White Sox

Manny Machado is reportedly on the market, but here's why a trade makes no sense for the White Sox

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USA TODAY

Manny Machado is reportedly on the market, but here's why a trade makes no sense for the White Sox

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Baltimore Orioles are reportedly shopping Manny Machado.

Commence freakout.

Baseball Twitter exploded Tuesday after The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Orioles are not just listening to offers for their star third baseman but actively offering him up to other teams.

Machado, of course, has long been desired by the White Sox fan base. A member of the outrageous 2019 free-agent class, Machado’s pending free agency and the lack of a highly touted stud prospect at third base has had rebuild-centric fans eyeing Machado as the free-agent piece that will propel the White Sox into contention. And obviously the idea of Machado playing alongside the likes of Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez and others is extremely alluring.

But while teams are apparently lining up here at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort to get a one-year crack at Machado, the idea of the South Siders making a trade simply makes no sense.

For one, the cost figures to be immense, with the Orioles surely hoping to get a haul of prospects back for a guy who’s been one of the game’s top hitters over the past several seasons. Do the White Sox have that minor league talent? Well, yeah, of course they do. But would they be willing to give up so much after only just accumulating all that talent? No. Why would they?

A trade for Machado — and only one guaranteed year of Machado, for that matter — would puncture holes in Rick Hahn’s carefully laid rebuilding plans.

Machado likely would rather test the free-agency waters than simply sign an extension with whichever team the Orioles would agree to a deal with. That way, he’s likely to get a far bigger contract — and you better believe that contract will be a really, really big one. The White Sox haven’t made a habit of handing out gigantic, lengthy deals. Machado could be the type of special player to change that strategy, but why take that risk before knowing how the rebuild will play out?

The common thinking is that the White Sox will be ready to compete come 2020, and it’s a good bet Machado knows that the team is set up for long-term success. But how can the White Sox know what the fruits of their rebuilding efforts will be by the end of next season? Why would they dedicate so many resources to one player when they don’t know what their needs will be? Even if every one of the highly rated prospects pans out, there will still be holes to plug, holes that might be unpluggable if the resources are spent on one contract.

Rosenthal’s report also included the nugget that Machado is hoping to move back to shortstop, the position he wants to play moving forward. While adding a player the caliber of Machado would obviously mean a team would make room for him, the White Sox are high on their own shortstop of the future, Tim Anderson.

But the bottom line in all of this is that a trade for Machado this week or this winter gets you one thing: Machado for the 2018 season, a season in which the White Sox are not expected to compete for a championship. Next winter, there will be more Twitter buzz about bringing Machado to the South Side, but that at least would only cost the White Sox money. Dealing away any one of the impressive group of prospects for one season of Machado is simply illogical.

Avisail Garcia, slated for offseason knee surgery, has been playing hurt since Opening Day

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USA TODAY

Avisail Garcia, slated for offseason knee surgery, has been playing hurt since Opening Day

While some players' seasons have been open for interpretation, it's been an undeniably disappointing one for Avisail Garcia.

Turns out there's a good reason for the big change in his production from 2017 to 2018.

Garcia's battles with injuries this year have been no secret, but the White Sox outfielder revealed Tuesday that it's literally been going on all season long. He said that he felt something in his knee on Opening Day and that he's played hurt throughout the entire season. He also reported that he'll have arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 2, two days after the end of the season.

"Opening Day, I feel something in my knee," he said. "I had been feeling something, something, something and then I started feeling my hammy because I think I was favoring it. Especially because it’s my right knee, and that’s where all my power is. It’s crazy, but it is what it is.

"It’s sore. Every time I go home, it’s a little swollen. But I’m going to fix it soon. It’s been a crazy year, not for me, but for the whole team. Thank god we are alive and we are here. We have a chance. Let’s see what happens next year."

Garcia did make two trips to the disabled list this season, both due to an injured hamstring, which he said stemmed from the hurting knee. He played in 88 of the team's first 154 games, with six remaining on the schedule heading into Tuesday night's contest with the visiting Cleveland Indians.

Entering 2018, Garcia had the tall task of repeating his breakout campaign from a season before, when he made his first career All-Star appearance and posted some of the best offensive numbers in the American League with a .330 batting average and a .380 on-base percentage. During this injury-filled season, those numbers plummeted to .238 and .278.

"It’s been difficult. Difficult year," he said. "Nothing that I can do. I’ve been playing like this the whole season. Just gotta play and get after it, so it is what it is. I can’t control that. I can control what I do on the field.

"(The knee injury has) always been there. Everybody knows it’s hard when you get injury and then sit down and then go play and then sit down again. It’s hard to be consistent like that. This game is difficult so you have to be out there every day so you get to used to it and it’s hard to play like this. But it is what it is. It’s not an excuse. Everybody knows that. I’ve been playing like this so I’m trying to do my best."

Obviously, it's tough to judge Garcia's follow up to his All-Star season knowing how much his knee bothered him. But it still leaves unanswered the question of what his place is in the organization's long-term plans. He's under team control for one more season. The White Sox have the flexibility to do one of many things this offseason: keep him for one more season, try to trade him this offseason, hold on to him and try to trade him to a contending club next summer or extend him and keep him in the mix for when rebuilding mode transitions to contention mode. Garcia is just 27 years old.

Garcia said he'll be "100-percent" ready for spring training next year, and should his health be back to normal, his prove-it campaign that was supposed to come in 2018 could come in 2019. But there's also a wave of outfield prospects making its way toward the South Side that includes Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Micker Adolfo and plenty of others. So no matter what statistics Garcia might be shooting for, the pressure will be on to show he's a safer bet than all that young talent.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Daniel Palka on Palkamania and his breakout season

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Daniel Palka on Palkamania and his breakout season

Chuck Garfien speaks with White Sox outfielder Daniel Palka who as a 26-year-old rookie has come out of nowhere to become one of the White Sox most popular players in 2018.  They talk about the time Palka gave a pitcher a black eye in Little League, how he used to be a relief pitcher at Georgia Tech,  why the Twins gave him up on him, the time when Chuck called Palka’s walkoff homer this year, his friendship with Kyle Schwarber and more.   

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