Things got rather heated on Wednesday between the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox.
Royals pitcher Brad Keller hit White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson with a pitch during the game after Anderson extravagantly tossed his bat after a home run.
Here it was: pic.twitter.com/L1VYlnBQCG
— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) April 17, 2019
Keller’s pitch seemed like a fairly clear bit of retaliation for that action, and the benches immediately cleared. The Royals’ actions didn’t sit well with White Sox manager Rick Renteria, either, who squared up his Kansas City counterpart, Ned Yost.
I thought Ned Yost was about to rock Rick Renteria pic.twitter.com/hP1UBePoWy
— MLBdream (@MLBdream) April 17, 2019
The White Sox have good reason to be upset after this, and it will be interesting to see if they come down hard against Keller. The league has started to promote younger players doing things like Anderson did, and the Royals look pretty bad trying to police it.
The Chicago White Sox are aggressively moving to lock down one of the brightest young talents in their organization for quite some time.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it will be a long-term deal for the 22-year-old outfielder. Dominican journalist Hector Gomez reported that it would be an eight-year deal worth between $65 and $70 million.
Top outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez and the Chicago White Sox are finalizing a long-term deal, league sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 20, 2019
BREAKING NEWS: The White Sox are close to an agreement with Eloy Jimenez for an 8-year extension that would pay him between 65-70 US$ Million. With Incentives the contract could get to the 75-80 million Range. Source says deal is pending only a Physical.@z101digital @ZDeportes
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) March 20, 2019
Jimenez is a consensus top-five prospect. He hit .337 with 22 home runs between AA and AAA last season. He has yet to actually make his MLB debut, which is, in the minds of most, down to service time manipulation. If Jimenez has already penned a long-term deal, that will no longer be an issue, and it seems safe to assume that he’ll be on the Opening Day roster.
The Chicago White Sox initially were viewed as one of the contenders to sign Bryce Harper, but they are no longer a factor in his free agency, according to a report.
The White Sox also had interest in Manny Machado and were believed to have been targeting the infielder even more. They were stunned when Machado chose to sign with the San Diego Padres instead, leaving them without their top target.
Rather than spend big-time money on Harper, it seems the White Sox will focus on some lower-cost options now.
The Chicago White Sox were unable to land Manny Machado and are unlikely to spend the kind of money it will take to sign Bryce Harper, but they may not be done making significant moves in free agency.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the White Sox will continue to pursue ways to make “small improvements,” and those could include signing pitcher Gio Gonzalez or outfielder Marwin Gonzalez.
The Chicago #WhiteSox, who are out of the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, still plan to make some smaller improvements to team after Manny Machado chose the #Padres. Versatile infielders Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Harrison, along with starter Gio Gonzalez, still on the free-agent board.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 20, 2019
Both Gio and Marwin Gonzalez could be two of the best bargains left in free agency. Gio seemed revitalized by a late-season trade to the Milwaukee Brewers last year, as he posted a 2.13 ERA in five starts with the team. Marwin has been a big part of the Houston Astros’ success in recent years and is coming off a season in which he hit .247 with 16 home runs and 68 RBI. The 29-year-old hit .303 with 23 home runs and 90 RBI in 2017 for the World Series champions.
Gio Gonzalez has drawn interest from at least one other team this offseason, but we haven’t heard much talk about him. That could change quickly with Manny Machado now off the board and Bryce Harper expected to sign in the coming days. Once the big fish are gone, the “cheaper” options should have an easier time finding new homes.
It’s pretty clear which teams can expect to be near the top of the standings in Major League Baseball and which can expect to be near the bottom. That leaves a mess of teams in the middle that may or may not be good enough to contend, but at least a few will be similar to last year’s Oakland Athletics and pleasantly surprise.
Here are seven teams that could unexpectedly make some noise in MLB this season.
7. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates quietly won 82 games a year ago, and they may be poised to do even more this season. The key will be finding out where the offense comes from; the likes of Starling Marte will have to have solid seasons for the Pirates to improve. They were helped significantly last season with the emergence of Trevor Williams as a solid starting pitcher. The addition of Chris Archer should really start to bear fruit this year, potentially leading to some improvement from the club.
The White Sox were left disappointed on Tuesday when Manny Machado agreed to a deal with the Padres, but it does not sound like their offer was as superior to San Diego’s as they are making it seem.
Machado has reportedly agreed to a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Chicago offered Machado an eight-year, $250 million deal. The offer also included incentives.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 19, 2019
While the average annual value of Chicago’s reported offer is higher than what Machado will get from the Padres, his deal also includes an opt-out after the fifth season. That means the total guaranteed dollar amount is more than what the White Sox offered, plus Machado has the option of hitting free agency again when he’s still in his prime at age 31.
Judging by the way one White Sox executive reacted to the Machado deal, it seems like Chicago did not realize how serious the Padres were in their pursuit of the free agent slugger. If that’s true, they weren’t alone in that line of thinking.
The San Diego Padres and Manny Machado reached an agreement Tuesday on a massive 10-year contract, and at least one team appears to be extremely disappointed about missing out on the free agent slugger.
Shortly after word surfaced that Machado will sign a 10-year, $300 million deal with the Padres, Chicago White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams said he thought his team had the highest outstanding offer for the 26-year-old. Williams admitted he is in “shock.”
Kenny Williams said White Sox felt they were the high offer on the table
“I’m wearing my shades so you can’t see the shock in my eyes”
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) February 19, 2019
The White Sox were reportedly considered a “strong factor” in the Machado sweepstakes as of Monday night, but that may have just forced the Padres to up their offer. While many people felt San Diego was only considering signing Machado because the price had seemingly dropped in what has been another quiet free agency, they were clearly serious from the start.
It’s also possible that Machado preferred San Diego over Chicago and took less money to sign with the Padres.
If they want to land a big prize, the White Sox can now turn their attention toward Bryce Harper. However, all signs continue to point to him ending up with another team.