Much has been made about the Chicago White Sox’ interest in both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but their willingness to bring in one or both may not be as strong as it had been believed.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the White Sox do like both Harper and Machado a lot, and are prepared to enter the market for them. The fact that they traded for Yonder Alonso, Machado’s brother-in-law, only intensified the rumors. However, according to Olney, Chicago’s interest falls within the more traditional financial parameters, and the team is unlikely to make a record-setting offer for either player.
The expectation is that both Harper and Machado will sign record deals this offseason. If that’s the case, the White Sox are unlikely to land either player.
In other news, unless the market turns out to be less robust than it seems to be, this report probably won’t hold up. The interest is real, but it does not appear to be the frenzied, aggressive sort.
The Chicago White Sox are one of a handful of teams that are said to be willing and able to sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado to a record contract this winter, and they are reportedly the favorite to land at least one of the two.
Harper is a Scott Boras client, and Boras clients almost always end up with the team that offers the most money. According to Jim Bowden of CBS Sports, indications at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas have been that the White Sox are likely to be the highest bidder.
“The front runner right now, believe it or not, is the Chicago White Sox.”@JimBowdenGM tells @AdamSchein that it’s the White Sox who are in the lead for Bryce Harper's services. #T2S pic.twitter.com/XoXndaF0F2
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) December 12, 2018
“They’ve done a very good job of selling. One of the things they’ve pointed out is how good their minor league system is,” Bowden said. “There’s a possibility they end up with the best offer — the most years and the most dollars — even though they’re not ready to win.”
Of all the teams that have been linked to Harper, the White Sox are probably the furthest from contention. They won just 62 games last year and 67 in 2017, but Harper is in a fairly unique position of hitting free agency at the young age of 26. If Chicago is offering the best deal and can convince Harper they are set up to succeed in the not-so-distant future, that might make the star outfielder’s decision easy.
Bowden mentions the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies as two other teams other than the Washington Nationals that are real contenders for Harper. Given what we have heard about the amount of money the White Sox are willing to spend this winter, it would not be a surprise if they do whatever it takes to land him.
The MLB offseason is already underway, as proven by the New York Yankees’ major acquisition of James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners. Still, the largest dominoes have yet to fall, and it may be another week or two — if not more — before that begins happening.
Thus, teams are, in a sense, still positioning themselves for the offseason. Payrolls are being plotted and free agents are being explored, while the trade market begins to come to life as well. But some teams, for a variety of reasons, need to be more active than others given the places where their franchises are.
Here are ten teams who are facing very important offseasons for the future of their franchise.
10. San Francisco Giants
The Giants find themselves in a precarious position a year after an eventful offseason saw them go all-in to contend in 2018. They ended up losing 89 games thanks to injury and underperformance from some of their bigger names. Now, new president Farhan Zaidi is tasked with charting a path forward. How he handles this offseason could tell us a lot. The Giants can spend if they want to, but it seems unlikely that another free agent will put them over the top. Such a signing could ultimately hinder them in the long run. Alternately, they could try to dismantle some of their valuable pieces, but that would prove controversial. It’s a big decision that will have long-lasting impacts.
The Chicago White Sox are expected to be a factor in the Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sweepstakes, but do they have a better chance of landing one over the other? Possibly.
In a column published on Friday, Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman said he believes Machado could be the more likely of the two stars to end up in Chicago.
Heyman points out that the White Sox targeted Machado in a trade effort last offseason. In fact, the White Sox were termed the “most aggressive suitor” for Machado back in December.
Of course, don’t discount the possibility of the White Sox getting both players. Chicago only has around $50 million in payroll commitments for the 2019 season, so they might be able to afford adding two high-priced players.
In addition to their interest in Machado, a photo this week showed the White Sox seemingly preparing a pitch for Harper.
The White Sox finished 62-100 last season and have finished fourth in the AL Central five straight years. They haven’t had a winning season since 2012, but they’re probably figuring a combination of a superstar and their up-and-coming prospects could help them get back to that point.
The Chicago White Sox appear to be preparing to make a pitch to free agent star Bryce Harper.
Harper will be one of the most sought-after free agents in MLB history this winter. Based on what Harper can offer, every team should be interested. One team that preparing to make a push to sign Harper is the White Sox.
On Thursday, a photo reportedly taken at the United Center in Chicago showed Harper’s last name and uniform No. 34 along with the White Sox logo running across an electronic board. The photo was later deleted.
The White Sox, who are in the midst of a rebuild, finished 62-100 last season, but they’re looking to make a splash this offseason. They reportedly will be players for both Harper and Manny Machado.
Adding Harper would help restore respectability for the franchise. However, the White Sox will likely face stiff competition to add the 2015 National League MVP, whose price could be astronomical.
One somewhat unlikely suitor is reportedly looking to upend the MLB free agent market this winter.
According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the Chicago White Sox are interested in signing both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper this winter, and have the financial flexibility to pull it off.
#WhiteSox interested in *both* Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, source confirms, although it’s too early to know how realistic it is for them to sign either. #WhiteSox have second lowest current 2019 payroll commitment of any @MLB team. Story: https://t.co/vSXgIqh3VL @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 5, 2018
Projections have the White Sox owing a little over $50 million in salary for Opening Day 2019 solely based on the players currently under club control. In other words, they have a lot of money to spend and could make a Machado/Harper combination happen. There’s plenty of reason to believe the interest is legitimate, as the White Sox wanted Machado last winter when it appeared Baltimore might trade him.
The big question is whether Machado or Harper would want to play for the White Sox, who are still very much in the midst of a rebuilding phase. Yes, two players of that caliber could turn things around quickly, and top prospect Eloy Jimenez is on the verge of breaking through to the big leagues as well, but this is still a team fresh off a 100-loss season.
The Chicago White Sox are making a rather curious decision in the handling of their top prospect.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the White Sox will not be calling up outfielder Eloy Jimenez, even after rosters expand in September.
The Chicago #WhiteSox will NOT call up prized prospect Eloy Jimenez in September, but are hardly alone among clubs executing the same strategy.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) August 31, 2018
The decision to delay Jimenez’s MLB debut has little to do with performance. The consensus top-ten MLB prospect has hit .341 with 22 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A this season, and the team itself admitted that he’s close to being MLB-ready. This almost certainly has to do with service time manipulation, as keeping Jimenez down now — and not calling him up until a few weeks into the 2019 season — would give the White Sox an extra year of team control down the line.
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