White Sox need to contemplate exit strategy
You say half measures, I say White Sox.
The White Sox had one of the strangest offseasons in recent memory. The front office had a variety of routes to take. Their moves would merely be a byproduct of how the market developed.
Even after the Brett Lawrie trade, they were in a position to take a step back if a tempting offer came across for one of their frontline arms. Did the acquisition of Todd Frazier end any questions regarding this team’s intended direction?
The White Sox had clear holes at shortstop, right field and designated hitter. There wasn’t a better match for about dozen quality free agents. The market seemed to play into their hands.
When the smoke cleared, the names on White Sox jerseys were Jimmy Rollins, Austin Jackson, Jerry Sands, and Mat Latos.
Displeasure rhymes with half-measures, and that’s the result of going “all in” while running out a median payroll.
Much has been written about the failed pursuit of high-profile outfielders. The forgiving optics say that their key targets simply stayed home. We’ll never have a complete picture of how Chicago’s offers stacked up against the field. Yoenis Cespedes didn’t take a discount.
Cespedes ‘deal was by far the best financial offer when factoring in the generous opt-out, present value, and risk reward of the deal.
General Manager Rick Hahn notably shot down rumors that the White Sox had a hard, three-year ceiling on all free agents. Maybe they did tack on a fourth-year option, but It’s hard to believe they didn’t offer him 4 years, $100 million ($25 million option for 2020, 2016 opt-out clause). That is about as player friendly of a deal you’ll see. That’s a deal the White Sox should have thrown on the table. The motivation was couched in capitalizing on a surplus of payroll space to supplement a win-now core.
Frankly, you can overpay for Yoenis Cespedes if you’re getting Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Jose Quintana, and Jose Abreu long-term for mere pennies. Just the name of the game; no one ever said free-agency was efficient.
Ian Desmond, wound up going to the Texas Rangers on a one-year, $8 million contract. Any sort of one-year option tacked on gets him.
With Desmond, there was the attached draft pick compensation. The White Sox had to pick a lane. They did and turned the 26th overall pick into Louisville right-hander Zack Burdi.
Burdi may have near immediate utility in this window out of the pen. If the White Sox were willing to dash ceiling for a win-now draft pick, why not just get the win-now shortstop months earlier.
The payroll may have ballooned close to $150 million. The White Sox may have considered it had they known Adam LaRoche was going to quit. It was an investment worth making.
The organization seemed more keen on maintaining stable operating profits than investing in their product and boosting their record, and concurrently, future revenue streams.
Maybe Austin Jackson or Jerry Sands could have been:
Yoenis Cespedes: .284/.356/.572 (.928), 17 HR, 11 2B, 43 RBI
Maybe Jimmy Rollins could have been:
Ian Desmond: .311/.363/.500 (.863), 10 HR, 19 2B, 45 RBI
Displeasure rhymes with half measure, and that’s the result of going “all in” while running out a median payroll.
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