White Sox

Rick Hahn understands White Sox fans' anger over Manny Machado outcome, promises 'the money will be spent'

Rick Hahn understands White Sox fans' anger over Manny Machado outcome, promises 'the money will be spent'

GLENDALE, Ariz. — During SoxFest, Rick Hahn was asked about the preconceived notion surrounding the White Sox that this team will not spend the money necessary to land one of the biggest free agents in the game.

Weeks later, with Manny Machado opting to sign with the San Diego Padres for 300 million guaranteed dollars, as opposed to the 250 million guaranteed dollars the White Sox reportedly offered the 26-year-old superstar, what Hahn called in January a "false narrative" has become, in the minds of many South Side baseball fans, impossible to disprove.

Allowing a day to pass has not calmed White Sox Twitter, and the social-media complaints from White Sox fans have continued more than 24 hours after their favorite team failed to win the derby that's captivated their attention for months. At times, their ire has been directed at Machado — Tim Anderson became that segment of the fan base's hero Wednesday, when he said Machado might have missed the boat — but much of the anger has been directed at the front office and ownership.

"Why not guarantee another $50 million?" they've begged, before jumping to their own conclusions that the White Sox will never be able to land a top-of-the-line free agent.

Hahn spoke for a second time Tuesday during Cactus League media day in downtown Glendale and recognized, even shared in, some of that frustration. But his most relevant message was a promise that the financial flexibility created by the ongoing rebuilding process will not go to waste.

"I get that sentiment. I understand that sentiment," he said when asked about fans' desire for the team to spend more aggressively. "What you try to do in these situations, I believe, is try to balance out the risk and the reward in all these things. These long-term contracts are obviously complicated. ... So it does come down, sometimes, to more than just throw more money on top of it in terms of a guarantee, which is probably the only area someone can argue, 'Hey you should have been more aggressive in this situation.'

"At the end of the day, we made what we felt was not only a very aggressive offer, a very compelling offer and one that helped balance and represent the risk and the upside for both sides. Didn’t work, which is obviously disappointing. But it does not change the fact that we are going to once again be in this market when the time is right and hopefully, at that time, convert.

"The money will be spent. It might not be spent this offseason, but it will be spent at some point. This isn’t money sitting around waiting to just accumulate interest. It’s money trying to be deployed to put us in best position to win some championships."

Attacks that the White Sox were being "cheap" in their pursuit of Machado are simply wrong. If reports are accurate, they committed to paying Machado $350 million over the course of 10 years. Now, there are obvious differences in the offers reportedly made by the Padres and White Sox, and if Machado shows up to Padres camp in Peoria, Arizona, in the coming days and breaks his leg, he'll be $50 million richer than he would've been had he signed with the White Sox. But is also important to note that the White Sox reported offer allowed Machado to bet on himself and potentially earn $50 million more than he is set to make in San Diego over the course of the next decade.

The biggest takeaway from this whole situation is that the White Sox rebuilding plans are not negatively affected one iota by Machado's decision. Machado heading to San Diego does nothing to decrease Eloy Jimenez' power or make Michael Kopech's recovery from Tommy John surgery more difficult or take a mile per hour or two off Dylan Cease's fastball. The core is still coming, still looks capable of forming a perennial championship contender, and Machado's decision was never going to change that.

Additionally, Machado's decision is only that: his decision. There's another loaded free-agent class coming next offseason, and those players will all have their own decision-making processes, their own desires in terms of contracts and bets on themselves and a desire to win and align themselves with a team like the White Sox, who will undoubtedly be involved and likely as aggressive, if not more so, than they were this offseason. Maybe Nolan Arenado feels differently. Maybe J.D. Martinez or Anthony Rendon feel differently. Maybe Justin Verlander or Madison Bumgarner want to be the South Side version of Jon Lester. It also figures to be an easier job to sell the White Sox another year down the line, when players from around the league can see what it would be like to play alongside Jimenez and Cease, when there's a clearer picture of what this team will look like in contention mode.

And barring a surprise splurge on Bryce Harper — they're reportedly out on the biggest name on the free-agent market — they'll have the same financial flexibility to add this caliber of player. Machado wasn't the only opportunity to make that kind of addition. There will be others, and soon.

"A year from now, we will be in a better position to know more about our own guys and know more about what’s available and where specific needs may lie and what specific needs we may have addressed. When we have that knowledge, that’s where this money is going to go," Hahn said. "It’s going to serve us well in the long term to have this economic flexibility and this economic might to make ourselves better.

"We saw an opportunity now to potentially fit in for the long term. Didn't work, but does not change the fact we are going to take advantage of those opportunities again when they arise in the coming years."

None of that, of course, is likely to soothe the tempers of fans still reacting to this free-agent defeat. And none of it has to. Fans are allowed to be mad, and they'll likely carry the idea that the White Sox won't spend until they're proven wrong.

And Hahn recognizes that. He said as much back at SoxFest.

"If for whatever reason we fail to convert this time around, perhaps that narrative will exist for another year," he said, "but we look forward to proving that one false like we have the others."

Unfortunately, that remains an item on the to-do list.

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Mayor Lightfoot shows her White Sox fandom in video encouraging social distancing


Mayor Lightfoot shows her White Sox fandom in video encouraging social distancing

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is a White Sox fan. 

This information was revealed in a clever video her office released on Twitter Monday evening, encouraging residents to "stay at home, save lives." 

Lightfoot plays different characters in the video, like "The Analyst," where she discusses data, "The Baller," where she spends time in a kitchen making a basket in a hoop on a refrigerator, "The Voice of Reason," where she convinces people on the phone to stay home, and more.

But the truth of her sports fandom is revealed at the two-minute mark, when Lightfoot, as "The Fan," is wearing a White Sox jersey on a couch watching a game and declares, "Tell you what, if my White Sox win, you gotta stay home."

The video cuts to the final out of the 2005 World Series. Sox win. The Mayor cheers. Fandom confirmed. 

Mayor Lightfoot might be happy to know NBC Sports Chicago will re-air that deciding Game 4 as part of our "White Sox Classics" in June. 

At the end of the video, she made a call to action as "The Realist." 

"The truth is, 40,000 hospitalizations will break our healthcare system," Lightfoot said. "Stay home. Save lives." 

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White Sox 2005 Rewind: 'Pulling an El Duque' before 'pulling an El Duque' was a thing


White Sox 2005 Rewind: 'Pulling an El Duque' before 'pulling an El Duque' was a thing

Months before “pulling an El Duque” was a thing, Orlando Hernandez was getting out of bases-loaded jams all over the place.

Hernandez etched his name into White Sox history — and into that statue that’s sitting outside Guaranteed Rate Field — with his relief work in Game 3 of the ALDS, coming on in a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation and getting three straight outs to preserve a one-run lead.

But he had some practice earlier in the season.

In the White Sox 3-1 win over the Twins on April 19, Hernandez faced not one but two jams with the bases loaded and less than two outs. And he escaped both of them.

Hernandez was stellar the first time he faced the Twins in 2005, giving up just one run and striking out five hitters in seven innings. Next time out didn’t go so hot, as he gave up six runs, four of them earned, on eight hits and four walks against the Indians.

This one was somewhere in between. He gave up 10 hits but no runs, thanks to getting out of a pair of unenviable jams.

In the second inning, the Twins led off with a double and a single. A steal of second and a hit batter loaded the bases with just one out. But Hernandez followed with a strikeout of Michael Cuddyer, and after falling behind Nick Punto, 3-1, he induced an inning-ending pop out.

Four innings later, the Twins strung together three consecutive one-out singles. Bases loaded, one out yet again. But Hernandez got Punto to pop out once more, and Shannon Stewart flew out as Hernandez pitched his way out of another doomsday scenario.

Neither overshadowed what was to come, Hernandez’s legendary performance on the playoff stage. But it’s not like he didn’t have practice in similar situations.

