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All Up in White Sox Business Since 2005



Updated: 2017-12-14T09:12:02-06:00

 



White Sox trade rumors: Manny Machado isn’t going away

2017-12-14T09:12:02-06:00

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Rumormongers say Rick Hahn is making the most compelling case so far

On Wednesday, I said it made sense for the White Sox float around the periphery of the Manny Machado trade discussions, whether it’s because they can capitalize on the Orioles not wanting to trade their star inside the division, or simply because they’ll want to make their interest known for Machado’s impending free agency.

It intensified starting Wednesday afternoon, and has only intensified overnight, with rumors coming from all angles. It’d be one thing if it were the White Sox-friendly Bob Nightengale:

*** *** ***

Baseball America posted the first version of its Rule 5 draft preview, and J.J. Cooper compiled profiles for 85 prospects. Jordan Guerrero isn’t in Cooper’s top-five draft candidates, but he is one of seven pitchers listed under the popular draft category “back end starters.”

Guerrero is a crafty lefty with an excellent changeup and enough fastball velocity (90-93 mph) to keep hitters from sitting on his changeup. His breaking ball has never reached the level of his changeup. He could serve as a back-of-the-rotation starter or a multi-inning reliever.

He also lists Connor Walsh as a “flamethrower with work to do.” His draft eligibility was a reason the White Sox put him on the Arizona Fall League roster, but if the results are any indication, his performance probably didn’t change many minds.




Is the White Sox front office good now?

2017-12-07T09:51:33-06:00

Sorry for the question headline, but I don’t want to lead the witness Over at FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan is soliciting responses from fans about their teams’ front offices. I submitted a response, and I recommend you do the same, or at least give it some thought before peeking at the results. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. OK. Will Leitch looked at the results of the FanGraphs poll and found that only five groups of fans called their front offices worse than average: the Marlins, Mets, Orioles, Reds and Tigers. The other 25 teams’ fans are “actively pleased with their front offices.” Leitch said that it’s partially a reflection of a more level playing field between teams, with everybody using data to some degree. But that's the world we live in now. Our default is to assume competence in our executives. That's a greater change than I think we've appreciated. Not too long ago, we cheered a movie in which Billy Beane outsmarted the good ol' boys network. Now everybody is Billy Beane. And we're all collectively more satisfied. Even though … well, everybody still has the same record. The collective baseball record is still .500. There is still only one champion. That’s a part of it. The decision-making is a whole lot more defensible on the whole, even if a fair portion of them don’t work (a zero-sum game and all). In the White Sox’ case, it’s also a case of setting a really low bar. Looking at the results, nearly 53 percent of respondents called Rick Hahn and friends “pretty good” or “very good,” while only 15 percent called the front office “pretty bad” or “very bad.” As somebody who selected “pretty bad,” that genuinely surprised me, because it doesn’t seem consistent with the recent past. The Sox front office wouldn’t have come close to those marks after 2015 or 2016, as the first attempt at rebuilding ate it and Robin Ventura was allowed to lead the team all the way into the turf. I doubt that a cross-section of fans would look at the compound failure of the Adam LaRoche signing and the inability to even get to .500 despite a group of four cost-controlled stars and call the front office “average.” The closest data point we have is Sullivan’s first poll, which he conducted at the All-Star break in 2015: Pretty bad: 41.9 percent Average: 35 percent Very bad: 13.3 percent Pretty good: 9.1 percent Very good: 0.7 percent Considering all the disappointment that followed, fans probably held it lower esteem over the following eight baseball months. So what happened in between this period where the White Sox front office’s “good” vote went from below 10 percent to over 50? Two more losing seasons, including one where the White Sox won 67 games. That’s an oversimplification of course. The White Sox decided to tear it down, trading Chris Sale, Adam Eaton and Jose Quintana for a wave of prospects. The stars-and-scrubs model didn’t work, so the White Sox decided to sell off an unprecedented cluster of great contracts in order to yield a wider array of talent. They also hired an eminently qualified manager this time. They deserve some credit for realizing they couldn’t make the old way work, committing to a different model and being open about it. But man, I don’t think they deserve that much credit. This front office hasn’t reached the postseason in nine years, they’ve had five losing seasons in a row, and they very much tried to win in two of them, during which Rick Hahn was the general manager.* That they got a great return for the AL Cy Young runner-up and their best position player doesn’t change the math much, because a better team wouldn’t have had to trade them in the first place. (*I’m convinced that a significant part of Kenny Williams’ value to the White Sox is being somebody to blame for lesser moves regardless of his level of input.) I think most front offices could start a rebuild in an intriguing way if they had to, especially with the assets the White Sox dealt. A dozen other teams have collected [...]