sox have is that they just aren’t very compelling. Sure, Luis Robert is an absolute gem to watch, and I can’t wait to see the moon balls he hits in 2021, but I can watch those clips before bed without any real investment. They spent a lot of their good will telling me that they were just waiting for the right time to land those blue chip free agents. If their definition of blue chip is a declining player who was a cancer IN YOUR OWN CLUBHOUSE, well then it just doesn’t get me excited. They still aren’t as good as the Twins. They had every opportunity to be head and shoulders above them, in a year where KC, Detroit, and Cleveland are throwing in the towel. But alas…

So, rather than buy the MLB package to watch the White Sox this season and maybe buying a new Sox hat, I will check their scores on occasion. Maybe tune in if they’re on national TV and I have the time. I’m not going to actively try to root for a different team, I’m just not going to care about theirs. What’s sad is that seems like that’s closer to their goal than actually trying to put a good product on the field.

Trooper Galactus

I’m certainly done spending money on this team.

GrinnellSteve

I’m so discouraged. I assumed they would still add a back-end starter, someone a notch or two above the Detwiler class (Q was my hope), and a veteran catcher, even one who could be stashed at Charlotte if or until the Collins experiment failed.

Yeah, they could have done so much more, but those two moves would have been good insurance for problems one can easily imagine occurring. Instead, at the moment the roster is ready to explode and the city is ripe to be owned, they’re skimping on payroll. This is looking more and more like a Pirates-style rebuild. And that’s if we’re lucky.

HallofFrank

To be fair, I still think there’s a fair chance of that happening. The quote is the Sox have “little wiggle room” in the budget, but it shouldn’t take much wiggle room to sign a back-end starter or veteran catcher.

I’d say this quote just rules the Sox out for someone like Ozuna or Cruz—and probably even more modest additions, like Rosario.

GrinnellSteve

I could see a back-end starter being added, but the number of candidates dwindles every day. We may find ourselves wishing they had signed someone as good as Detwiler.

As Cirensica

I wouldn’t oppose to bring back Carlos Rodon. I meant, instead of doing nothing

I read somewhere the Cubs were interested in Rodon with a 1 million dollar deal.

zevsenesca

I just learned about the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon a few weeks ago and I keep seeing it everywhere! LOL

asinwreck

Nicely done.

LoveLittleLouie

Great catch.

MrStealYoBase

WS fans: “This team is good but seriously lacking depth. Can you guys make depth by adding to the top half of the roster?”

Jerry: “No.”

WS fans: “Alright fine. Can you at least add depth by adding to the bottom half of the roster.”

Jerry: “Also no.”

NorthSideHitman

Here’s a thought! Instead of incessant complaining, stop being a fan of the White Sox or follow another team. 🙂

Eagle Bones

Jim, we need the down vote button back…

joewho112

Literally my thought too when I read that comment. Total troll

Greg Nix

Ah yes, the defining feature of a true sports fan: never complaining.

asinwreck

Hey, don’t dis Kenny Williams’s burner account.

Root Cause

If you don’t get too involved in the politics of it and want to enjoy a ballgame, then you are lucky indeed, as 2021 will be fun to watch.

Those who expected the front office to keep the promises they made during the rebuild and expect them to finish the project are frustrated as we watch them let this opportunity pass us by.

I am currently at level 4 of the grieving stage and figure I will get to stage 5 by opening day.

NorthSideHitman

Look… people who comment on this website don’t know me and I don’t know them. I am not a “troll” and I am a “true sports fan” who has been following the Sox religiously since the 1970’s. I clearly understand that JR doesn’t spend and will never spend. However, the number of owners who DO spend are few and far between. AND, this has been going on for the entire history of the sport. Owners, in general, have always made money at the expense of the players. Is it right? Of course not. Every owner makes their own decision on how to operate their team and many treat their teams as a business. JR is one of them who runs his teams like a business. Do I want JR to spend? Of course I do, but it’s not my money and it’s not my team. What I don’t get is why so many people incessantly complain. IMHO, nothing is accomplished and nothing positive comes of it…all it creates is more negativity. I truly believe and stand by what I stated earlier: if you don’t like how your team is being run, then don’t be a fan of that team. Don’t go to the games, don’t buy the merchandise… in essence, don’t give your money to the owner you despise. From my perspective, nothing is being accomplished by pouring gas on the fire. My goal here is to not be a “troll.” My aim is to get some of the fans on this site to take a step back and make the choice to truly enjoy the sport they love and not to get mired down in the negative aspects of it. Hopefully my rambling here makes sense…