Earlier in #SoxRewind, we saw Jon Garland show his talents as an escape artist. But in 2005, no one compared to El Duque in that category.

What else?

— The eephus! This was the first El Duque start on #SoxRewind, so the first time we got to see him unleash the eephus. It didn’t work against Jacque Jones in the sixth. Jones ripped it into center for a base hit. But it sure was fun to watch Hernandez float that thing up there.

— As relayed by Hawk Harrelson during the broadcast, Hernandez giving up 10 hits in a scoreless outing was the first time that had happened for a White Sox pitcher in more than 20 years.

— Shingo time was running out. Luis Vizcaino and Dustin Hermanson kept the Twins off the board in a three-run game in the seventh and eighth innings, but on for the save in the ninth, Shingo Takatsu experienced the kind of early season trouble that got him yanked from the closer’s role. After getting the first out of the inning, he let the Twins score a run on back-to-back hits. Ozzie Guillen didn’t let Takatsu hang around, pulling him in favor of Damaso Marte, who retired the two hitters he faced to lock down the win. Takatsu’s final save with the White Sox came in early May, and he was released on Aug. 1.

— Torii Hunter was a defensive whiz in center field for the Twins, winning nine consecutive Gold Gloves, including one in 2005. If you forgot just how skilled he was out there, you got to see a couple reasons why he’s got such an impressive trophy case in this game. He used his hose to nab Scott Podsednik trying to score on a Carl Everett fly ball in the first inning, a terrific throw that helped keep this game scoreless for five and a half innings. He made a great leaping catch at the wall to prevent the White Sox from growing their lead in the sixth.

— Joe Crede extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a pair of hits, including a go-ahead double in the fifth inning. Crede’s streak ended up lasting 14 games. He hit .408/.442/.653 with eight extra-base hits and eight RBIs during that stretch.

— Brad Radke ended up getting knocked around the first time he faced off against the White Sox in 2005, giving up five earned runs. But for the better part of that outing, he kept the South Side offense quiet. Same thing in this one, where he ended up giving up three runs on 11 hits. But he hung around for eight innings — a complete-game effort in a loss — and logged a quality start. Radke had a 4.73 ERA in 36 career starts against the White Sox.

Since you been gone

While #SoxRewind is extensive, it doesn’t include all 162 regular-season contests, meaning we’re going to be skipping over some games. So what’d we miss since last time?

April 14, 2005: Paul Konerko hit a three-run homer, but the White Sox couldn’t overcome the pair of crooked numbers the Indians hung on Hernandez and Neal Cotts. A four-run bottom of the first and a three-run bottom of the sixth added up to trouble. White Sox lose, 8-6, fall to 6-3.

April 15, 2005: Jon Garland was good, allowing just two runs in his seven innings against the Mariners. The bullpen faltered a bit trying to close things out in the ninth, but six White Sox runs — including homers by Jermaine Dye and Juan Uribe — were enough. White Sox win, 6-4, improve to 7-3.

April 16, 2005: Mark Buehrle was outstanding again, turning in one of the most impressive performances he ever had: a career-high 12 strikeouts and nine innings of one-run ball against the Mariners — in 99 minutes. He threw more pitches, 106, then the number of minutes played. Amazing. Adam Hoge waxed poetic on this one. White Sox win, 2-1, improve to 8-3.

April 17, 2005: A pair of first-inning homers by his old team wasn’t a good sign for Freddy Garcia, but the two singles that accounted for three runs in a busy fifth were what doomed his squad this day. White Sox lose, 5-4, drop to 8-4.

April 18, 2005: Everett hit a pair of home runs off Kyle Lohse, including a game-winning shot that broke a 3-all tie in the sixth. Everett’s power made up for an ugly fifth inning from Jose Contreras that featured runs scoring on a balk and a wild pitch. White Sox win 5-4, improve to 9-4.

Next up

#SoxRewind rolls on Tuesday, when you can catch the April 20, 2005, game against the Tigers, starting at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. Big days (and big flies) for both Crede and Jermaine Dye.

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