Aloha, it’s your favorite friend with questionable character. As the offseason ended and spring training continues there is something that continues to bother me, that is the failure of the White Sox in the Harper – Machado free agent class. Yes, this occurred before the 2019 season and it is 2022, but the damage and failure can still be seen with the organization.
I am sure everyone remembers the absolute failure, sorry White Sox there is no other way to say it, of the Manny Machado pursuit. I felt that they pursued the wrong player and to add insult to injury absolutely failed in every facet possible. The offer made to Machado while “worth more” contained 50 million less in guaranteed money and vesting options that could have made it worth 350 million dollars. The options were based on factors that Machado could not directly control, including number of bats, btw it will be interesting to see if the team manipulates Dallas Keuchel’s innings to avoid hitting that 160-inning vesting option for 2023.
Now my opinion is that they not only spectacularly failed with Machado but, more significantly, they PURSUED THE WRONG GUY. Bryce Harper was, and still is, the player this team needed. Look at that current hole in RF. Harper was their white whale, a LH power bat to play RF. They still need LH power AND still need a RF. This continues to haunt this team.
Now some people could say to let this go, but this failure hangs over this team like a dark cloud. This is a team that has had a hole in RF for more than 10 seasons, and the organization has tried to shop at the dollar store. We were told the money is going to be spent, but this organization STILL has not signed a player to a $100 million contract. Further, they talk about “spending the money” but are going to arbitration with Lucas Giolito for an embarrassingly minimal amount of money.
We have heard that this team is in their “window”, well right now the window looks like it is open for 2022 and 2023, yet they have not really addressed the glaring holes that EVERYONE has known about, including Rick Hahn acknowledging as much, during this offseason, and in the case of RF for more than a decade.
It is time for this organization to PUT UP OR SHUT UP. This includes people realizing that the payroll is at, roughly, $190 million and has been terribly mismanaged. People have this instant reflex to blame Jerry Reinsdorf for being cheap, but these failures are on Rick Hahn. PERIOD. He knew the deficiencies, he told us as much during the offseason, and STILL HAS NOT ADDRESSED THEM. And as far as people blaming Jerry for the Machado failure, I will use the words uttered by Kenny Williams “We went to Jerry with the offer and he approved”, so this means that Kenny and Rick could not read the market for Machado. EVERYONE knew the starting point was $300 million, yet the team tried to be cute and failed in spectacular fashion. They also failed to read the market on giving Carlos Rodon a qualifying offer and trading Kimbrel just before the lockout began. Again, it is time that people stop using the “cheap” argument, it is lazy, and ask the tough questions of Rick Hahn.
Now is NOT the time to experiment with someone like Gavin Sheets or Andrew Vaughn in RF. That is something you do DURING a rebuild, not when you tell us your window is “OPEN”. Now is the time to “Make your luck”, not “Hope for luck”. I thought maybe, just maybe, that the “hope for luck” model was dead based on the Kimbrel trade. Looks like it was very short lived.
Now some people will ask me about what I would do. I would IMMEDIATELY do the following:
- Work it out with Giolito.
- Make Tim Anderson the first $100 million dollar player for this organization. Jose Abreu is the recognized leader, but TA is the heart and soul of this team.
- Get an f’ing solution for RF. Whether that means signing Michael Conforto, which IO wouldn’t complain about but would prefer other options, or trade for a RF using Kimbrel in an NBA bad contract type of trade. There is an OF, who has played some RF, that may be available. The Tainted Glove has previously tweeted about it, no names allowed from the person we spoke with.
- Identify the next manager for this team. Obviously LaRussa has a small shelf life due to age. I am not impressed with Miguel Cairo so far. I wanted, and still want, Eduardo Perez. I think he would be the PERFECT fit for this team. And for those who keep complaining about the White Sox not hiring A.J. Hinch get over it. Jerry Reinsdorf was NEVER going to sign off on that, and like it or not he signs the paycheck so he gets the final say.
FYI, As I finished writing this it was announced that the White Sox traded Craig Kimbrel for A.J. Pollock.