White Sox have a great opportunity this offseason with many quality players available via free agency. What should the team’s wish list be?
On November 2, I wrote about why the White Sox should pursue Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Then on November 5, Jon Morosi and other national writers reported that they may actually be doing it.
In any case, the White Sox have a lot of money to spend – being among the lowest committed payrolls for 2019 and beyond – and they seem ready to be willing to spend it.
Below are the players I think the White Sox are most likely to want for their team in 2019 and beyond as they look toward the future to build a play for long-term success.
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Manny Machado – the Sox have been connected to Machado more than Harper, given that they tried to trade for him last winter, there’s no reason to expect them not to go at him again. Their main competition will include the Philadelphia Phillies and probably the New York Yankees.
The fact that he’s a “bad guy” won’t preclude them from signing him given the White Sox past signing of Albert Belle and AJ Pierzynski. Machado’s team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, made the World Series last season, so clearly his antics don’t stop a team from winning – although it might factor into how well he gets along with Rick Renteria. Machado’s powerful right-handed bat would play well in the Sox ballpark and lineup.
Bryce Harper – as reported by Morosi, the White Sox are expected to pursue both Machado and Harper this offseason. Machado could be seen as the team’s plan 1a and Harper is plan 1b. It’s extremely unlikely the team gets both players but the plan may be to make good aggressive offers to both players hoping that one will stick.
Machado will probably want at least $300 million and Harper will command more than that. Many have pointed out that the richest contract the White Sox have given is the $68 million given to Jose Abreu and therefore they can’t be expected to sign a mega contract. This is false – first of all, there is a first time for everything. Under Andrew Friedman’s reign the Dodgers haven’t given a contract larger than $64 million, so should we assume they’re out on Harper as well?
The White Sox also committed $100 million to franchise player Paul Konerko over the course of multiple contracts from 2006 to 2014. Given that the baseball players salaries are at least twice what they were during Konerko’s prime, there’s reason to believe the White Sox can at least double that and make an offer for both players.
Whether they can make the best offer remains to be seen, but all clues seem to point to them at least trying to sign Harper. The way to give the best contract may be to heavily front load the contract and offer multiple opt-outs, so Harper can bolt from the team if he’s stuck in a bad situation or want to play elsewhere later in his career.
In any case, Harper and his powerful bat and star persona would be a great fit with the often overlooked White Sox. And he would look good in a White Sox uniform. As with Machado, the Phillies seem to be the front-runner to sign him so it’s going to take a lot to convince him to play for the Sox. At least the Sox can say Chicago is a better city than Philadelphia. White Sox fans should be ecstatic if even one of these two great players signs with the team.