Chicago White Sox – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-02-15T22:49:07Z WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Checking In On The Worst Rotations Of 2018]]> 2019-02-10T19:01:07Z 2019-02-10T19:01:07Z Last Sunday, we took a look at the improvements (or lack thereof) the worst bullpens of the 2018 major league season have made since the winter began. Today’s edition will focus on the sorriest rotations from 2018, when the starting staffs of the Orioles, Rangers, Blue Jays, Padres and White Sox posted ERAs upward of 5.00. Those teams also fared poorly in terms of fWAR, unsurprisingly, with the Orioles, Rangers, Padres and White Sox joining the Reds to make up the majors’ bottom five in that department. Even though spring training is set to open across the league, there are still some quality starters remaining in free agency, so it’s possible these teams aren’t done yet. For now, though, most of these staffs leave much to be desired heading into the new season.

White Sox (2018 fWAR: 30th; 2018 ERA: 26th; projected 2019 rotation via Roster Resource): Last year’s White Sox received 30-plus starts from each of James Shields, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito, but only Lopez managed adequate production. He and Giolito, two former high-end prospects, will once again take up 40 percent of Chicago’s rotation this season, while Shields is currently without a job. Carlos Rodon is also back as one of the team’s most proven starters, albeit after disappointing over 20 appearances in 2018. At least one newcomer – righty Ivan Nova, acquired from the Pirates in December – will slot in near the top of their staff, and fellow offseason pickup Manny Banuelos could join him in the starting five. The 32-year-old Nova isn’t going to wow anyone, but he’s a perfectly cromulent major league starter, having recorded ERAs in the low-4.00s and thrown 160-plus frames in each of the past three seasons. The 27-year-old Banuelos – a trade pickup from the Dodgers – is a former big-time prospect, but the lefty hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2015, when he totaled the only six starts of his career as a member of the Braves.

Given the lack of major league success Giolito, Banuelos, and depth options Dylan Covey and Carson Fulmer have experienced, the White Sox would be well served to land more rotation possibilities before the season. Their situation would look a lot better if not for the Tommy John surgery prized prospect Michael Kopech underwent last September. He’ll miss the entire season as a result, though Chicago could get its first look at its No. 2 pitching prospect, Dylan Cease, this year.

Orioles (2018 fWAR: 29th; 2018 ERA: 30th; projected 2019 rotation): Thanks in part to a less-than-stellar rotation, this is going to be the second ugly season in a row for the rebuilding Orioles. Internal improvement is possible, though, as returning starters Dylan Bundy, Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner have all shown themselves capable of providing much better numbers than the production they registered over a combined 87 starts in 2018. Inexpensive free-agent signing Nate Karns is also a bounce-back candidate after sitting out most of 2017 and all of ’18 as he recovered from the dreaded thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. Aside from those four – any of whom could end up on the block during the season – no starting option on the Orioles’ 40-man roster has achieved success in the majors. Moreover, their farm system isn’t teeming with hurlers who are in line to make MLB impacts this season. With that in mind, rookie general manager Mike Elias may still be scouring the free-agent market for another cheap stopgap(s) after inking Karns earlier this week.

Padres (2018 fWAR: 28th; 2018 ERA: 27th; projected 2019 rotation): The Padres shrewdly signed former Angel Garrett Richards, who’s recovering from Tommy John surgery, back in November. But Richards won’t return until later in the season, if he pitches at all in 2019. Other than Richards, the Padres haven’t picked up any starters of note this winter. It hasn’t been for lack of effort, though, as they’ve been connected to the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Corey Kluber, Dallas Keuchel, Marcus Stroman and Mike Leake, among others, in the rumor mill during recent months. Syndergaard and Kluber probably aren’t going anywhere, but Keuchel remains available in free agency and both Stroman and Leake could still be trade candidates. Having failed to secure anyone from that group, the Padres continue to possess an underwhelming rotation – one that received a combined 49 starts from the now-departed duo of Clayton Richard and Tyson Ross last season. However, Chris Paddack and Logan Allen, top-100 prospects and a couple of the many prizes in a San Diego system laden with talent, may debut sometime this year.