ParisSox

But the point of being a fan is not just rooting for the wins during the season, but rooting for them to build a winner during the offseason.

And we aren’t asking Jerry to bankrupt himself, just make reasonable investments to patch the glaring holes on the roster so they can better compete. (And even here we’ve lowered our standard from asking for elite players).

When he apparently refuses to do even that and hides behind bogus excuses (Hendricks’ money 4 years from now), we have a right to be pissed off and complain. It comes with the territory of wanting OUR team to be the BEST team. That’s what being a fan is all about.

joewho112

I am a fan of the team so I root against whoever gets in the way of their winning games. Right now, no one is preventing them from winning more games than Reinsdorf

Trooper Galactus

Okay, so let’s just ignore that a) they explicitly said they would spend, b) they spent more than this a decade ago on a less talented team, and c) they’re spending at the league median, so plenty of other owners are spending the same money they do in smaller markets.

andyfaust

d) as Jim pointed out if you scroll up, the 2020 Sox had MORE payroll committed ($135M) than the 2021 club does right now.($127M) with PCR only 2-3 weeks away.

“The window is open”
“ We are now in that stage, certainly the most exciting stage of contending for championships.”
-Rick Hahn Dec. 2020

They are on course to actually spend less this year than they were exactly a year ago before the “window” was open.

Rick Hahn is second to none in spin rate.

Trooper Galactus

Hahn can kiss my butt. I’d be a lot more accepting of a limited payroll if he had not lied about it to begin with, and especially if he’d shown any aptitude in getting value out of budget free agents in his 8 preceding offseasons.

ParisSox

Honestly if you put Hahn in another team where he has free reign, I think he’d be an excellent GM. I know a lot of people don’t agree with that.

Trooper Galactus

If you put Hahn on a team with a large budget and less insular minor league development I think he would do okay, but I think the same could be said of most GMs. Put him on a team like the A’s and he’d kill them every year with his low/mid-market free agent signings and inability to add through trades that don’t involve young players with immense surplus value.

Last edited 1 year ago by Trooper Galactus
Root Cause

How do you grade a co-pilot when the pilot is sitting in the pilot seat and the cabin door is locked?

  • We know that the ride has been bumpy since Jerry took the pilot seat
  • We found paradise in 2005 but can’t find our way back
  • We crashed in 2016
  • We are sitting on the tarmac now with little baggage and while our destination is Hawaii, we have enough gas to reach LA.
As Cirensica

I don’t agree with that. He might be good at financially running a sports team, but he can’t assess talent nor get people around him to help him assess talent.

Trooper Galactus

That was what I was getting at about the insular hiring practices. Get Hahn away from the White Sox and maybe half the organization wouldn’t be staffed by former players and prospects.

Eagle Bones

Despite how annoying these reports from Nightengale are, and I’d be pretty furious if they really went into ST without making ANY additional additions to the ML roster, I still think what Jim mentions below is the most likely outcome. It seems likely Jerry is using his favorite puppet to reset fan expectations for any remaining moves / payroll additions and now when they swoop in in several weeks and sign Brad Miller, Trevor Cahill and some vet catcher on cheap / MiLB deals, Jerry can again go back to Nightengale and spin this as going above and beyond to build a WS caliber roster despite all of their financial hardships.

