White Sox have been aggressive this offseason as they’ve addressed some of their needs and have met with both of the top two free agents.
The offseason standoff the White Sox currently find themselves in has created a buzz of eagerness and excitement that we fans normally are not accustomed too. Being tied towards possibly two of the most promising free agents our sport has ever seen has put us fans in bizarre and uncharted territory. It’s no secret that the Sox have shifted a majority of their interest towards free agent superstar Manny Machado.
The race for the 26-year-old has consisted of three teams for some time, the New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, and White Sox. This was an obvious three-team race that may have turned into a tug of war overnight after analyst Hector Gomez tweeted that the Yankees may indeed be out of the running for Machado.
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Although this doesn’t guarantee that the quest for Machado has become a two-team endeavor, it is worth noting that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has hinted that the Yankees don’t have interest in a long term contract for Machado, and even a short term deal with a high AAV would more than likely put them over the luxury tax with only around $24 million to $25 million to spare before reaching the $206 million threshold. The Yankees do have a history of consistently going over said luxury up until last season but have publicly announced that staying under the luxury tax is a priority for the franchise.
So all Machado buzz aside, has this already been a successful offseason for the White Sox? I argue it absolutely has. I’ve mentioned this before in previous blogs but will reiterate that with or without Machado the Sox more than likely have another year till they are competing due to most of the young talent being projected to debut in 2020. Due to that reality, rentals and investments in players that they can flip are still important necessities.
For starters, the bullpen is an obvious area that the Sox needed taken care of. If you’ve paying attention to the moves GM Rick Hahn has been making over the years, flipping bullpen pitchers have been a common theme. (i.e Joakim Soria, David Robertson, Anthony Swarzak, Tommy Kahnle, Zach Duke, Dan Jennings, etc.) The two additions of Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome bolster a bullpen that was 26th in the league in bWAR last season.
Colome and Herrera both are All-Star caliber talents that will each be under contract when it is finally time for the White Sox to contend. The Sox ability to contend on schedule will more than likely shape the future of these two former All-Star additions. All future predictions aside, the bullpen may be currently the most satisfactory aspect of the entire roster.
Another addition made by Hahn was the $4 million dollar signing of Jon Jay. Now it’s been widely talked about that the addition of Jay was possibly to entice Machado due to them being longtime friends, and although there may be some truth to that, Jay, either way, fits into the scheme of things perfectly for the Sox. In order to give some perspective on where the Sox outfield was at prior to this signing, the Sox had the worst outfield bWAR in the AL last year.
If you added up the cumulative bWAR of their projected outfield consisting of Nicky Delmonico, Adam Engel, and Leury Garcia you’d only get a 0.7 bWAR. Jay alone has a bWAR of 0.8, which granted is not glamorous, but he also had a higher OBP than any returning player on the roster last season. Although he’s the absolute definition of a rental, he’s an obvious improvement to an outfield that was desperate for major league consistency.
Although this offseason is not over by any means with so many names still lurking in free agency, this offseason has provided a ton of hope and optimism for the future of this franchise regardless if they do end up opening the checkbook for Machado. We’re finally in the mix for big offseason signings and are inching towards the light at the end of the tunnel for the rebuild.