GLENDALE, Arizona – At SoxFest, Rick Hahn was asked about the White Sox's preconception that this team will not spend the money needed to win one of the biggest free agents in the game.
A few weeks later, when Manny Machado chose to sign with the San Diego Padres for $ 300 million guaranteed, while the White Sox would have offered to the 26-year-old superstar, what Hahn had called in January a "fake "story" has become, in the minds of many baseball fans of South Side, impossible to refute.
Allowing one day to pass has not calmed Twitter on White Sox, and complaints from White Sox fans on social media have continued more than 24 hours after their favorite team failed to win the captivated derby for months. Sometimes their anger was directed against Machado – Tim Anderson became this segment of the fan base's hero Wednesday, when he said that Machado might have missed the boat – but much of the anger has been directed against the owner and the owner.
"Why not guarantee an extra $ 50 million?" they begged, before drawing their own conclusions, that the White Sox will never be able to win a high-end free agent.
Hahn spoke for the second time on Tuesday at the Cactus League media day in downtown Glendale and acknowledged, even shared, some of that frustration. But his most relevant message was the promise that the financial flexibility created by the ongoing reconstruction process would not be wasted.
"I understand that feeling, I understand that feeling," he said of the fans' wish to see the team spend more aggressively. "What you're trying to do in these situations, I think, is trying to balance the risk and the reward of all these things – these long-term contracts are obviously complicated. sometimes comes down to more than simply injecting more money as a guarantee, which is probably the only area we can argue about: "Hey, you should have been more aggressive in this situation."
"At the end of the day, we did what we felt was not just a very aggressive offer, a very compelling offer that balanced and represented the risk and the benefit to both sides. It did not work, which is obviously disappointing. But that does not change the fact that we will be back in this market at the right time and, hopefully, convert to that time.
"The money will be spent, it may not be spent in the off-season, but it will be spent at some point, not money waiting to accumulate interest. the money we are trying to deploy to win championships. "
Attacks that the White Sox were "cheap" in their pursuit of Machado are simply wrong. If the reports are accurate, they pledged $ 350 million to Machado over a 10-year period. Now, there are obvious differences in the offers allegedly made by the Padres and the White Sox, and if Machado shows up at the Padres camp in Peoria, Arizona, in the next few days and breaks a leg, he'll be 50 million of dollars richer than him. Had he signed with the White Sox? But it is also important to note that the offer announced by the White Sox has allowed Machado to bet on itself and potentially earn $ 50 million more than it should win in San Diego at over the next decade.
The main consequence of this situation is that the White Sox reconstruction plans are not adversely affected by Machado's decision one iota. Machado going to San Diego does nothing to diminish the power of Eloy Jimenez or make it more difficult to recover Michael Kopech after Tommy John's operation, nor take a mile an hour or two of the fast balloon from Dylan Cease. The core is still ahead, still seems capable of forming a perennial championship contender, and Machado's decision would never change that.
Moreover, Machado's decision is only that: his decision. There is another category of free agents coming in, and these players will each have their own decision-making process, their own desires in terms of contracts and wagering on themselves and a desire to win and win. s line up on a team like the White Sox. which will undoubtedly be involved and probably as aggressive, if not more, than it was the dead season. Maybe Nolan Arenado has a different opinion. Maybe J.D. Martinez or Anthony Rendon feel different. Maybe Justin Verlander or Madison Bumgarner want to be Jon Lester's version of South Lions. It also seems easier to sell the White Sox another year, when league players can see what it would be like to play alongside Jimenez and Cease, when the image of this team will be clearer. as in contention mode.
And except for a surprise surprise for Bryce Harper – they would be on the biggest name in the free agent market – they will have the same financial flexibility to add this caliber of player. Machado was not the only opportunity to make this kind of addition. There will be others, and soon.
"In a year, we will be in a better position to know more about our own employees and what is available and what are the specific needs and what specific needs we have taken into account." The money will go "said Hahn. "We will serve well in the long run if we have this economic flexibility and economic power to improve.
"We have seen an opportunity to potentially integrate ourselves in the long term, it has not worked, but that does not change the fact that we are going to take advantage of these opportunities again when they come in the next few years. to come up."
Of course, none of this will appease the fans who still react to this defeat against free agents. And none of this should be. Fans are allowed to be angry, and they will probably carry the idea that the White Sox will not spend until they have proven otherwise.
And Hahn recognizes it. He said so much back to SoxFest.
"If, for whatever reason, we can not convert this time, this story may still be there for a year," he said, "but we can not wait to prove that he is wrong as we have others. "
Unfortunately, this remains an item in the to-do list.
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