White Sox: How Much is Too Much, and What Will the Fallout Be?

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 7: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals lines out in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on June 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 7: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals lines out in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on June 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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White Sox interest in top free agents this offseason has been good for fans but how much is too much in regards to offering contracts to either player?

Much has been made about the White Sox having the second lowest payroll in baseball. As a result, they are in place to spend big money on Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. Yet the questions remain…how much is too much?

While many think Machado will go elsewhere – though the White Sox appear to have tried tempting him through the signing of Yonder Alonso – Harper seems within range. His high dollar demand has been well documented.

The hunt is well known. Excitingly, as of a few weeks ago, it seemed like Harper himself was warming up to the idea. Yet while the event of baseball is entertainment, the organizations of baseball are a business.

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According to one source, the White Sox went from being considered a front-runner for Harper to not even being in the Top 10 (Bookmaker). 

A fair assumption would be that the issue as to why the odds changed so much comes down to finances. General Manager Rick Hahn appears to be working day and night to try to make this happen, but if finances are truly the problem then the issue ultimately comes down to Jerry Reinsdorf.

One couldn’t blame Reinsdorf entirely. Harper’s asking price is absurdly high, and any owner would be wary. Even the Los Angeles Dodgers – before clearing up some cap space and opening up some room through their trade with the Cincinnati Reds – were interested in mainly a short-term contract. Reinsdorf has allowed for big money to be spent in the past, as was the case with Albert Belle, but if his concern is that history won’t repeat itself one can hardly blame him for being cautious.

Still, the defense for Reinsdorf is weakened by his reputation as one of the more frugal owners in baseball – and that’s putting it nicely according to some.

In a recent article, Chicago Tribune writer Paul Sullivan compared the Sox not signing Machado or Harper this offseason to expecting a Xbox or Playstation for Christmas and getting socks instead (no pun intended).

In the case of Machado, I don’t think many would be surprised. It’s always appeared that Machado is more interested in another location – specifically New York – and is considering the Sox’ offer as more of an “in case things don’t work out” option.

If the Sox don’t get Harper, it would be considered a disappointment. A punch in the gut. Given how much of an opportunity seemed to be there – fair or not – people would likely blame Reinsdorf for it. While the Sox being in rebuilding mode is still promising for the long term, it would leave the 2019 season looking much more hollow.

Next. Adam Ottavino Drawing Interest from White Sox. dark

The New Year promises to bring many things to the baseball world. For the White Sox, one can only hope that it brings lots of cheers.