White Sox building the Manny Machado Museum

jshirk
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Manny Machado #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his first inning strike out against the Boston Red Sox in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Manny Machado #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his first inning strike out against the Boston Red Sox in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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White Sox have acquired brother-in-law, a good friend of superstar free agent as they continue to attempt to sign the available infielder to a lucrative deal.

No news isn’t good news. Never has been and never will be. No news is the absence of news. Enter the 2018-19 White Sox offseason. There have been lots of transactions, good ones in fact, but not much real news.

Until recently, that is. Suddenly the White Sox are moving again, with a back-end bullpen that looks substantial and a glut of designated hitter candidates. It’s all good news, but not necessarily big news. The big news is on the Manny Machado front. On that front, it’s still no news.

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But alas! Some of these small news items may relate to the big news one. In lieu of actually signing Machado, the team has attracted a host of tangential Machado artifacts such as his brother-in-law and his training partner. At the ‘Manny Machado’ museum, like a real museum, one can learn about him from these things but not actually see him.

Will the Sox sign him? They’ve submitted a formal offer, which would suggest they want him. But will they get him? All of these questions ultimately will help answer a different question, one that’s more serious and potentially sobering:  can they get him? More bluntly, will top free agents consider coming to play for a second-tier team like the Sox? I know that hurts, Sox fans! But face it – the Sox aren’t the Cubs in this market and won’t be any time soon.

Technically, they might be able to spend stupid and Machado would show up with bells on. His wife would laud the shopping on the Magnificent Mile as if she had never heard of New York. But spending stupid would inherently be stupid, which I don’t think this judicious front office is likely to be. Spend wisely is a far better credo and the saying on a plaque I expect might sit on Rick Hahn’s desk.

So in lieu of actually signing the young superstar, the team is assembling a collection of trinkets that may or may not have a magnetic pull on him. Mr. Hahn says they’re all baseball first transactions. Heh heh, right. What’s next? Will Machado’s doctor be named Herm Schneider’s replacement? Will his lawn guy replace Roger Bossard as head groundskeeper? How about his dog Kobe taking over Drake LaRoche’s unfilled role as something in the clubhouse that shouldn’t be?

I’m being overtly absurd, but my point is there are lots of dominoes that will fall depending on how the Machado signing goes. Who else the team may look at signing and at what salaries is the main open question. Another good one right up there is what positions do existing roster members play and who might change positions.

Tim Anderson might be one who is wondering if the team would be so bold as to ask him to change positions. Same for Yoan Moncada, who himself may be wondering if he’ll be playing second or third base next season. Yolmer Sanchez must be considering how enthusiastic he feels about reverting back to a utility role, though I can’t imagine him being grumpy about anything. He’s like Ringo Starr in the Beatles; he’s just glad to be here.

I’m going to raise up something right now and take full credit when the Internets starts talking about it. Can you imagine the Sox sign Machado, he takes the team by storm, and then in a clash of swaggers he and Jose Abreu (and their respective posses) reach a conflict/confrontation over who is the de facto team leader? Big guys with big bats, big contracts and big egos. What could go wrong?

If it’s Machado’s team, it’s Machado’s team. If it’s not, he’s likely not coming. Jose, can you see? Southside free agent buyer beware: you can’t take out the Man out of Manny, which suggests to me a big cultural shift should he be signed. Forget that little Johnny Hustle comment. That was just a small drama. There are far bigger potential schisms that would be quite real.

But these are Ricky’s Boys – adorable little things aren’t they? – and everyone gets along as if they’re holding hands and singing Kumbaya at Vacation Bible School.

Which is why we like the Manny Museum. Everyone wants to be there. Everything looks great from a distance. And everyone is hustling – especially when it comes to free agent negotiations.

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