Rangers (2018 fWAR: 27th; 2018 ERA: 29th; projected 2019 rotation): Of the seven Rangers who accrued the most starts in 2018, only one – lefty Mike Minor – remains. Fortunately for Texas, Minor was easily the best member of the club’s subpar septet. He’s now part of a completely remade starting staff which has reeled in Lance Lynn (three years, $30MM) and Shelby Miller (one year, $2MM) in free agency and Drew Smyly via trade with the Cubs. The team also has 2018 signing Edinson Volquez returning after he missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. In all, it’s not the most compelling quintet, and it’s anyone’s guess what Miller, Smyly and Volquez will offer after their recent injury-wrecked seasons, but all five have at least shown flashes in the majors.

The soon-to-be 32-year-old Lynn has been effective and durable for most of his career; Miller’s a former star prospect who prevented runs at an excellent clip from 2014-16; Smyly generally impressed as a starter over the same three-year span as Miller; and Volquez has five seasons of 170-plus frames under his belt. Meanwhile, other than newly added minor league signing Jason Hammel, the Rangers’ depth options have virtually no major league accomplishments. A few of their top-10 prospects – Jonathan Hernandez, Taylor Hearn and Joe Palumbo – are climbing up the minor league ladder and could be in Arlington soon, however.

Reds (2018 fWAR: 26th; 2018 ERA: 25th; projected 2019 rotation): The Reds boasted a mostly healthy rotation in 2018, as six pitchers each made at least 20 starts, but no one was particularly good. Consequently, the Reds have acquired three proven MLB starters in various trades this offseason, having picked up Sonny Gray from the Yankees, Alex Wood from the Dodgers and Tanner Roark from the Nationals. There isn’t an ace among the trio, but all three are credible major league starters – which the Reds desperately needed, especially considering Matt Harvey walked in free agency. High-potential holdovers Luis Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani, who have been inconsistent in the majors, will comprise the rest of Cincinnati’s upgraded rotation to begin the season. The Reds’ new additions will push 2018 regulars Sal Romano (25 starts of 5.48 ERA/5.10 FIP ball) and Tyler Mahle (23 starts, 4.98 ERA/5.25 FIP) into depth roles, which is a plus, as is the end of the Homer Bailey era. The Reds sent Bailey and the remains of his bloated contract to the Dodgers when they traded for Wood and outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp in a blockbuster December deal. Bailey produced catastrophic results from 2017-18, a 38-start, 197 1/3-inning span in which he mustered a 6.25 ERA.

Blue Jays (2018 fWAR: 22nd; 2018 ERA: 28th; projected 2019 rotation): The Blue Jays’ rotation handily outdid the above teams’ by fWAR last year, yet the unit still compiled the majors’ third-worst ERA. Toronto has since made modest acquisitions by trading for Richard and signing Matt Shoemaker (one year, $3.5MM). They’ll serve as placeholders for a Jays team which is at least another full year away from vying for a playoff spot, and may listen to offers for its top two starters – Stroman and Aaron Sanchez – during the upcoming season. Both Stroman and Sanchez have been outstanding at times, but that wasn’t true of either in 2018, and the two are now entering their second-last seasons of team control. Stroman and Sanchez remain atop Toronto’s rotation for the time being, with all parties hoping the righties return to their past productive and healthy ways in 2019. Beyond those two, Richard, Shoemaker and Ryan Borucki, the Blue Jays don’t possess any starters who have done much in the majors, though Sam Gaviglio (37 starts), Sean Reid-Foley (seven) and Thomas Pannone (six) have at least gained some experience.

Ty Bradley <![CDATA[Fallout From The J.T. Realmuto Trade]]> 2019-02-10T16:39:02Z 2019-02-09T16:47:27Z Following a merciful coda to the offseason’s most protracted soap opera – a fine Philly offer, agreed upon Thursday, that finally plucked former Marlin catcher J.T. Realmuto from the clutches of South Beach – each of the oft-snubbed clubs offered their final say.

We’ll start in Atlanta, in whose court the Realmuto ball seemed to linger longest – indeed, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the team needed only to surrender two from the group of Austin Riley, Cristian Pache, and one top pitching prospect (of which Atlanta has several: each of Mike Soroka, Ian Anderson, Touki Toussaint, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright, and Joey Wentz are top 100 prospects in at least one major outlet). Ozzie Albies, said to be an essential part of any Realmuto deal with Atlanta, was never a demanded centerpiece, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Though certainly a substantial return, it’s a package that can’t be said, by any reasonable analysis, to be one that would have stripped the farm of the suddenly-conservative Braves to the bone.

