Once again another top quality free agent slipped through the White Sox hands as Bryce Harper decided his future lay with the Philadelphia Phillies. Sox fans have reacted badly to this news, just as they reacted badly to the news that Manny Machado would be a San Diego Padre. Losing out on top-of-the-line free agents is nothing new for the White Sox. What's maddening is the reasons for this failure. The White Sox lost out on these two top free agents because they wouldn't commit the necessary resources to get the job done. The lesson to be learned, yet again, is that when you go after top talent you have to be willing to pay top dollar. Obviously the White Sox weren't!
Now that's a decision top management has to make. And the fact is, if the cost of high level talent goes to the point of exorbitance, fans will understand. Sox fans are sophisticated enough to recognize a bad bargain when they see it. If they were convinced that either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado were out to rip off the team they would have accepted that fact and moved on. But in both instances the players involved made reasonable demands that the White Sox simply refused to match. They were outbid by a small market team with a poor revenue stream in the case of Manny Machado and they passed up a contract with a player who will never get as much as thirty million dollars a year during the thirteen year term of his contract. In other words, they were relative bargains, all things considered.
Now the Sox are free to be as cheap as they want to be. If they say they will go so far for talent and no further, well, that's that. We Sox fans have suffered through a management that hasn't genuinely competed for quality free agents and top line players for a long time. We'll survive! The reason Sox fans are angry is because team leadership said that the resources would BE there when the time came to go to the next level of competition. That time came and they let the opportunity slip through their fingers. In short, they lied when they said they were in it to win it.
Why are Sox fans so angry? All you have to do is look at the history of the franchise. One World Series championship in one hundred years. One playoff appearance in the last twelve seasons. Hardly the kind of record that gives one confidence in management's ability to put a winning team on the field. In fact, the LONG history of losing is a major deterrent in the team's ability to acquire top notch talent in the first place. They are forced to overpay just to get a player's attention because, after all, why would a GOOD player want to come to the White Sox? To lose?
I can understand the fiscal responsibility argument. Sure the White Sox will want to hold on to their core of future superstars. My only question is this, "WHAT superstars?"! Yes the Sox have a coterie of talented young players. Every team in the major leagues has that. But talent doesn't always blossom. If you don't believe it, just take a look at Yoan Moncada's 2018 season. In essence, the White Sox argument is that they passed up Manny Machado in order to hold on to Luis Basabe, not exactly a smart move in MY book!
So let's fact facts, the White Sox ARE cheap. They pull up short when the time comes for them to play with the big boys, and that's OK. Just as long as they don't pretend that they are one of the big boys too!
Filed under: Politics