White Sox

Good news for White Sox? Bryce Harper, Manny Machado reportedly not fans of Philadelphia

Good news for White Sox? Bryce Harper, Manny Machado reportedly not fans of Philadelphia

Is this good news for the White Sox in their pursuits of two of the biggest names in baseball?

According to a report from the New York Post's Joel Sherman, neither Bryce Harper nor Manny Machado are big fans of Philadelphia, the home of the Phillies, one of the most logical landing spots for either of the two biggest prizes on this winter's free-agent market.

"Word is neither player particularly likes Philadelphia and both would have preferred the Yankees, who have shown little interest in Harper."

Oh really?

The Phillies vowed to spend "stupid" earlier this offseason and because of that declaration have seemed to be one of the most likely destinations for Harper and Machado. Machado just wrapped his free-agent tour last week in Philadelphia, a string of visits he kicked off on the South Side. That visit to Citizens Bank Park was, let's say, eventful, with Machado confronted by a shouting construction worker who told him to "do the right thing" and sign with the Phillies. And remember that at one point the Phillies seemed so likely a landing spot for Harper that one national writer said "book it."

But this latest bit of info in a saga that's stretched on for months and seems to feature new twists and turns every day could be good news for the White Sox.

Skeptical fans might roll their eyes at that notion, especially considering Machado's reported preference for the New York Yankees (mentioned by Sherman in that sentence above) and the blockbuster trade pulled off by the Los Angeles Dodgers that seemingly cleared room for a run at Harper. But Sherman points out that the Yankees and Dodgers might not be willing to offer up the kind of record-breaking contract it was expected would be necessary to land either of these guys. The White Sox and Phillies both have the financial flexibility to offer such contracts. So if neither necessarily likes the idea of signing up to spend a decade in the City of Brotherly Love, perhaps the South Side ends up the best option.

Sherman illustrates the option, too, of playing in New York or Los Angeles on a shorter deal and then cashing in on another round of free agency a few years down the road.

There's always the possibility of agents and teams steering the conversation, too. What better way to get teams to up their offers if they think the Phillies are out of the running?

The White Sox, meanwhile, have confidence in their pitch to these two 26-year-old superstars, that playing alongside Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease and Luis Robert for the better part of the next decade is as attractive as anything else. That and the aforementioned financial flexibility figure to make for a situation worth considering, even if other teams can offer immediate contenders.

There's still no finality to this in sight, and Machado's decision will reportedly wait until after the calendar turns to 2019. It would make sense that Harper's wouldn't come until then, too.

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What will Steve Cishek's role be with White Sox? 'Get three outs, any inning'

What will Steve Cishek's role be with White Sox? 'Get three outs, any inning'

It's safe to say the White Sox wanted to add Steve Cishek to their bullpen.

"According to my agent, within five minutes after the World Series, the White Sox called and expressed some interest," Cishek said Wednesday. "So when you get a call that soon, you know the team is up to something. Then of course with what they did this offseason, it made signing here very intriguing."

So what will Cishek's role be at the back end of that bullpen? For the newest member of the South Side relief corps, it's really not that difficult.

"I would assume it would be the same as it was with the Cubs," he said. "Get three outs, any inning."

Cishek is aboard to bolster that back end, one that heads into 2020 with some concrete names but some mystery, as well. Alex Colome will be the team's closer after racking up 126 saves over the past four seasons, and Aaron Bummer figures to be a frequent presence in the eighth inning of games after posting a 2.13 ERA last season.

Cishek was extraordinarily reliable for Joe Maddon and the Cubs in his two seasons on the North Side, with a 2.55 ERA in a whopping 150 appearances, many of them coming in high-leverage situations.

While Evan Marshall and Jimmy Cordero will start the season as options for Rick Renteria in high-leverage situations, too, that pair doesn't have quite the track record of Cishek. With Rick Hahn quick to remind about the volatility of relief pitching from one year to the next, adding a dependable arm in Cishek is an important complement to what the White Sox already had in the 'pen.

"I am fortunate enough now that we have guys that have all been at the back end of a ballgame and have had success in that particular role," Renteria said Wednesday. "I've got flexibility now and strength and hopefully having guys being able to take advantage of high-leverage situations. I use a guy two, three, four days (in a row), it's nice to have another guy I can probably slot in there to be able to do things like that. I have a little bit more flexibility right now."

Cishek's contributions on the pitcher's mound will obviously be of great import, but like every other veteran addition the White Sox have made this winter, he's also expected to do plenty in the clubhouse. While the Cubs teams he was a part of played in just one postseason game the past two seasons, he's no stranger to dealing with big expectations. The White Sox have those now after years of rebuilding, and Cishek should be able to help guide the players new to such an environment.

"With expectations, as long as we stay together as a team we can accomplish a lot," Cishek said. "A lot of the guys we've brought in have been through the fire. As a matter of fact, most of the guys have played in the playoffs the last four or five seasons even. So they have the playoff experience. They know what it takes to win and get to that level, and I think that's going to bode well for these young guys to see how they work, how us older veteran guys get after it and hopefully follow suit.

"I think we can teach these guys how to win."

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White Sox Talk Podcast: The person making the boldest White Sox predictions

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: The person making the boldest White Sox predictions

Chuck Garfien is joined by the man who predicted a White Sox division title for the 2020 season before the Sox made any moves, Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. Castrovince also discusses his other bold White Sox predictions and why he's making them.

(2:48) - Why Castrovince selected the Sox to win the AL central

(7:03) - Why Castrovine selected Rick Renteria as AL Manager of the Year

(9:56) - Yoan Moncada will challenge Mike Trout for AL MVP

(12:43) - Will Luis Robert win Rookie of the Year

(13:54) - Why the Padres missed and the White Sox won last winter on Manny Machado

(18:57) - Was the Astro punishment enough?

(23:30) - For the love of Bruce Springsteen

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: