Having lost 195 combined games over the past two seasons and with a budding farm system, the Chicago White Sox wouldn’t seem like logical destination for MLB’s top free agents this winter.
The idea for GM Rick Hahn and Co. heading into this week’s general manager meetings in California should be to continue building that young foundation.
Instead, as Jon Morosi of MLB.com notes, the Sox might very well be going big-name hunting. The insider reports that Chicago will target Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in free agency, with the hopes of landing both star players.
“After the Phillies, the White Sox are perhaps the best candidate to pursue both Machado and Harper — although there’s no guarantee they will land either. At present, the White Sox have the second-lowest payroll commitment of any MLB team for 2019,” Morosi reported. “With Jose Abreu entering his final season before free agency, the White Sox need a new face of the franchise. Chicago’s affinity for Machado is well-established, as it pursued him via the trade market last offseason.”
Existing in a big market, Chicago has an opportunity to increase its payroll from what we see right now. Whether the team would be willing to add the $600-plus million in long-term salary commitments that it would likely cost to sign both Harper and Machado remains to be seen.
It currently has youngsters Tim Anderson and Carlos Sanchez at short and third base, respectively. Adding Machado would enable the team to trade off one of these players for more assets.
The outfield is a bit more in question. Though, Eloy Jimenez comes in as the organization’s top prospect and should be slated to join the bigs after dominating in Triple-A last season. Adding Harper to the mix with the youngster would create a fearsome twosome for Chicago.
Either way, this is a rather interesting story heading into the GM meetings, and eventually, the winter meetings in Las Vegas next month.