The ask of the Dodgers, ever-cautious themselves, was two from a group of Dustin May, Keibert Ruiz, Gavin Lux, and Will Smith, per Heyman, in the same tweet. Ruiz and Smith, both catchers, likely won’t ever be on the field together at Chavez Ravine, and some outlets ranked neither May nor Lux inside the top 100. Both Heyman and Rosenthal concede that Cody Bellinger was the prize on which Miami initially laid its eyes, but it appears the team quickly swiveled to less-established names in the weeks to follow.

Rosenthal confirms earlier reports that the Fish first coveted outfielder Michael Conforto or Amed Rosario from the Mets, and adds that the team also needed a “top shortstop prospect,” presumably Andres Gimenez, to be added to the deal. It doesn’t appear the club pivoted to other names after the Mets balked, likely owing to the thinned-out version of the late-offseason Mets farm.

From the Yankees, the club did seek Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar, per Rosenthal, but only part of a “larger deal” that would obviously have included additional pieces. The Bombers were understandably reluctant to trade either, and the wheat of the Yankee farm – stocked mostly with high-upside, low-level types – wouldn’t have been enough to secure Realmuto’s services. The reported three-team with the Mets that would have sent Noah Syndergaard to New York was bandied about, but a copacetic swap was “never close.”

Cincinnati was both late to the fore and hesitant to move any of its top three prospects, per Rosenthal, and it doesn’t appear a deal was close there, either. Perhaps surprisingly, given the intense scrutiny of the talks, both the Twins and White Sox were “in the mix,” though prospective returns and/or offers are still in the dark.

In the end, Miami seems more than content with its return. The Fish regarded Will Stewart, the trade’s third piece, as Philadelphia’s second-best pitching prospect, per Rosenthal, ahead of near-unanimous top-100 hurler Adonis Medina, righty Spencer Howard, who placed 52nd on Keith Law’s list, and lefty JoJo Romero (66th overall, per Law). Sixto Sanchez, of course, has a decent shot to be an ace, and it’s certainly true that the club could reap more value in Jorge Alfaro alone than it would in the next two seasons with Realmuto behind the dish. The oft-pilloried asks, long said to far outstrip the two-year value of the game’s premier offseason trade target, were, in most respects, perfectly reasonable, and may have quickly been met in eras bygone. This, though, is the time for prospect hoarding, an age in which the control is treasured above all else, and those with even the slightest chance to be stars are stashed deep away, brought out only for the most earnest of window shoppers.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[White Sox, Brandon Guyer Agree To Minor League Deal]]> 2019-02-09T05:44:36Z 2019-02-06T02:55:11Z The White Sox have agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Brandon Guyer, as Stadium’s Dave Ross first tweeted. He’ll presumably head to Major League Spring Training and compete for a roster spot; the deal pays $1.6MM in the majors, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (Twitter link).

Guyer, 33, has struggled over the past couple of seasons with the Indians, hitting at a .220/.312/.351 pace with nine homers in 413 trips to the plate. He hit .266/.356/.403 from 2014-16 with the Rays and Indians, however, and his right-handed bat has long bean a thorn in the side of left-handed pitchers. In 792 career plate appearances against lefties, Guyer has a .274/.376/.449 batting line. He’s more of an on-base threat than a power threat, in part because of the astonishing rate at which he’s hit by pitches.

The veteran Guyer could potentially give the ChiSox a platoon partner for lefty-swinging Daniel Palka in one of the outfield corners. Palka demonstrated plenty of pop last season but was overmatched by left-handed opponents, hitting them at a woeful .200/.277/.293 clip — albeit through just 83 plate appearances. The 27-year-old Palka did handle lefties well in his minor league career, though his lack of production and 34 strikeouts in those 83 Major League PAs (41 percent) certainly wasn’t encouraging.

