They say the start of Spring Training is a jubilant time where hope springs eternal. The players are in the best shape of their life, the managers are fresh-faced and bright-eyed. A GM smiles upon the physical manifestation of his work and anticipates going 162-0, until that inevitable first loss, then 161-1.
Fans, desperate for baseball action, flock south, on an annual migration away from the wintery, pothole-littered wastes of Chicago to the warmth and sunshine of Arizona. But this year, my 27th year, the offseason was unlike any other.
The looming presence of a generational talent toyed with the White Sox all offseason, ultimately opting for the greener pastures of San Diego, reaffirming Chicago’s status as the Second City. Some try to apply the saying, “it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” to the situation, but it mitigates the blame and muddies an otherwise clear picture.
Manny Machado signed with the San Diego Padres for 10 years and $300 million Feb. 19. The White Sox offered eight years and $250 million, with incentives that made the potential value $350 million, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted.
It was not enough, nor was it close.
Immediately after Machado’s signing was announced, White Sox Executive Vice President Kenny Williams said the team couldn’t offer $300 million in an unusually transparent moment (later contradicted by General Manager Rick Hahn). Contradiction aside, if the team couldn’t spend money on a generational talent now, when will they spend?
Rebuilding is difficult and although the White Sox still have a top farm system, prospects are lottery tickets. The Sox had a shot to sign a fully-developed, sure thing and it didn’t come to fruition because of a penny and dimes offer. As owners toy with the free agent system and players continue to lose negotiating chips, free agency is less of a sure-thing than ever before. Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer said on many occasions (most recently in Sports Illustrated) that when he hits free agency, he’ll only accept one-year contracts.
The economics of such is terrifying. In a market depressing player salaries (paying only for future performance) and ensuring players enter at or in the tail-end of their prime, supply will get to point that sinks salaries further.
So as we ready for another season where the Sox get the incredible chance to compete with the Royals for last in the division, the grass isn’t as green, the air isn’t as crisp and snow is in the forecast for later in the week. But hold onto and count your lottery tickets because Jerry isn’t spending and help isn’t coming.
With that, here’s what you need to know this week.
The White Sox are winless through three spring training games.
Spring Training non-roster invitees
The White Sox invited several prospects to Spring Training including: P Colton Turner, P Zach Thompson, P Jimmy Lambert, P Jordan Guerrero, C Zack Collins, C Alfredo Gonzalez, 2B Ryan Goins, SS Danny Mendick, SS Nick Madrigal, OF Charlie Tilson OF Blake Rutherford, OF Luis Robert and OF Luis Gonzalez.
OF Luis Alexander Basabe broke the hamate bone in his left hand. He’ll be out four-to-six weeks and could return around mid-May. Our own Mike Rankin broke down the news.
Rick Hahn elaborated on 2017 first round pick 3B Jake Burger’s returning saying the team was tentatively planning on a June 1st return. James Fox with the update.
The White Sox signed the following players to minor league contracts:
- RHP Ervin Santana
- SS Wilber Sanchez
- OF Preston Tucker, Lazaro Leal, Brandon Guyer
- The White Sox also signed 27 players to 2019 contracts.
- RHP Ervin Santana, OF Preston Tucker and OF Brandon Guyer were assigned to Charlotte
- Voyagers 1B Ryan Fitzpatrick retired
News and Links
The latest episode of the FutureSox podcast dropped featuring The Athletic’s James Fegan and OF Micker Adolfo. Editor-in-Chief Clinton Cole also spoke to Herb Lawrence, Shane Riordan and Chris Tannehill from 670 the Score.
In addition to the aforementioned injury update, Rankin profiled C Seby Zavala, a prospect Sox fans can expect to see behind the plate this year.
Ken Sawilchik looked at the outfield logjam in the Sox top-heavy farm system, weighing the pros and cons of the second tier.
The Athletic’s always phenomenal James Fegan is at Spring Training making sure his writing is in the best shape of its life, he wrote about OF Blake Rutherford, interviewed RHP Michael Kopech and shared a clip of LHP Bernardo Flores.
The final dates for our upcoming FutureSox nights at the affiliates will be released this week; stay tuned for a chance to win tickets to the games in Kannapolis, Winston-Salem, and Charlotte.
We’re looking for correspondents in Charlotte, Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. If you have media or baseball experience, send a resume to FutureSox@gmail.com.
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