Let me start this article by saying I am a fan of the Chicago White Sox. The way I said that sounds like the beginning of an announcement at AA. This article serves not only as a way to explain the events of Tuesday but also a form of therapy.
I received a text around 11:45 last Tuesday morning announcing that Manny Machado was going to sign with the San Diego Padres. I immediately stopped what I was doing and began looking for information and updates about this. How could this be? The White Sox were really the only team at the proverbial table. I then read that Machado got 300 million for 10 years and I was stunned. Wasn’t this the going rate that EVERYONE knew at the beginning of free agency? That was only the beginning.
I was frustrated that the White Sox missed on this, but the next hour infuriated me, as it should EVERY White Sox fan. As soon as the news became public Kenny Williams was front and center in his golf cart for the media to begin questioning. As he sat there in his sun glasses, so you couldn’t see the shock in his eyes, he proceeded to say how if the rumored numbers were true, 300 mil for 10 years, the White Sox could not meet that number. Further, they needed to have payroll flexibility so that they could pay players 6 and 7 years down the road. Needless to say, I am not going to comment on that ridiculousness of that last statement, but I am going to comment on the 300 million statement because it raises a couple of questions for me. The first question is if the going rate was 300 mil, which EVERYONE knew, and you couldn’t go to that number why were you involved in the first place? The second question I have relates to the amount. Is there a cap for what the White Sox will spend? Fans were told for two years, by Rick Hahn, that when the time came the money would be there. Furthermore, at the winter meetings Kenny said how the entire rebuild was done for this free agent class. So, if everyone knew that the buy in to be “at the table” was 300 mil and this was the target of the rebuild all along why did they fail so miserably? Was this just a case of false hustle, eyewash?
Now let’s talk about the comment regarding paying players 6 or 7 years down the road. There is another contradiction with this. If you were SO WORRIED about paying players six or seven years down the road why would you offer Machado two option years, based on reaching 550 plate appearances, for 35 mil per year. This COMPLETELY contradicts your comment about paying players down the road and if you were so worried about paying those players does that mean you would play games with the AB’s so that the incentives were never reached?
Rick Hahn was then available to the media. Through a cruel twist of fate, he was actually available twice. He mentioned that there was not a “cap” per se on what could be offered and that they would be in there for the next one. Obviously, there was a cap because your boss said so and the news has since come out that the White Sox are out on Bryce Harper and stepped away from Marwin Gonzalez.
The White Sox may not want to hear this, but this has been a disaster of epic proportions. It has shown a couple of things. One, Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams are not on the same page, and two, someone lied. Fans were told that the money would be there, but it wasn’t. I could understand if it was a case where the number went above and beyond, but this number was known since the beginning of free agency.
I began to sense something was not right about a week after Soxfest when a friend of mine, Bill DeMantes, said something, which I previously wrote about, and I am afraid that the suspicion is true. They wanted the moral victory, not the actual one. This was eyewash, it was false hustle. You cannot say you were at the table when you missed SO BADLY. If this was the contract that he wanted it would have been signed, sealed, and delivered.
The White Sox Front Office has lost any semblance of trust in them. Fans will not believe a word they say because they lied, for lack of a better way to put it, for two years. When it came time to put up, they were outbid, outhustled, and outclassed by the San Diego Padres. I do not begrudge Machado for taking the money. Think about it, 250 mil guaranteed for eight years with options that may or may not be attainable, or 300 mil guaranteed for ten years with an opt out after five years. There really is no decision to be made there. Further, the Padres managed to deliver a little shot to the organization that pains me but was rightfully deserved.
The days of me defending this organization are over. I will attend games, but the passion is gone. That’s what happens when you destroy the one thing fans had about this rebuild, hope. I hope the White Sox enjoy the even lower attendance. I hope they enjoy the cynicism and “yeah right” comments that will come with every move. And lastly, I cannot wait for the first time I hear Kenny or Coop do the attendance shaming act. The first thing I will ask them is “Where’s Manny Machado?”