There is room for ego service, in that should Rick Hahn come across a deal that makes an excessive amount of sense, Reinsdorf will be treated as the guy who dug deep in order to acquire the necessary talent.

mikeschach

fool me over and over and over… shame on me and all that
but I still hold out hope that if TLR bothered to come back to manage, he will get Jerry to at least round out the team with decent (tho not exciting) backend starter, Flowers type backup catcher and and a LH DH.
It still hurts that we were positioned to be great but it will be fun watching very good.

Greg Nix

Sign Nelson Cruz but make him wear a Paul Konerko jersey. Reinsdorf won’t know the difference.

grittyiq

I’m likely in the minority on this, but I still want to see what Yermin can do at DH. Better time would have been last season when EE was clearly cooked, but alas

As Cirensica

I wouldn’t mind using Yermin as our DH, but this team must find another starting pitcher. Too much risk with the current staff, and Stiever is the Plan B,C,D and E. Not good.

grittyiq

Absolutely, couldn’t agree more

lifelongjd

Reinsdorf’s response reminds me of Michael Scott proactively calling a press conference to get ahead of a minor paper issue he felt he could control which of course blew up in his face. This exemplifies Jim’s description of the Streisand effect perfectly.

His response to Sampson gave us insight as to his exact thinking, and it proved the original quote to be indeed accurate, despite his lame attempt to disown it. Unfortunately his team’s activity this offseason backs it up even further.

denny

I made a new years resolution to try to enjoy baseball (the game) and not get caught up in the business of the game. But here we go anyway. Reinsdorf is who we think he is and it doesn’t serve a whole lot of purpose to analyze his statements and take sides. He ain’t gonna change. We also know who Nightengale is and he ain’t gonna change either.

I believe one of the reasons the W Sox roster payroll is middling is that they locked up some of the young core to team friendly deals and minimized the number of higher-priced veterans. We can debate that there’s room for more, but it’s simply opinions. The dollar crisis will arise when those deals all start to expire.

I’ve always believed that a higher payroll doesn’t necessarily translate to a championship and that the rankings are fluid with the W Sox dropping a bit this offseason that has has GM like San Diego, NY Mets, and Toronto. What’s the difference if the W Sox’ payroll ranks 8th, 11th, or 14th ? Still gotta play the games. No trophies are given to the team that spends the most.

I also believe that the W Sox may have learned their lesson in committing to a DH-only player. With only 13 nonpitcher roster spots, if the team has the flexibility and the personnel to mix and match, why not have that roster spot to a guy that can grab a glove when need be? So leave Cruz alone and consider a LH-OF to mix with Eloy or hope that Vaughn is as advertised.

Jim, it’s a good article but Reinsdorf has proven that he’ll continue as he desires and that we shouldn’t waste one minute when he starts talking out of both sides of his mouth. And he cares not one iota on how we think he should spend HIS money.

lifelongjd

Good insight….but I think the disdain comes from them not being truthful or trying to “con” the fans into thinking they’re 100% into winning, whatever the cost. Reinsdorf saying he believes 2nd is the first loser or Hahn stating the money will be spent were simply not backed up by the way they’ve gone about building the team.
I agree with you on letting young, unproven players get an opportunity to see what they can do. But this team is ready to seriously contend. So if cheapening out on the last pieces of the roster comes back to haunt them, they have no excuses.

denny

thanks, lljd … understand the disdain, my opinion is that JR’s ‘con’ will continue so let’s forget him and watch and the games. I agree there’s a roster spot or 2 yet to fill and that cost shouldn’t hinder as long as there’s reward. IMO, the guy should be able to play OF or 2nd /3rd catcher.

oldtimer

With you 100%. I enjoy the heck out of my grandkids and am really looking forward to the season however the line up card is filled out. This is a 95 win team in my opinion. I am glad EE is gone and no Nelson. Vaughn will have his ups and downs but we will be glad to have him when our playoff run starts. Just curious if anyone knows what the Sox status is on employees let go. They always mention how the Cubs axed all those employees (100 or more). Did the Sox?? I remember a column from last year saying they were one of the best in the treatment of their employees.

Eagle Bones

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/dan-szymborski-fangraphs-chat-1-28-21/

12:31Guest: Why do some equate “wanting to win” with “overpaying free agents”?

