I think the majority of knowledgeable White Sox fans will agree that Tuesday, February 19th was one of the worst days as a White Sox fan in recent memory. Missing on Manny Machado was one thing, but it was the way they did it that sucked the most. They didn’t lose out to the Yankees or the Dodgers or the Red Sox or other notorious big spenders. They lost to the San Diego Padres. A team that threw their hat in the ring just 2 weeks ago.
By now we know that the White Sox offer for Manny could have exceeded 300 million if you looked at possible incentives and bonuses. But that’s not how it works. In professional sports today, only one thing matters to the players and that’s guaranteed money. The Padres were able to offer more of it than the White Sox and that’s that.
Manny Machado’s contract does not have a single dollar deferred. It is worth full $300 million with #Padres
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 20, 2019
So now that we’ve had a full day to process this news, I ask what many other Sox fans are asking: If you were willing to eventually pay more than 300 million for Machado, why don’t you just go ahead and guarantee that money to Bryce Harper?
I know the chances of that actually happening are less than 1 percent, believe me. But the question is definitely worth asking. It sounds like Harper is unsure about signing with Philadelphia even after talks between the 2 parties apparently picked up last week. If he is unsure about Philly, why wouldn’t the Sox swoop in just like the Padres did and make a legitimate offer of 10 years 325? And I know that Kenny Williams said earlier today that 300M is not a number we could go to, but Rick Hahn basically shot that down shortly after in his press conference.
Kenny Williams on $300 million report
“Evidentially that's what it took and San Diego stepped up to that level. That level wasn't feasible to us because we still have to project putting together a total winning roster."
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) February 19, 2019
Rick Hahn says there’s no ‘magic cap’ in terms of a limit or number #WhiteSox are willing to go to in terms of signing a FA.
— Ryan McGuffey (@RyanMcGuffey) February 19, 2019
Now that Machado is officially off the market, the White Sox should get desperate, go ALL IN and offer Harper something north of 300 million (unlikely/borderline laughable). If they lose out on an offer like that, maybe they’ll at least get some respect back from the fans.
– The Padres initially thought about going for Harper as well, but ultimately came out and said they were not going to pursue him
– The Yankees have apparently never been in on Harper
– The Dodgers are apparently only willing to go short term
– The Cubs apparently aren’t signing anyone noteworthy
That leaves the Phillies, the Giants, and the White Sox as the three teams most likely to land Harper. But here’s where it gets interesting. This is a direct quote from the Phillies GM on the contract Machado got:
“This contract will exceed our valuation and sometimes you have to be willing to walk away”
So either the Phillies never valued Manny the same way they do Bryce, or they’re skeptical offering 300M period. Maybe I’m just delirious after the day’s events (including Luis Basabe breaking his hand in batting practice) but the market still seems to be there for the White Sox. Except this time they have to do it right. No bidding against yourself, include opt outs, and offer the guaranteed money.
The White Sox have 15M committed to the payroll next year. 8M the year after. So Harper making 30-35M per year would mean nothing until players like Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez are due for paydays a whopping 7 years from now. So Kenny Williams saying they can’t spend 300M on one player because they need to fill out the rest of the team is a load of crap.
Harper will probably age better than Machado as well. He plays a less taxing position already and can DH as he gets older.
This is the mother of all pipe dreams. It’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m emotionally drained. Do what you will with this hypothetical. With any luck I’ll wake up from a nightmare and have a good laugh.