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White Sox Should Consider Alternative To Manny Machado

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MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 05: Mike Moustakas #18 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a double in the fourth inning of Game Two of the National League Division Series against the Colorado Rockies at Miller Park on October 5, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 05: Mike Moustakas #18 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a double in the fourth inning of Game Two of the National League Division Series against the Colorado Rockies at Miller Park on October 5, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Is it time for the White Sox to explore other options to address their need at third base this offseason? If so, there could be an available viable option for the Sox.

I believe the White Sox are rapidly approaching the point in their bid to land Manny Machado where they should seriously begin to explore some other options. Options that have most likely been discussed before this up and down chase began, but hasn’t been revealed publicly.

After all, it’s one thing to discuss such matters behind closed doors among the decision makers, it’s another to leak or announce such to the press, right?

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With that said, I’m here to make my case for the Pale Hose brass to sign free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas, formerly of the Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers, respectively.

Before you tie me up and toss me in front of the next oncoming train leaving the Sox-35th ‘L’ subway station, please hear me out.

Moustakas and Machado have some things in common. Both are veteran players who have spent all but a couple of months of their tenure in MLB in the American League.

According to the stat line on Baseball-Reference.com, an online publication that tracks the seasonal and career numbers of players in both the minors and MLB, Manny Machado hits a home run every 21 at-bats, Moustakas every 25 at-bats. Both struck-out once every six at-bats in 2018. Machado’s career fielding percentage is .969, while Mike Moustakas’ is at .961. Machado clubbed 37 home runs last season – tying his career high.  Moustakas’ total was a tad lower at 28 after blasting 38 in 2017.

There are some distinct advantages (age, predicted productivity over the next several seasons, etc) to signing Machado that everyone has already talked or written about to date.  But, there are some questions as well.

Machado, unlike Moustakas, has been crucified by the media over the last few years concerning overall work ethic, attitude towards fair play, and temperament.

Last Fall in Game 2 of the NLCS Machado slow-poked it to first on a ground ball hit deep to Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia. Many observers, both fans and media types, felt that Machado had a better than average shot at beating out the play.

Two games later in that same series, he allegedly kicked the right leg of Milwaukee Brewers first baseman, Jesus Aguilar, while running out a ground ball in the 10th inning. Aguilar stumbled away in obvious pain and the benches cleared.

And last season wasn’t the first incidents of accusations hinted towards laziness or questionable behavior concerning Machado.

Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun wrote a piece in June of 2016 on the criticism that Machado got hammered with. The criticism came from Baltimore Orioles radio announcers Joe Angel and MLB Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer during a regular season series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park for basically not “hustling”.

Phil Pinarski of Milwaukee’s WTMJ-TV, an NBC affiliate, published an online article that listed five questionable incidents that involved Machado. Of the five he listed, one stood out.

It was a potential double play where Machado appeared to have slid into second base with the full intention of taking out Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox in 2016. It was a slide that by all appearances seemed to violate MLB Rule 6.01(i). But, in fairness, a video replay review by MLB revealed he was not in violation. He was however called out at second as a result of the initial play.

Fansided.com’s Hayden Kane reported on an incident that involved Machado on June 6, 2014, in a game at Camden Yards versus the Oakland Athletics.

"“Tag the runner gently and where he would like to be tagged. Apparently that is the unwritten rule of baseball that Manny Machado just made up last night.” Hayden Kane"

Kane was referring to Machado taking exception to the manner of strength in which Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson supposedly exerted when he tagged him out running to third base in the bottom half of the third inning. The benches would soon clear in the aftermath.

So, as anyone can see, Machado comes with some baggage, and for a team in the third season of a rebuilding project for long-haul success, Machado could be a huge gamble with young and impressionable minds soon to be joining the ChiSox clubhouse in the next season or so.

Don’t get me wrong, Moustakas is no Machado, but he’s not known to be lazy by any means. By all indications, he was very well liked in Kansas City by both his teammates and field managers. And here are some other considerations about signing him.

1. He can be signed for a short-term deal for a lot less money.

2. Moustakas has been around for eight MLB seasons and he has the kind of demeanor that can blend in with both veteran players and young guns of the South Side Nine, especially ones still trying to find their footing at that level.

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SBNation’s Peter Brennan wrote in a Beyond The Box Score article back on December 29th of last year:

"“Moustakas is a nice second option to those contending teams that lose out on some of the bigger names to help solidify their lineup.”"

I couldn’t agree more. Tell me, what do think?

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