12:31comment image Dan Szymborski: Because at some point, it’s the only practical way to improve

12:31comment image Dan Szymborski: Make the Phillies win 92 games without signing anyone

12:32comment image Dan Szymborski: I’ll hang on the line.

Eagle Bones

Wow Dan is going to love that pasting his chat responses into this discussion board now includes his picture being blown up along with them haha!

asinwreck

Especially since it’s the rendering of Old Dan, who has quite the fearsome, wizened glare!

dongutteridge

That would be very sad if they’ve decided to continue this futile approach because it worked exactly once (2005).

I contend that they’re likely to finish behind Minny if they don’t add one of Odorizzi, Paxton, Walker or Wainwright – the only available free agents likely to make a difference.

I can live with them finding out definitively what they have at backup catcher as it’s not very difficult or costly to acquire one in May or June, if needed.

Although, I would not try to rush Vaughn and I would be surprised if he was ready soon, this appears to be the Sox plan. I don’t think DH is as big an issue as starting pitching but I still don’t care for it.

Biggest question for the White Sox is, what happens if 1 of the big 3 starters (Gio, Dallas or Lynn) goes down with injury? They’re gonna punt the season because Cease, Kopech and Lopez will be getting the bulk of the starts?

Sounds stupid to me.

oldtimer

Today is my day to agree with other commenters. My one concern is the lack of one more starter. I can only hope that if one of the big three go down we are able to fill with some combination of Cease, Kopech, Lopez, Lambert or Siever. Maybe even using bullpen day headed by Crochet. More likely is mid-season acquisition. If one of the big 3 goes down late then there is big time trouble, but this would be true for most teams. I like this club alot! Great team, great culture. I’ll be attending games if I get the vaccine and they’ll let me!!

LoveLittleLouie

Right, why can’t HOF Person manager figure out a way to cobble together 20 of the 30, or so, “5th starter” games with openers, bullpen days and brash kids?

Michael Kenny

Trying out the other catchers is fine in a vacuum, but if they’re terrible (not unlikely), trying to win every game will necessitate severely overplaying Grandal. His health is critical to the team’s success, and having no real alternatives makes it hard to rest him.

That’s without even getting into what happens if he misses time.

35Shields

The other disappointing thing about pulling up short this offseason is that it makes the Lance Lynn trade bad in retrospect. That trade was fine at the time – it just meant that the Sox put a high value on wins now, but if they’re not going to spend more money to win now, then what was the point?

Trooper Galactus

That’s really starting to piss me off too. Sure, the team really needed a guy like Lynn, but rather than simply spend money, or maybe try to trade lesser prospects for a more expensive option, they gave up six years of control of a high end prospect for one year of Lynn, then proceeded to not go hard at winning for that one year. It only confirms my fear that they went after Lynn because ownership refused to spend and he was the only top-end option they could afford to add. Great for 2021, but puts us right back in the same situation in 2022, even if Kopech and/or Cease can establish themselves in the rotation.

35Shields

It’s really hard to square the Lynn trade unless

  1. You’re way more pessimistic on Dunning than projection systems are
  2. You’re way more optimistic on Lynn than projection systems are
  3. You’re *heavily* valuing present wins over future wins.

It’s pretty clear that they’re not doing #3. They’ve left multiple holes in their roster and they could have had both Quintana and Schwarber for what they’re paying Hendriks.

So we’re left with #1 and #2 and the Sox FO doesn’t really inspire a lot of confidence that they’re better at projecting talent than simple projection systems.

Trooper Galactus

Dunning seems like a pretty sure bet to turn out a lot better than Chris Bassitt, and look at how that trade bit us in the ass.

HallofFrank

I disagree with this sentiment when they made the trade and I disagree with it now. I’m annoyed the Sox haven’t done more, but the Lynn trade is still a good one The reason is simple: they put themselves in a *much* better spot to make a deep playoff run at minimal future cost.

