White Sox

Kenny Williams addresses Manny Machado's reported $300 million deal with Padres: 'We could not go to that level'

Kenny Williams addresses Manny Machado's reported $300 million deal with Padres: 'We could not go to that level'

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox sound as if they were somewhat blindsided by Manny Machado's reported decade-long deal with the San Diego Padres.

Speaking to reporters shortly after news of Machado's agreement with the Padres came out, White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams talked with reporters at Camelback Ranch and expressed a feeling of shock.

"I’m wearing my shades so that you guys don’t see the shock in my eyes," Williams said. "It is disappointing. I’d be lying to you if I said anything other than that.

"But Jerry (Reinsdorf, team chairman) really stepped up and stepped up in a fashion that is unprecedented. We all in that clubhouse talked about it this morning. We felt like we actually were potentially could close a deal today with him. We thought we were the high offer on the table, and we still feel — if the reports are accurate — we still feel that there was more potential for him to make more here then that reported deal."

The Padres' reported deal with Machado is worth $300 million over 10 years. How he might have made more than that, if those are the reports Williams was referencing, is a tad unclear, considering Williams said the White Sox weren't willing to go to $300 million. But he said he believed they had made the best offer.

"San Diego stepped up to that level," he said. "That level wasn't feasible to us because we still have to project putting together a total winning roster and keeping the young players that will ultimately earn into greater dollars themselves, so when you look at the big picture without having to sacrifice some of them, we could not go to that level."

Of course, what that brings up immediately is where the White Sox stand with Bryce Harper, the other mega free agent on the market who they have pursued this offseason. If they weren't willing to spend $300 million on Machado, would they be willing to spend that — and most likely more — on Harper?

General manager Rick Hahn has talked about hoping to dispel of the notion that the White Sox won't spend big dollars to acquire one of the game's best players, but they do appear to have their limit.

Of course, Williams' point about maintaining financial flexibility is a good one. Just look to the other side of town to see a Cubs team that is barreling toward a scenario in which their homegrown core becomes too expensive to keep together. The White Sox are still developing their core, but it could be bigger and richer than the one on the North Side, featuring young pitchers like Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease and young position players like Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal. Those guys could all demand big contracts down the road, and the White Sox would be wise to be able to keep that group together. A contract like the one Machado got from the Padres would have made that much more difficult, if not impossible.

The White Sox had much the same to offer as the Padres did: a bright future, a loaded farm system, the potential to play for a perennial contender for the next decade. But the Padres had $300 million.

"You've got to give it to them," Williams said. "They are in a similar trajectory as we are. And for the same reasons we were after him, they were after him. Their ownership group did a great job in trumping everyone else."

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White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

Chuck Garfien and Steve Stone take a look back at Mark Buehrle's perfect game. How did Buehrle do it? How did Dewayne Wise make that catch?

Plus, Buehrle and A.J. Pierzynski talk about how Buehrle actually told Pierzynski before taking that field that day that he would throw a perfect game and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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Yoan Moncada cleans up for White Sox: 'I think we found our No. 4 hitter'

Yoan Moncada cleans up for White Sox: 'I think we found our No. 4 hitter'

Though Jose Abreu and James McCann represented the team at the All-Star Game earlier this month, Yoan Moncada holds the title of the White Sox best hitter through the first 97 games of the 2019 season.

The guy who struck out 217 times during his first full season in the majors last year has been a completely different hitter this time around. Instead of looking lost at the plate, he’s the guy White Sox fans want to see at the plate in run-producing situations. He hasn’t spent much time in one of those traditional run-producing spots in the batting order, but manager Rick Renteria inserted Moncada into the cleanup spot Monday night.

And Moncada cleaned up, all right.

“I think we found our No. 4 hitter,” starting pitcher Ivan Nova said after he went the distance in a 9-1 waxing of the Miami Marlins. “A lot of times you get surprised. While he was hitting second, you're thinking and knowing, the type of hitter that he is — you're only thinking as a player, they have another way to think. But today, I think it was first time hit in fourth, and he showed.”

Moncada went 2-for-4 with the game’s biggest blow, a three-run homer in the fifth inning that blew things wide open. He drove in four runs on the night, and he flashed a potential glimpse of the future of this future-focused franchise.

Combining with Abreu, who went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and three runs scored, Moncada showed what the middle of the order might look like for this team when rebuilding finally transitions to contending. That could come as soon as next year, and when you throw the currently injured Eloy Jimenez into that group, the White Sox could boast a fearsome 3-4-5 as soon as later this season.

“If someone is happy that we finally found a cleanup hitter, it’s me,” Abreu said through team interpreter Billy Russo. “Nothing that he does surprises me because I know all the talent he has. I know that he still can do more. He has been working hard. He’s a great baseball player with a lot of talent and I still think he can do more.

“What he did today is not a surprise for me. I still know he’s a great player and I think we’ve seen that throughout the whole season this year. He’s going to get better.”

Moncada has been sensational all season long, proving why the White Sox weren’t at all worried during his struggles in 2018. He owns a .304/.362/.530 slash line through these first 97 games, and his three-run blast Monday night gave him a new career high in that category after he smacked 17 a year ago. He’s six RBIs away from setting a new career high there, too. And even though he made a fielding error Monday that only briefly delayed Nova finishing off his complete-game effort, Moncada has been generally excellent at third base in his first season at that position as a big leaguer.

But putting Moncada in a run-producing spot in the order is a new wrinkle for Renteria this season. Coming into Monday’s game, Moncada had spent 63 games as the team’s No. 2 hitter and just 26 everywhere else. According to the skipper, Moncada is good enough to hit anywhere, and that’s certainly true. His eventual everyday spot in the lineup might have more to do with the hitters around him than simply what he can do by himself.

But if Moncada keeps up the kind of offensive production he’s churned out this season, maybe sticking him right in the thick of the order is what's best for the White Sox — even if those lineups of the future include big bats like those swung by Abreu, Jimenez, Luis Robert and Andrew Vaughn.

“For me, it's an advantage to hit in the cleanup spot having (Abreu) ahead of me,” Moncada said through Russo. “That way, you can see how the pitchers are attacking him, and you have a better idea, in those situations when you need to produce, how the pitchers are doing it. Even though he's a right-handed hitter and I hit from both sides of the plate, it's good. It's something that gives you a better idea of how the pitchers are doing, how their pitches are working.”

“He had a nice game,” Renteria said. “He can hit anywhere in the middle and the top of the order. I wish I could say I'm really a genius, but I'm not. He's got that talent. He's able to take advantage of it and today he had a nice day. He made everybody look good.”

It would make sense to see Moncada batting fourth again as this first homestand of the second half and the 2019 season roll on, but that’s up to Renteria, who has his reasons for every permutation to his lineups.

Of course, if Abreu gets ahold of Renteria's lineup card and starts writing out the batting orders, we’ll know where Moncada will be slotted.

“If I would have that decision,” Abreu said, “I would put him in the cleanup spot for the rest of the season.”

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