Chuck Garfien sits down with Hawk Harrelson and A.J. Pierzynski in their first interview together to discuss their unique relationship which goes back 25 years to when Pierzynski was in high school and was considered the most hated baseball player in Orlando, Florida. Hawk talks about convincing Ken Williams to sign Pierzynski as a free agent in 2005, the time he wanted to fight Texas Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla after he beaned Pierzynski twice in a game. Harrelson tells the story about playing in a foursome with Michael Jordan, Jim McMahon and Mike Ditka. They also discuss the White Sox rivalry with the Twins in the 2000's, umpire Joe West, arm wrestling, Hawk's autobiography, AJ's plea to get Harrelson in the broadcasting wing in the Hall of Fame, their plan to call a White Sox game together next season, and much more.
A slow offseason for the Cubs is picking up steam by the hour.
After reports that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were scheduled to meet with Yu Darvish on Monday afternoon, the four-time All-Star jumped on Twitter later in the evening to confirm the get-together and discuss how it went:
1.今日は報道にもあったようにカブスの方達とミーティングしてきました。非常にいいミーティングでした。— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) December 19, 2017
And for those who haven't yet mastered Japanese, Beyond the Boxscore's Kazuto Yamakazi has got you covered with the translation:
"As reported, I was in a meeting with people from the Cubs. It went really extremely well. To get used to English, I didn't carry an interpreter."I had some difficulties coming up with words at first, but did well afterwards. The meeting lasted for 3.5 hours."— Kazuto Yamazaki (@Kazuto_Yamazaki) December 19, 2017
The three-plus hour meeting in Dallas may be an indication that the Cubs are willing to spend big on another quality starting pitcher.
Darvish, 31, has a career 3.42 ERA during his five-year MLB career. He led the American League with 277 strikeouts in 2013, but his strikeouts-per-nine-innings numbers have subsequently dropped each season.
After being traded to the Dodgers midseason, he regained some of his swing-and-miss stuff, but was absolutely rocked by the Astros in two World Series starts, giving up eight earned runs in a combined 3.1 innings.
If the Cubs do indeed elect to ink Darvish to a deal, that means Jake Arrieta's brilliant tenure on the North Side is likely over.
So much for a quiet winter on the South Side.
Late Wednesday night, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal dropped a bomb on White Sox fans, tweeting that the club has emerged as serious players in the Manny Machado talks:
A surprising team emerges as the most aggressive suitor for Machado. The latest: https://t.co/8emZ0hh1yH $— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 14, 2017
USA Today's Bob Nightengale then reported that the Sox offer is the best one the Orioles have received thus far:
The news comes as a bit of surprise given that the Orioles star has only one year left on his contract, and striking a deal would mean the Sox would have to part with at least one coveted prospect with no guarantee that Machado would stick around.
Per Rosenthal, the prospects being discussed are Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech, but both would not be included in the same package. Still, a hefty price to pay for the possibility of a one-year -- albeit All-Star caliber -- player.
As outlined earlier by Vinnie Duber, GM Rick Hahn wasn't keen on the idea of giving up a future piece for a stopgap, but he also wouldn't slam the door on taking a leap of faith to acquire a young, proven player.
"Sometimes you need to be creative. Sometimes you need to perhaps take a risk," Hahn told reporters Wednesday at the Winter Meetings. "I think it’s probably slightly easier after a player has been part of this organization, understand what we’re about, to extend him as opposed to meeting him cold free agent and trying to sell him on the organization. We’ve had success with both, so we’re not afraid to do either, but perhaps there is a little advantage from time to time to have a guy already be on campus when you’re talking about extending him into the future."
Rosenthal also made mention that if the White Sox couldn't get Machado to sign an extension during the 2018 season, the club could consider moving him to another team to acquire more prospects.
If indeed Hahn & Co. are willing to take this risk, it seems as if they're banking on their clubhouse culture to convince the star to stay.