I guess if I had to plot myself in your 3 options it would be a combo of #1 or #2. Lynn has been a top 10 pitcher in baseball the last two years and I think he’ll repeat it. Even with a decline, he’s likely still very good.

It really just feels like Dunning is over-hyped because of like 3 starts. He’s a 26 year old, 45 FV prospect who projects to be a mid-4’s FIP starter. His *ceiling* is probably a #3 starter. Is that valuable? Absolutely. But can that also be found easily and rather cheaply in other ways? Yes. A future lack of Dane Dunning shouldn’t be the difference between playoffs or not—and it especially shouldn’t be the difference between championship or not.

Trooper Galactus

A #3 starter can be found so easily and cheaply, yet the White Sox failed to sign even a #4 or #5 starter on their budget. Dunning was fair value in isolation, but a lot to give up if there wasn’t going to be a heavier investment in winning in 2021.

Eagle Bones

Yep, said this before. The problem with trading dunning isnt that he might be really good and make them regret the trade, it’s that they wont spend to backfill that spot in free agency with a similarly solid arm if Lynn walks after the season.

Trooper Galactus

Lynn’s contract coming off the books in 2022 basically covers the contractual raises for Jimenez and Moncada. The young stars ain’t gonna get any cheaper, and if payroll doesn’t advance significantly now, I hate to think of what it will be like in a couple years when Anderson’s first option comes up.

HallofFrank

To be fair, they haven’t failed at that yet. Like EB has pointed out, I do expect them to add a #4/5 ish starter despite the quote. And while a failure to do so would be frustrating, I at least understand (even if I disagree) the impulse to want to give Cease/Lopez/Kopech all the opportunities you can with Katz at the helm.

They should have gone further for 2021, but with Lynn they are a legit WS contender in ’21. Without Lynn, I don’t think they are.

Trooper Galactus

You guys are a lot more optimistic than I am about them adding anything of significance. To my eyes and ears it seems like the only depth they’ll add will be rebound guys on minor league contracts like Ervin Santana a couple years ago.

Trooper Galactus

Well, I was half right. Carlos Rodon SHOULD have been given a minor league contract.

Holland23

Here’s how I see this offseason play out. Hahn signs Bauer, Cruz, Molina, Bradley Jr. Cuts Eaton, Fires La Russa, signs Bochy. Boom steak diner.

jhomeslice

If all 7 of those things happen, I will buy you steak dinners for a year!

christmastime

Lance Lynn will receive qualifying offer if he no extension is reached, 2 yrs 13 million AAV is not bad for Dunning

Trooper Galactus

I’d be very surprised if the White Sox extended Lynn a QO even if he has another top-6 CYA finish. It’s basically a 1 year/$19 million contract for a 35-year old pitcher, and they’d probably be afraid he might accept it.

To Err is Herrmann

Way back when Tony LaRussa was hired, several people commented that the upside was he would be in a position to persuade Jerry to get him the players he needed to contend for championships. I am really curious to know what LaRussa thinks of this roster construction. He was the original data guy. First interview with him will be interesting. Doesn’t look to me like the Sox are really going for it this year. I have no expectation that they will next year either. The strategy seems to always be “lightning in a bottle.” If only we didn’t play in a small market. Sigh.

dongutteridge

It sure seems like the Sox plan for this season is to rely heavily on Cease, Kopech and Lopez. That sucks.

Trooper Galactus

I think Jerry only relented to Cooper’s firing and Ethan Katz’s hiring because it meant the plan involved their internal options developing rather than spending money, and his loyalty can only go so far.

dongutteridge

Damn. Could be right. Wainwright is off the board.

But, Joc Pederson to Chicago is reported!

Cubs

jhomeslice

Very well written and articulate article.

And for those optimists who like to give Jerry the benefit of the doubt, consider that the Sox enter this season with the 14th highest payroll. Does that mean they can’t win? Of course not. But let’s take a look at the past 10 years, and see if there might be any correlation between payroll and World Series probability. 5 of those 10 winners had payrolls in the top 5. Of the other 5, the lowest payroll was 12th, with the Royals.

How likely is it that the Sox break that pattern? Now I’m not saying I expect them to be top 5, that’s not ever going to happen. But even like 10th would be enough to plug their gaping holes and complete lack of depth (a SP and real right fielder), and give them a REAL shot. Going into this year, needing Kopech and Cease to be successful for the whole year, and the other 3 to stay healthy, to avert the disaster of having to rely on Lopez… needing Eaton to stay healthy when he has averaged half a season on the DL the past 4 years… hoping for an internal DH solution (although that is much less of a need than SP depth or a real RF)… this team needs way too many unproven things to go right to have a realistic chance of going deep into October. And Pederson signs with the Cubs – for LESS THAN Eaton! I don’t love Pederson, he is a strikeout machine and similar to Dunn or Encarnacion, but he would be healthy enough to play at least, and would be a much better run producer with 25+ homers than someone likely to miss 60-100 games and who has never driven in 60.

It’s back to hoping, as the article says. Which realistically is like Lloyd Christmas in Dumb and Dumber “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!”.

Trooper Galactus

The White Sox are 14th in payroll right now, but that could still change in one of three ways:

1) They surprise us and spend more money (they’re roughly $15 million short of the top-10)

2) Teams ahead of them cut more payroll (i.e.-if the Rockies trade Arenado they’ll likely drop well below the Sox)

3) Teams behind them add payroll (the Braves, Reds, and Twins are all within striking distance)

Spotrac currently lists the median payroll at $108 million (Sox payroll listed at $120 million, so I don’t know how precise these figures are, though they appear to be roughly accurate). This number is being heavily dragged down by the Indians and Pirates, who are both running payrolls south of $40 million. Assuming some of the bottom feeder teams have to spend at least a few million dollars to flesh out their rosters and avoid violating the CBA minimum spending guidelines per the revenue sharing agreements, I’d expect that figure to rise at least a little bit. So yeah, “the money will be spent” has resulted in a roughly league-average payroll in a go-for-broke season.

Screw you, Jerry.

jhomeslice

LOL, I think that pretty much said it (very well). Yeah unless this offseason is an aberration because of COVID and they actually do spend next winter (which is possible, even if not highly likely… they had a higher payroll a few years ago with what turned out to be a very bad team, and other teams are not spending much either), it sure looks like they will likely be a what-could-have-been story despite having a truly fantastic core of players.

As much as I am sure I will become interested once the season starts, if someone gets hurt or something goes wrong with a pitcher, their lack of depth will bite them. And it will quickly become “why bother”. It has nothing to do with the players, but this ownership deserves no fan loyalty whatsoever, with how this city has made Jerry incredibly rich, with the Bulls now worth nearly 200 times what he paid for them in the 80’s. The Sox have had one championship level team in 4 decades of ownership. I wish he would just sell the damn team to someone who is an actual sports fan, and who is not in it just for the money. It’s all about greed, in the end.

Trooper Galactus

It’s not a COVID aberration. The Toronto Blue Jays, the one team in the league that will not be playing in their home city in 2021 (certainly not to start the season) added two top free agents, one on a long term deal. While Jerry’s butt-puppet Nightengale spins the White Sox spending $54 million on Hendriks for the next 4 years (or more) is somehow financially crippling, the Blue Jays are spending more than that on free agents in 2021 ALONE. There are teams trying to win it all, then there’s the White Sox, finding the latest way to be second best.

Last edited 1 year ago by Trooper Galactus
jhomeslice

I can’t argue with that and share your disappointment, and agree totally that touting Hendricks as a “big ticket addition” is a joke. He only replaces Colome, who made 10M last year. For 2021 Hendricks is only making 2M more than Colome did. Hendricks isn’t an addition at all since closer was not an issue or reason they did not win in 2020. I’m just holding hope that they might do something next winter, with not only better revenues but no uncertainty going into 2022 as far as attendance.

Perhaps it is hopeless with this ownership. But it wouldn’t take an enormous spending spree to make this team a lot more solid, so I hope things are not as dark as some believe, with some positive possibilities at least!