Rick Hahn has made it clear that the Sox will be willing to spend at the right time. They have plenty of room to improve through free agency as only six teams have a lower payroll than them, but despite his perceived success in starting the rebuild by gathering a plethora of young talent, Hahn is yet to prove he can sign the right free agents for when this team is ready to contend.
If Hahn is going to make a play for a potential franchise-defining free agent, this is the year to do it. Both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are superstars and will demand a very large payday. Both are also the best positional free agents that will be available until 2021 when Mike Trout’s deal is up.
Whispers of the White Sox being interested in Machado date back to December of last year. With him entering free agency he’ll likely be looking for a deal close to, if not above, the deal Bryce Harper just turned down (a rumored $300 million from the Nationals). That’s a hefty paycheck for a player that hasn’t exactly boosted his worth recently.
It’s hard to argue for giving a player hundreds of millions of dollars when he flat out said he doesn’t really like the whole “hustling” thing. He has a clear disdain for the corner infield spots, tending to throw bats at opposing third basemen, step on opposing first basemen, and he’ll likely demand to play shortstop for whoever he signs with even though he stinks at it.
He’s a pain in the ass., but that doesn’t really matter.
So he doesn’t like to run hard. Neither does 2009 World Series champ Robinson Cano. Last season Machado performed better in the first half, when the Orioles were on their way to being the worst team that’s ever existed, than the second half when he eventually joined the Dodgers and played in the World Series. At least he’s consistent no matter how good the team is, something that will be important when the Sox are struggling to win again next season. There’s something to be said for a consistent approach to every game, no matter how big the moment is.
So he likes to kick people when he’s pissed about grounding out. To be fair, he at least appeared to be running hard. In hockey terms, he would be classified as an agitator. Except instead of being a talent-less meathead like Daniel Carcillo, he’s a really good player like Brad Marchand. Instead of just annoying the other team like Adam Eaton, he’ll annoy you plus hit a dinger off your best pitcher.
Sox fans should welcome their new lazy, classless, ultra-talented and young superstar third baseman (or shortstop, depending on his mood) if he decides to come to the south side. If nothing else, watching Ricky bench him every other game for not hustling will be enough entertainment for the 2019 season.