Well, the White Sox didn’t get Machado, and they have no one to blame but themselves. Today at 1125 am in Chicago fans looked at their phones or computers to see Jeff Passan tweet the Manny signed with the Padres. The Padres got him for 300 million dollars over ten years with an opt-out, giving him the biggest free agent contract in any sport. It later came out the Sox offer was 250 million dollars over 8 years with incentives and vesting options that could have put the total over 350 million. The White Sox completely took themselves out of the running by not guaranteeing less money than they were reportedly ready to spend anyway.
Assuming the White Sox don’t sign Bryce Harper they will have to answer questions on why they don’t spend money for a whole other year now going into the 2020 offseason that could tout Nolan Arenado as the top of the class. This is frustrating on so many levels, Manny was a generational talent that was available for the Sox and fit in their window and they didn’t get him, whether it’s because he was never going to choose them or because they didn’t pony up enough money they missed out on him. The “blank check” that Hahn said he had at the winter meetings apparently had a ceiling. Rick also said that the White Sox deserved nice things too, well this was one of those nice things.
The White Sox are going to need to get on message on this one, and if today is any sign they don’t have a single message to deliver. As Sox fans we saw the Kenny Williams reign, it was long, it saw a World Championship and if not for a very strong American League may have seen more playoff appearances than the two it did see. Kenny became famous for his constant go for it now attitude, and it should be appreciated, but it leads to the situation we saw after 2016, where the Sox needed to rebuild and change direction. Enter Rick Hahn and the rebuild, Chris Sale was traded, next was Adam Eaton and the Jose Quintana trade. It netted the team a great farm system and we were told that this is Hahn’s team and Hahns rebuild, and he was responsible for what happened. Kenny was now the Vice President of baseball operations and would not be serving as General Manager of the team.
Now today the first voice you hear from, the first quotes from the White Sox were Kenny Williams, on his golf cart, with his sunglasses on to “hide the shock in his eyes”. Kenny said “we could not get to the 300 million dollar level”, so about that blank check? Well hold on wait a minute, before he could really close one side of his mouth, the other side opened, “we thought we had the highest offer”. Wait what?! So you thought you had the highest offer but wouldn’t get to 300 million? Kenny said he found out about the deal on Twitter, while Rick Hahn was in direct talks with Dan Lozano and he found out about the deal from him, I’m just assuming he got the chance to match or beat the offer because that’s how a negotiation works. Rick Hahn said today “the White Sox do not have a firm limit or hard number they will not go beyond”. So which was it, were they not gonna be on the 300 million dollar lever, or were there no limits? This is the issue with the messaging that comes out of the front office, no one knows who is in charge, and if it is Kenny, Jerry Reinsdorf needs to stop putting Hahn out there and the other way around. Kenny talking today only made the dumpster fire that is this front office rage hotter.
If you don’t think future free agent targets see this, you are absolutely incorrect. The franchise needs to be able to sell itself, and as of now, they don’t seem to have that ability. On the Laurence Holmes, Siera Santos said a member of the Cubs who wanted to stay in Chicago said when she asked, well why don’t you sign with the White Sox? He said “I don’t want to play for the White Sox” when she pressed him he said “nobody wants to play for the White Sox ”his reasoning was “no one goes to their games, when your a visitor playing at their stadium it’s kind of depressing that no one’s there is not enough people in their stands”. That is the opinion of players outside the organization, that coupled with the lack of coherent messaging means the Sox are going to have to overpay for these top free agents. Unfortunately, we have no idea what Jerry is willing to spend depending on who you listen to, either Kenny or Rick.
Now, this is the third iteration of this article I have written today, after rereading the first version, it was very angry and at times vulgar, with each reread it has become tamer. I feel it’s important to look past these free agent prizes, like Rick Hahn said, “This rebuild isn’t about one guy, it was never going to be about one star, it was never going to be about one acquisition”. This rebuild is still on track, Eloy will still be up this season, Kopech will still be back in 2019, and Cease still looks like a very good pitcher. The future’s still bright and there will be other free agents for the Sox to go after, but it doesn’t take the sting out of today. Players, of course, have the right to choose where they play once they reach free agency, and maybe the Sox have their reasons for offering only 250 million guaranteed, but with the messaging, or lack thereof, coming from the Sox today it doesn’t look like we will get answers any time soon.
Thanks as always for reading Sox fans, we will get through this one together, follow us on Twitter @SidedSox, and if you like this content or any other content you see feel free to follow and retweet us, like our Facebook page, and as always email your questions or comments to SoxSided@gmail.com.
Andy gave his thoughts on today’s events here.