Other outfield options who’ll be in camp with the White Sox include Nicky Delmonico, Ryan Cordell, Luis Alexander Basabe and uber-prospect Eloy Jimenez. All are already on the 40-man roster, though it’s a virtual lock that Jimenez will remain in the minors for the first few weeks of the season as the Sox look to secure an additional year of club control over him.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Sanchez, Anderson On White Sox' Machado Pursuit]]> 2019-01-28T16:46:43Z 2019-01-28T14:42:17Z
  • As the White Sox continue to chase Manny Machado, Mark Lazerus of The Athletic (subscription link) looks at what that has meant for some of the team’s existing infielders. Yolmer Sanchez and Tim Anderson, could stand to see their own situations disrupted — whether by a loss of playing time, a change of position, or perhaps even a trade. Both Sanchez and Anderson say they are in favor of anything that moves the club closer to putting a championship contender on the field, though the latter certainly did not sound particularly inclined to hand over his slot at shortstop. “I’m not just going to give him shortstop,” says Anderson of a hypothetical acquisition of Machado. “I’m not just going to bow to him. That’ my position. … It’s mine until somebody takes it.” Just what the team’s plans would be if they do secure Machado’s services aren’t clear. Many have wondered whether a promise to play him at short would be part of the bargain, though GM Rick Hahn did suggest the star has indicated he’ll defer to the team’s positional preferences. In any event, the first order of business is to get Manny (or perhaps another star) to sign on — an ongoing priority that Hahn has made no secret of.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Quick Hits: SoxFest, Banuelos, Rule Changes]]> 2019-01-27T16:14:17Z 2019-01-27T16:08:20Z White Sox GM Rick Hahn recognizes there will be some disappointment and finger-pointing if the White Sox don’t come away with Manny Machado or Bryce Harper this offseason, but he’s not ready to say more about the ongoing negotiations than necessary. Hahn did flat-out reject the idea of signing both free agent stars, as two monster contracts would hamper the long-term flexibility to a harmful degree. While Hahn spoke openly about Machado rumors, he is unhappy with the number of leaks, both true and untrue, coming from the Southside, per the Athletic’s James Fegan. As irritating as the leaks are, Hahn assured the crowds at SoxFest that they will continue to confront leaks of all varieties with honesty. Fegan also notes that former top prospect Manny Banuelos has generated more hype than usual for an unestablished 27-year-old. The Sox preempted Banuelos’ minor league free agency by acquiring him via trade from the Dodgers in November. Banuelos has been around the block, spending time with the Braves and Yankees, starting six games for the former in 2015. He put together a solid campaign last season for the Dodgers’ Triple A affiliate, throwing 108 2/3 innings, with a 9-7 record, 3.73 ERA and 10.52 K/9 versus 3.48 BB/9. Now, rumblings from the league office, and more from SoxFest in Chicago…

    • Baseball’s offensive landscape has shifted due to record strikeout totals, increased bullpen usage, shorter stints from starting pitchers and more meticulous long-term bullpen management. These trends have been spotlit by the increased media attention paid to service time manipulation, most-famously in the case of Kris Bryant, as well as the Tampa Bay Rays’ recent revelation that has already made its way into common baseball parlance: the opener. In an effort to curb these trends, Major League Baseball is getting set to present the Players’ Association with rule change proposals that may include the institution of a pitch clock, reinstating the 15-day disabled list and increasing the amount of time an optioned player must spend in the minor leagues, back to 15 days from the current minimum of 10 – though nothing official has yet been released, per Ronald Blum of the Associated Press. The league office could force feed these rule changes with a year’s notice, but Commissioner Rob Manfred is unlikely to use such an aggressive tactic. It will be up to the players, then, to decide whether these proposals are good for the game.
    • Of note, the league has made strides in quickening the pace of the game, as average 9-inning game times sped up from 3 hours, 5 minutes, 11 seconds in 2017, to 3 hours and 44 seconds last year. Trimming mound visits without a pitching change from 7.41 to 4.01 certainly had a hand in cutting out those 4+ minutes. Quantifying the impact of these changes is difficult, giving baseball circles more than enough fodder for debate, though it seems the “state of the game” conversations will continue throughout the next two years leading up to the expiration of the current CBA in 2021. 
    • White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper won’t kowtow to the wisdom of the opener anytime soon, per Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun Times. The way Cooper sees it, the role of the starter on the White Sox has not changed, and he still expects to get 6+ innings out of his guys. That’s been a tough ask of late as the Southsiders have built their staff from the ground up via development and trades. Next season is a key year for their young arms, as the trio of Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito look to cement their place in the rotation before the arrival of the next wave of high profile prospects like Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech and Dane Dunning, the latter two of whom are working their way back from injury. Ivan Nova rounds out the top four in Cooper’s rotation, with Dylan Covey in competition with Banuelos for the five slot. There are still plenty of arms on the free agent market, however, and GM Rick Hahn says the team is working on 3-4 potential acquisitions. Given the collective injury troubles plaguing Chicago’s cavalcade of young arms, it would not be surprising in the least to see one or two veteran arms brought into camp on cheap or minor-league deals. 
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[GM Hahn On Machado/Harper Pursuit]]> 2019-01-26T21:26:25Z 2019-01-26T21:26:25Z
  • White Sox GM Rick Hahn said he would “be personally disappointed” if the team didn’t sign Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, though he told’s Scott Merkin and other reporters that the mere pursuit of such top-tier stars represents a new stage of the team’s rebuild.  “The fact that we are now sitting here in a potential position — or at least in a position where, if we don’t convert, people are going to be disappointed — I think is an important step forward for this organization,” Hahn said.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[White Sox Made Multi-Year Offer To Yasmani Grandal]]> 2019-01-26T19:19:52Z 2019-01-26T19:18:55Z
  • Before signing a one-year deal with the Brewers worth $18.25MM in guaranteed money, Yasmani Grandal received multi-year offers from the Angels, Twins, and White Sox, The Athletic’s Robert Murray reports (subscription required).  These offers were in addition to the four-year deal reportedly floated by the Mets for Grandal, which he turned down.  As Grandal explained, taking the longer-term offers would’ve meant setting what he felt was a bad precedent for free agent catching contracts.  “One of my responsibilities as a player is also to respect the guys going through this process before me like Brian McCann, Russell Martin, Yadier MolinaThese are guys who have established a market and pay levels for a particular tier of catchers like myself,” Grandal said.  “I felt l would be doing a disservice taking some of the deals that were offered even though they were slightly more long term.  I wanted to keep the line moving and set a bar for the younger guys coming up.  In hopes of them following our footsteps….hopefully, they know what they are worth and would go ahead and get paid what they’re worth.”  Grandal can technically achieve a second year on his Brewers deal, a mutual option for 2020 worth $16MM, though it seems unlikely that both he and the team would agree to enact their respective sides of that option.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[White Sox Sign Chris Johnson To Minors Deal]]> 2019-01-25T13:10:56Z 2019-01-24T19:49:50Z
  • The White Sox reportedly signed corner infielder Chris Johnson to a minors contract, though he won’t receive an invitation to MLB Spring Training, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link).  Johnson hit .275/.313/.404 over 2995 plate appearances for five different Major League teams from 2009-16, including an impressive 2013 campaign that earned him a three-year, $23.5MM extension from the Braves (which ultimately didn’t pan out for the team).  Johnson spent 2017 in the Orioles’ farm system and didn’t play at all in 2018, so the 34-year-old will be attempting something of a comeback as he tries to catch on with Chicago.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dodgers Have Discussed Joc Pederson With Multiple Clubs]]> 2019-01-21T15:52:16Z 2019-01-21T15:52:36Z Jan. 21: The Braves have also “checked on” a trade involving Pederson, tweets Jon Heyman of Fancred. It’s still not clear  how many teams have been in contact with L.A., nor is it clear whether there’s any momentum surrounding a potential Pederson deal. However, the connection with Atlanta is only logical. The Braves have an obvious corner-outfield vacancy at the moment, and Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos spent the 2016-17 seasons as the Dodgers’ vice president of baseball operations before accepting his current position.

    Jan. 20: The Dodgers are discussing outfielder Joc Pederson in potential deals, and the White Sox are among the teams they’re talking to, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. It’s unclear, though, whether the two sides are making progress in those conversations.

    Speculatively, trading Pederson could further open up room in LA for free-agent center fielder A.J. Pollock, whom the team is pursuing. And essentially swapping the lefty-swinging Pederson for the right-handed Pollock would enable the Dodgers’ lineup to become more balanced, which is reportedly among their offseason objectives. At the same time, though, waving goodbye to Pederson would mean losing a productive, affordable player who’s under arbitration control through the 2020 season. He’ll earn a reasonable $5MM this year after avoiding arbitration earlier this month.

    While the 26-year-old Pederson has never been effective versus left-handed pitchers, who have held him to a woeful .181/.266/.317 line since he debuted in 2014, it has been a different story against righties. Most recently, Pederson posted an overall .248/.321/.522 line (126 wRC+) in 2018 with 25 home runs and 2.7 fWAR over 443 plate appearances. Despite his limitations against same-handed hurlers, Pederson has approached or exceeded 3.0 fWAR in three of the past four seasons. That type of production would be welcome in Chicago, whose outfield ranked dead last in fWAR (minus-1.2) in 2018. The unit has since lost one of its regulars, now-Ray Avisail Garcia, who was merely a replacement-level player last season, though it did add Jon Jay in free agency. Jay had a subpar 2018 in his own right, however, and hasn’t offered particularly strong production over the past few years.

    Jay’s now part of a group which also includes Daniel Palka, Adam Engel and Leury Garcia, though all three of those outfielders registered underwhelming results last year. Fortunately for the White Sox, they do have a premier outfield prospect in Eloy Jimenez, whom they figure to promote early in the season and who could make a significant impact from the get-go. But Jimenez’s presence isn’t going to prevent the White Sox from trying to upgrade elsewhere in the grass, evidenced by their interest in Pederson and their pursuit of free-agent standout Bryce Harper.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 1/17/19]]> 2019-01-17T14:27:12Z 2019-01-17T14:27:12Z We’ll track the latest minor moves throughout the league here…

    • Outfielder Charlie Tilson cleared waivers after being designated for assignment by the White Sox and has been sent outright to Triple-A Charlotte, the team announced to reporters (Twitter link via Daryl Van Schouwen of the Sun Times). Chicago will now be able to hang onto the 26-year-old speedster without dedicating a 40-man roster spot to him. Tilson suffered a torn hamstring in his MLB debut with the South Siders back in ’16 and saw his 2017 season wiped out by a stress reaction in his ankle. He returned to hit .264 with a solid .331 OBP in 121 plate appearances with the White Sox last season but slugged just .292. Lack of power isn’t new for Tilson, who has batted .266/.321/.356 in just shy of 700 Triple-A plate appearances. Tilson now finds himself a ways down the depth chart in Chicago and will need a strong showing in 2019 to move back up the organizational ladder (or to pique the interest of another team).
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Agent Dan Lozano Issues Statement On Latest Manny Machado Reports]]> 2019-01-16T22:38:45Z 2019-01-16T22:38:45Z In the wake of this morning’s reports from ESPN’s Buster Olney (Twitter link) and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link), in which both suggested that the White Sox’ current offer to Manny Machado stands at $175MM over seven years, Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano of the MVP Sports Group, issued the following statement to MLBTR and other media outlets:

    I have known Bob Nightengale and Buster Olney for many years and have always had a good professional relationship with both. But their recent reporting, like many other rumors in the past several months, have been inaccurate and reckless when it comes to Manny Machado. I don’t know if their sources are blatantly violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement by intentionally misleading them to try and affect negotiations through the public or are just flat out lying to them for other reasons. But the truth is that their reports on the details of the White Sox level of interest in Manny are completely wrong.

    I am well aware that the entire baseball universe; fans, players, teams, and media members alike; are starved for information about this free agent market for all players, including Manny. But I am not going to continue to watch the press be manipulated into tampering with, not just with my client, but all of these players’ livelihoods as they have been doing this entire offseason. The absence of new information to report is no excuse to fabricate “news” or regurgitate falsehoods without even attempting to confirm their validity and it is a disservice to baseball fans everywhere when the media does just that.

    Moving forward, I will continue to respect the CBA’s prohibition on negotiations through the media, and hope that others would do the same.

    It’s an emphatic denial of this morning’s reports and a fairly rare step for an agent or team executive to take with regard to media reports. Lozano, though, clearly felt strongly enough to offer a firm rebuke of the information that has been put forth. The “White Sox level of interest” is in reference to the reported numbers on Machado’s offer this morning, rather than a commentary on Chicago’s desire to sign the player himself. At this point, there’s no clear timeline or indication as to when Machado’s free-agent saga will end.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cubs Claim Ian Clarkin]]> 2019-01-16T20:15:53Z 2019-01-16T20:14:47Z The Cubs announced today that for the second time this offseason, they’ve claimed lefty Ian Clarkin off waivers from the White Sox. The South Siders designated Clarkin for assignment last week after signing Kelvin Herrera.

