White Sox

Or maybe not: New report says White Sox won't go over seven years with Bryce Harper, Manny Machado

1221_bryce_harper_manny_machado.jpg
USA TODAY

Or maybe not: New report says White Sox won't go over seven years with Bryce Harper, Manny Machado

Some new info trickled out on the Bryce Harper front Wednesday, with ESPN's Jeff Passan writing that the White Sox are willing to guarantee a 10-year deal to the biggest name on the free-agent market.

Or maybe not.

Hours later, The Score's Bruce Levine followed that up with a report of his own, one saying the White Sox won't go past seven years with either Harper or fellow mega free agent Manny Machado.

This ping-ponging might have the initial smack of negotiating through the media, but there's reasons to believe either could be true.

After all, the financially flexible White Sox have the ability to offer a gargantuan contract like a 10-year deal. And with challenges on either or both the Harper and Machado fronts from the 100-win New York Yankees, NL-champion Los Angeles Dodgers and "spend stupid" Philadelphia Phillies, their ability to potentially offer more than any other team — they currently have almost no long-term financial commitments to speak of — could give them an edge. Heck, it might be the only way to get an edge.

But the White Sox also don't need either of these guys for 2019, or really at all. While a swath of the fan base has declared that the offseason will be a failure if neither Harper nor Machado come to the South Side, the White Sox rebuilding plans will not at all be negatively impacted should these guys go elsewhere. Eloy Jimenez could end up providing a similar kind of impact addition. Same goes for Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease and Luis Robert. And then there's next winter's absolutely loaded free-agent class, which the closer-to-contending White Sox could take better advantage of — and still with all this financial flexibility to put to use.

The lack of a real need of these specific players could very well convince the White Sox to not hand out some kind of record-breaking decade-long deal.

Then there's the timing factor, with Jimenez under team control for seven seasons once he hits the big leagues in April. Why spend a ridiculous sum on three more years of Harper or Machado if those teams, potentially without Jimenez, Kopech or whichever other young players, aren't at the same level of contention as the ones over the next seven seasons?

There's a lot of factors here, and so it is easy to see why either of these possibilities could be true. And then there's that idea of negotiating through the media, or simply conflicting parties presenting differing information to different reporters. Remember during the Winter Meetings when in the span of just a few hours we heard the White Sox didn't see themselves as favorites in the Harper and Machado derbies and also that they were the front runners for Harper?

The point being, things change quickly this time of year, if not in reality at least for those of us not sitting at the negotiating table. Stay tuned.

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.

A deeper look at why Yoan Moncada is off to a hot start this season

moncada-419.jpg
USA TODAY

A deeper look at why Yoan Moncada is off to a hot start this season

Yoan Moncada continued his hot start to the season with a leadoff home run in Detroit on Friday.

He finished with two hits and a bases-loaded walk in a 7-3 White Sox win.

Moncada’s base numbers are all up this season. He is hitting .325 with a 1.002 OPS and a team-leading six home runs. Beyond that, a deeper look at the numbers show why Moncada’s production is up.

Moncada didn’t show much, if any, improvement in 2018 from 2017. Most of his numbers across the board were similar or slightly worse.

Moncada was patient at the plate, but maybe too patient in his first two seasons with the White Sox. He led the majors with 217 strikeouts last season and 85 of those were strikeouts looking. So far this season, Moncada is yet to strikeout looking.

This season, Moncada is swinging at more pitches both in the strike zone and overall, which is leading to a lower strikeout rate. A look at the advanced stats from FanGraphs shows Moncada swung at 63.9 percent of pitches in the zone in both 2017 and 2018 (these numbers are before Friday's game). That number is up to 69.1 percent this season. On top of that, Moncada is making more contact on those swings on pitches in the zone (up to 86.5 percent this season after 77.5 percent in 2017 and 79.8 percent in 2018).

His strikeout rate (32 percent in 2017, 33.4 percent in 2018) is way down at 24.1 percent. Strikeouts were the biggest red flag for Moncada last year. By being more aggressive this season, Moncada has been able to cut way down on that number.

His power has gone way up as well. He already has 12 extra base hits (in 82 plate appearances) and his home run on Friday was an absolute bomb. Moncada took it deep for 458 feet. That’s the longest White Sox home run of the season and is tied for the eighth longest home run in the majors this season.


He later showed that despite being more aggressive, he still has that plate discipline that was such a big part of what made him a coveted prospect in the first place. He drew a five-pitch bases loaded walk in which he did not swing the bat.

No matter how it's happening, Moncada’s turnaround has been one of the most important things in the young White Sox season.

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.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk Harrelson proud of Jason Benetti for "jumping all over Joe West's ass"

hawk-harrelson-0513.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk Harrelson proud of Jason Benetti for "jumping all over Joe West's ass"

Chuck Garfien speaks with Hawk Harrelson about Tim Anderson's bat flip and Joe West kicking Anderson out of the game (3:40), Anderson taking his game to a new level (08:50), the passing of legendary sportscaster Chet Coppock (14:30), Hawk praises Jason Benetti for criticizing Joe West on the air (17:35), how Harrelson is adapting to not calling baseball games (19:50), why he teared up watching Tiger Woods win the Masters (23:40) and more.

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

White Sox Talk Podcast

Subscribe: