It has been a busy week for the Chicago White Sox at the virtual MLB Winter Meetings. On Monday night, the team traded pitching prospect Dane Dunning to the Texas Rangers for starter Lance Lynn, while on Tuesday, they signed former White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton to a 1-year deal. Although the team has added a top-tier pitcher in Lynn, the Eaton signing continues to show the franchise’s inability to make the most significant move to put them over the top.
White Sox Continue To Pass on Best Players Available
The best position player available this offseason is outfielder George Springer, who is a three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger. Springer would fit the White Sox need for a right fielder but would come at a high cost. Outside of many being upset about the Eaton signing due to the outfielder’s questionable personality, they are upset that there were still better options the White Sox chose not to pursue.
Chicago was ruled out from signing Springer at the beginning of the week, despite having enough money to afford the All-Star outfielder. The other significant need for the White Sox is starting pitching, but they are not in contention for free agent and Cy young pitcher Trevor Bauer either. Although Lynn addresses their starting rotation depth issue, a rotation feature of Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, and Bauer would arguably be the best in the league.
This is why there's no case for Jerry Reinsdorf being a "good owner". If he wants his manager to be an out-of-touch buddy with a DUI charge that no one wanted, he has a can-do mindset. When it comes to the one thing owners are needed for (money), he wilts.https://t.co/nrTjLI9Cca pic.twitter.com/khCK04QUx8
— Patrick Nolan (@SoxMach_pnoles) December 7, 2020
Franchise Needs To Stop Saying “Win Now Mode”
The White Sox window for a championship has opened as the team made their first playoff appearance last year for the first time in 12 years. With the hiring of manager Tony La Russa, the signing of Eaton, and trading for Lynn, the team is adding to an already impressive core. The issue remains is that they continue to miss on getting the best talent available year after year but keep reiterating that they are in win-now mode.
#WhiteSox rebuild: lots of money to land premier talent, the pick of any mgr, a chance to make this a Sox town for the next several years…
What does cheap Jerry do? He goes cheap. Thanks @whitesox
— Tom Maloney (@tdjm84) December 8, 2020
Two years ago, the White Sox had the lowest payroll in baseball with the most money to spend on a free-agent class that featured both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. Both players were expected to sign deals for over 10 years worth 300 million dollars. After being favored to land Machado, the team lost out to the San Diego Padres because they wouldn’t guarantee a final year. Although team owner Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Rick Hahn said that money wouldn’t be an issue, it appeared as if it was an issue as the team failed to sign both Machado and Harper. It showed to Sox fans that the franchise, although serious about competing, was reluctant to spend the needed money.
So to recap the day:
White Sox offered Manny Machado 8/250 with very tough vesting options (550 PA’s) at 35/yr for a potential $320 million with no opt-outs.
The Padres gave him 10/300 with an opt-out after 5 years.
There’s no way to spin the Sox deal as being better.
— Danny Parkins (@DannyParkins) February 20, 2019
Last season the team did spend money on catcher Yasmani Grandal and Keuchel but again passed on the best free agents available in pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg. Grandal’s deal for four years and 73 million remains the biggest in team history as they have yet to sign a player to a nine-figure contract.
Elite Teams Make The Elite Move
The White Sox will be one of the best teams in all of baseball in 2021, but they will not be the best team because they haven’t made the elite move yet. Other MLB teams in recent years have made that move, whether being the Boston Red Sox trading for Chris Sale, the Los Angeles Dodgers trading for Mookie Betts, the New York Yankees signing Cole, or the Cubs signing Yu Darvish. The similarity between all those teams was that they were playoff contenders before making those moves but made those moves because they wanted the best chance to win a World Series.
Breaking: The trade that will send Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers has been agreed upon, sources tell @jeffpassan.
The new trade will send Betts and David Price to L.A., with OF Alex Verdugo and SS Jeter Downs among the return for Boston. pic.twitter.com/iKlQP4rPM8
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 9, 2020
The White Sox have built a talented roster while adding talented players via trades and signings but have yet to make the most significant move of an offseason in a long time. The last time Chicago got the best player available in an offseason was when they signed outfielder Albert Belle in 1996. When the team began their rebuild back in 2016, once they had developed their core of young players, the next move was to add a top-tier player via trade or free agency, but that has yet to happen.
The #WhiteSox can win a World Series in 2021 without spending on a top free agent. They shouldn't be trading Andrew Vaughn or Michael Kopech however. When the owner refuses to play at the top of the free agent market, you can't trade away potential cost-controlled stars.
— James Fox (@JamesFox917) December 7, 2020
White Sox fans have been hoping that the team could make the blockbuster signing the last three offseasons but have seen no moves made. The continual and intentional passing on the best free-agent due to financial concerns only hurts the team’s reputation with both players and fans. The next few seasons might be the best in White Sox history, but if they fail to win a World Series, it will because of their reluctant nature to get the best player available at all costs.