GLENDALE, Ariz. — With the wounds still fresh from the White Sox losing out in the Manny Machado sweepstakes, how about we begin with some healing words from Indians general manager Chris Antonetti about future White Sox superstar Eloy Jimenez:
“Can he go to San Diego, too? How about Cleveland? Would that work?” Antonetti told NBC Sports Chicago. “(Jimenez) is a really, really good player. It’s been fun to see him develop. Right now, I’ve really enjoyed watching his development in the minor leagues. I’m not sure how much I’ll like to see that development in the major leagues.”
Jimenez looks like he’s going to be the total package — both on and off the field. His talent, personality, charisma and desire to be one of the best players in the game give him the necessary intangibles to eventually become the face of the White Sox franchise now that Machado is headed to San Diego.
How great of a player does Jimenez want to become?
“Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Adam Jones, superstars. That is my dream,” Jimenez said on the White Sox Talk Podcast soon after the White Sox acquired him from the Cubs in 2017.
Jimenez talks a big game. He continues to back it up with his play. Last season in 55 games at Triple-A Charlotte, he hit .355/.399/.597.
Having Jimenez in the same lineup as Machado certainly would have been a huge boost for the rebuild, but as an executive in the White Sox division, Antonetti is acutely aware of what the White Sox already have without Machado.
“I think the White Sox are very well positioned with some of the extraordinary trades that they have made and the players they have brought into the organization and the way that they have complemented them with some experienced veteran guys,” Antonetti said. “They have a compelling story to tell about why they’ll be in contention this year.”
That’s certainly the plan inside the White Sox clubhouse, despite not having Machado as a teammate. All the players I’ve spoken to in the last few months openly wanted the White Sox to sign him. Who wouldn’t? But now that he isn’t coming and this tedious negotiation process is in the past, are they glad it’s finally over?
“F**k yeah. S**t, maybe you’ll stop asking me this,” said Tim Anderson when I asked what is hopefully my very last Machado question.
Anderson added, “We’re going to be South Side regardless. Nobody’s decisions determines what we’ve got going on in this locker room. I feel like we have a great group of guys here. We’re going to do something special. The White Sox are moving in the right direction. One decision doesn’t dictate our season.”
While many White Sox fans are feeling the gloom and doom of missing out on Machado, the mood inside the White Sox clubhouse on Tuesday had the usual pep of spring training.
Yolmer Sanchez was blasting Latin music on his massive boom box. He wildly danced on a chair behind Anderson as the White Sox shortstop met the media.
Basically, your typical day at Camelback Ranch.
“I always say I wish the best for (Machado) to get the best deal. $300 million is a lot of money. I’m really happy for him. As a baseball player, that’s the goal,” Sanchez said about Machado’s reported deal with the Padres. “I hope he enjoys playing in San Diego. If we play against him, we’re going to beat him.”
As for Rick Hahn, he’s feeling the lumps of a general manager who lost out on Machado. He and Antonetti have been close friends and competitors for years. It’s a relationship that goes back to the late 1990s.
“I’m guessing, knowing how competitive Rick is, he’s probably not happy at the moment,” Antonetti said about Hahn. “He may have gotten a few more gray hairs.”
If it wasn’t for the $300 million guaranteed offer by the Padres, Machado would have likely been on his way to Glendale to join the White Sox. Instead, he’s headed down the road to the Padres' spring training site in nearby Peoria. For the White Sox, he might as well be in Alaska now. They’re moving on.
“You either ride with us or you get run over. We’re going to keep rolling,” Anderson said. “We can care less about who’s on the boat with us. We know who’s on the boat with us. We know which way we want to sail, so we’re going to get there.”Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.