    It’s the second time this winter that the ChiSox designated Clarkin for assignment. The crosstown Cubs claimed him from their south side counterparts back on Nov. 20 and promptly tried to pass Clarkin through waivers themselves (thus allowing them to keep Clarkin without giving him a 40-man roster spot), only for the White Sox to scoop him back up with a claim of their own.

    Set to turn 24 next month, Clarkin is a former first-round pick (No. 33 by the Yankees in 2013) whom the White Sox originally acquired in the 2017 trade that sent David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees. While outfield prospect Blake Rutherford headlined the Sox’ return in that swap, Clarkin was an interesting addition to the mix, even if his prospect star had dimmed by the time he was traded.

    However, Clarkin was hit hard in 68 innings of Double-A ball last year, turning in a 4.98 ERA with nearly as many walks (4.1 BB/9) as strikeouts (4.6 K/9). The Cubs organization is reportedly facing some ownership-mandated financial restrictions this winter and clearly sees some potential in Clarkin. The Cubs have again turned to Clarkin as a low-cost depth piece, though it’s possible they’ll again try to run him through waivers in order to maintain greater 40-man roster flexibility. At present, there are 39 players on the Cubs’ 40-man roster (including Clarkin).

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[White Sox’ Offer To Machado Reportedly Seven Years, $175 Million]]> 2019-01-23T15:44:23Z 2019-01-16T18:33:32Z In the weeks since the White Sox made a reported seven-year offer to Machado, several followup reports have pegged the offer’s value as closer to $200MM than to $300MM. Now, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (via Twitter) that the exact value of Chicago’s offer to Machado is $175MM over seven years — a $25MM annual value.

    Postseason comments and villainy aside, it’s surprising that Machado’s market has been so limited to this juncture — particularly when the apparent top bid for his services as a 26-year-old isn’t all that much greater than the $144MM for which Eric Hosmer signed a year ago when at the age of 28. Frankly, the reported size of the offer makes it all the more stunning that the Yankees, on the heels of a 100-win season, are seemingly content to entrust the shortstop position to a Troy Tulowitzki reclamation project and the hope that Didi Gregorius can seamlessly bounce back from Tommy John surgery.

    Looking around the league, it’s jarring  yet that teams who could fairly easily accommodate Machado haven’t made an effort to top that offer. The total value of Chicago’s offer to Machado checks in south of the Twins’ $184MM commitment to Joe Mauer, who retired earlier this winter. Minnesota doesn’t have a single dollar on the books beyond the 2019 campaign. The Brewers promised Ryan Braun a $21MM annual salary through his age-36 season nearly eight years ago, and Braun’s deal is off the books after the 2020 season. (Of course, if there’s one team that Machado have alienated more than any last October, it’s likely the Brewers.) The Angels and Mets are both at least $40MM south of the luxury tax threshold. Other clubs like the Cardinals, Cubs and Dodgers could potentially move some internal pieces around to fit Machado, and the Phillies are of course a clear fit that could handily top that sum. Even a team like the Padres, still emerging from a rebuild and more earnestly eyeing contention in 2020, could reasonably top an offer of that magnitude. (San Diego did, after all, sign a far lesser player in Hosmer a year ago.)

    As Olney notes, the White Sox’ approach looks to be a mirror image of how the Red Sox pursued J.D. Martinez last winter. Boston made Martinez a $100MM offer early in the winter and waited him out, knowing that he lacked other suitors. That, of course, led Boston to a $110MM deal with Martinez that, while nine figures in value, proved to be one of the offseason’s best values. It’s more understandable, though,  that Martinez would have a limited market given the fact that most clubs viewed him as a pure designated hitter who could only handle sporadic outfield work.

    Machado’s “Johnny Hustle” comments and his deliberate kick of Jesus Aguilar at first base during the NLCS undoubtedly soured his image in the eyes of some owners (quite likely the aforementioned Brewers), but it’s nevertheless eye-popping that interest has been this tepid. While it’s true that many, if not most free-agent deals of seven-plus years in length end up as albatrosses in their latter years, Machado is four to five years younger than most free agents who signed those contracts and can reasonably be expected to provide more value as a result — particularly in the first half of a contract, which should be comprised entirely of prime-aged seasons.

