GLENDALE, Ariz. — Manny Machado is about to be a San Diego Padre. The White Sox are looking likely to start the 2019 season without a monster free-agent addition. And fans are not at all happy.
So what do the guys in the clubhouse have to say? Are they glad this whole thing has come to an end?
“F**k yeah,” Tim Anderson said Wednesday. “S**t, maybe y’all can stop asking me now.”
For months, these guys have been peppered with questions about Machado and the team’s ongoing pursuit of one of the two big names on this year’s free-agent market. They’ve answered them as you’d expect: Machado, his immense talent and his All-Star production would be welcome, but if he goes elsewhere, that’s fine, too.
If you’ve been on Twitter since Tuesday’s news broke, you know that’s hardly the same opinion as the White Sox faithful.
Anderson has been one of the more distinct voices in this whole thing, however, as it was potentially his job as the starting shortstop that might have been handed to Machado had the White Sox signed the 26-year-old superstar. He told Our Chuck Garfien at SoxFest that “shortstop is mine” and said that he’s worked too hard for fans to give his job away to someone else.
So it will come as little surprise that Anderson is happy to be done talking about Machado.
“I could (not) care less about (Bryce) Harper and Machado’s situation,” Anderson said. “I know where we’re headed. We have a great group of guys here.
“We’re going to be South Side regardless. Nobody’s decision determines what we’ve got going on in this locker room. I feel 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 won’t dictate our season.
“We’re going to keep rolling. Either ride with us or get run over. We know who’s on the boat with us and which way we want to sail.”
Yonder Alonso had a less fiery approach than Anderson, not a surprise considering Machado’s his brother-in-law and he’s happy for him.
But one of the newest White Sox echoed Anderson’s comments when it came to talking about the guys currently in the room, currently on this roster, and spoke about the big expectations that have been the theme of the early weeks of spring training.
“Inside this room, the 60-plus players, plus the coaching staff, the front office, it’s always been about the guys in here,” Alonso said. “It’s been about going out there and getting better every single day and taking care of one another. I think the media, at times, can maybe pull out a different take on things, but I know for us inside this room, we’re all one and we’re all together.
“You say (the talent is) coming, but I think it’s here. At some point here, enough is enough. We feel like right now is the time, and we feel like not only is it the time right now but it’s the time going forward in the stage where we’re at. I think we’re hitting that peak where you’re going to see a lot of guys here for a lot of years doing great things.”
The ability to focus on baseball, focus on the upcoming season, now that the unfinished business is, for better or worse, finished would seem to be a benefit to this group of players. As general manager Rick Hahn has said all along, no one player is going to define the rebuilding process. And so these players, a part of this process for varying amounts of time into the future, are ready to continue on the track they’ve been on this whole time.
And they’re probably happy to be done with these questions, right, Yonder?
“What do you think?” he said with a laugh.