Just as I predicted a few weeks ago, the White Sox lost out on yet another high profile free agent. Manny Machado will bring his talents to the West Coast as he has signed with the San Diego Padres. Apparently the White Sox were yet again a day late and several million dollars short. So what are the long term implications for the South Side Saps? Nothing much, when you get right down to it. Absolutely nothing!
Oh, the White Sox will retain their status a major league franchise. Unfortunately for their long-suffering fan base they will also remain a major irrelevancy. It's not that the industry hates the Sox. It's not that major free agents abhor the idea of playing on the South Side of Chicago. It just means that when you mention the White Sox the only reaction you're likely to get is a big, fat HO HUM!!
Will this have an adverse effect on the major "rebuilding" presently underway? Absolutely not! The Sox will still cling to a bunch of unproven minor leaguers with a whole lot of potential but no proven major league talent. Take Yoan Moncada for instance, PLEASE, by all means take Yoan Moncada. Remember when the White Sox first traded for this guy? He was the #1 prospect in all of major league baseball. That was how Rich Hahn justified trading away an All Star pitcher in the person of Chris Sale. In Senor Moncada's first full season with the White Sox he hit a paltry .234 with 217 strikeouts and a league leading 21 errors among second basemen. Hardly what one would call a solid building block for a potential World Series winner. Does this mean he's a total bust? Not necessarily. But what it DOES prove is the folly of relying completely on young minor league prospects as the foundation for a team rebuild. And Yoan Moncada isn't the only example. You can throw in Lucas Giolito too. This is a starting pitcher with the worst ERA among ALL major league starters. For some reason I can't see him starting in the seventh game of the World Series in 2021 or any other year for that matter. And if you're sick and tired of reading about White Sox failures, as I am, you can cast your eyes northward to Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins, another #1 prospect who has yet to live up to some impossibly high expectations.
So what's the problem with the White Sox? Why do the most prominent free agents avoid the team like the plague? Simply put, they don't want to win badly enough. Oh they want to win all right, they just don't want to WIN!! If winning had been the be-all and end-all for the Sox, they would have jumped into the Manny Machado sweepstakes immediately with the kind of offer that El Senor Machado would have been willing to sign. But they didn't. Instead they frittered away their time trying to pick up one of baseball's premier talents on the cheap.
Is this a disappointment? Of course it is. More to the point, it is a precursor for future such failures. The fact is that White Sox management in the person of Jerry Reinsdorf is unwilling to do what was needed to be done to sign Manny Machado. And if that's true of a ball player the White Sox said they really wanted, what makes anyone think they will act any differently for Bryce Harper, Nolan Arenado, or Mike Trout?
Is Manny Machado worth three hundred million dollars? Not really. Not objectively in the cosmic sense of the word. But that is the price the market placed on him and that was the price the White Sox had to meet or exceed in order to bring him to Guaranteed Rate Field. They chose not to do it, which is their right. But they will find that their fan base, such as it is, will become increasingly unwilling to pay good money to see a team that goes 62-100, with little hope for long term success.
In the end, the simple fact is that the White Sox chose not to compete vigorously in this year's free agent market. When you decide to bid on one of the premier free agents you have to be willing to meet the market price, that is if you want to bid successfully. One way or another you have to match the best offer or exceed it or you will lose out. It's that simple. It isn't about what you're willing to pay, it's what you HAVE to pay in order to get the job done. This time around the White Sox weren't willing to pay the price to get the player they wanted. Unless they are willing to play with the big boys, this story line will be repeated time after time. How long will it be before the White Sox fans totally abandon the team? Who knows? But this fact is clear. The White Sox won't be a winning franchise until some major changes take place, in the front office and with ownership. Enough said!!
Filed under: Politics