    Generally speaking, team-side aversion to those mega-contracts has clearly risen in recent years, though some clubs have moved toward shorter contracts at higher annual values in an effort to pay a higher premium for up-front value while mitigating some long-term downside. That, however, isn’t even the case in Chicago’s pursuit of Machado. The $25MM annual value of the proposal is hardly insignificant, but it’s also far from the top-of-the-scale annual rate one might expect for a player of Machado’s caliber and age.

    Olney wonders whether the Yankees may ultimately circle back in if Machado’s market fails to progress — be it in the form of an increased offer from the Pale Hose or the emergence of another suitor. Given that the currently proposed deal would only run through Machado’s age-32 season, it’s hard to imagine that some team wouldn’t be willing to top it. Then again, few would’ve believed at the onset of free agency that Machado’s top offer in mid-January would be sitting at its current level.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On White Sox' Pursuit Of Manny Machado]]> 2019-01-15T06:55:04Z 2019-01-15T06:39:14Z Despite recent reports that the White Sox have made an eight-year offer to Manny Machado, a parade of others are reporting that the team has not moved off of its previous seven-year offer. Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted that the ChiSox have not made any alterations to their original seven-year offer, which was put on the table about two weeks back. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score/CBS Chicago suggests the same, via Twitter, adding that the offer presently on the table to Machado is valued between $25-30MM annually. That’d peg Chicago’s offer somewhere in the $175-210MM range — well shy of Machado’s reported $325MM+ target.

    • While the White Sox have gone to some unique measures to make Chicago a bit more appealing for Machado — acquiring his brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso, and signing close friend Jon JaySNY’s Andy Martino writes that Machado won’t be wooed by anything other than the largest offer (which goes without saying for the majority of free agents). More interesting from Martino’s report is the possibility of some dark-horse teams in the mix on Machado. While Martino acknowledges that the “mystery team” trope is overplayed and is “often mocked for good reason, we hear reliably that it’s true in this case.”
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[White Sox Have Made Eight-Year Offer To Manny Machado?]]> 2019-01-14T05:53:46Z 2019-01-14T05:53:15Z 11:53pm: In a contrasting report, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link) that the White Sox haven’t increased their original seven-year offer to Machado.

    11:25pm: The eight-year offer is worth $250MM, as per Z101Digital’s Hector Gomez (hat tip to’s Scott Merkin).

    9:58pm: The White Sox have offered an eight-year contract to free agent infielder Manny Machado,’s Jeff Passan reports.  We heard last week that Chicago had formally put an offer on the table for Machado, as per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, though it isn’t known if this eight-year pact is that same deal, or if the Sox have upped their offer.  That previous deal was “likely closer to $200 million than $300 million” in Nightengale’s words.

    The eight-year threshold seemingly represents a new step in the ongoing talks between Machado and the White Sox, as 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine had previously reported that the Sox were only willing to hand out seven-year deals to either Machado or Bryce Harper.  The White Sox now seem to be a bit closer to Machado’s desire for at least a decade-long contract, though if he is “sitting on” Chicago’s offer, as Passan writes, it indicates that Machado is still holding out to see if another team can top the White Sox with a longer and more expensive offer.

    There seem to be at least three suitors in play for Machado at this time, as Passan notes that the White Sox and Phillies (who are “still engaged” with Machado) have been told that a mystery team is also interested.  The Yankees have been linked to Machado this winter, though they might not be the third suitor, as recent reports seem to indicate a waning interest in Machado’s services.

    If the Yankees are indeed out, and the Phillies have now become the favorites to land Bryce Harper, Machado could find himself down to just two suitors.  It’s anyone’s guess, of course, about who the mystery team could be or what they might be willing to offer (or if the team exists at all, and isn’t just a negotiating tactic by Machado’s camp).  While Passan suggests that Chicago’s willingness to go to eight years could indicate some flexibility to add a ninth or even a tenth year to an offer, the White Sox might not feel such pressure if they perceive that they already have the highest bid.  The White Sox have already sailed well above their financial comfort zone in bidding on Machado — an eight-year deal in the $200MM+ range dwarfs the previous largest deal in franchise history, Jose Abreu’s six-year/$68MM pact.