credit for featured picture: @SoxOn35th, @b_son4
As the General Managers meetings conclude in Carlsbad, California, rumors are swirling around the Windy City that the Cubs may not be the only team with an increased payroll come spring training. Jon Paul Morosi, Ken Rosenthal, and Jon Heyman all have linked the White Sox to various free agents including Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, J.A. Happ, Patrick Corbin, and Nelson Cruz, along with many smaller reports linking the White Sox to closer Jeurys Familia.
Now it is very early in the offseason, let me remind you. But quotes from Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn captured by the Athletic’s James Fegan have said that having all of this payroll flexibility was no coincidence, and that they have all of this available money for a reason. I’m not saying that we’ll sign these players, but it’s encouraging when both of your head front office executives are speaking about being aggressive with a wide open payroll. I’m not saying, I’m just saying. Now of course, these guys have to want to sign with the White Sox. and we’ll have to see just how effective Jerry Reinsdorf, Kenny Williams, and Rick Hahn’s advertising to free agents really is.
The big thing that got White Sox twitter buzzing this morning was a picture of an electronic banner at the United Center (venue for the Jerry Reinsdorf owned Chicago Bulls) featuring Bryce Harper’s name next to the White Sox logo and the number 34, which happens to be Bryce’s jersey number. The tweet has since been deleted, but was screenshotted and still captured on the social media, and has been a talking point for White Sox fans all morning, and is pictured below. You interpret the message.
White Sox fan-page “Sox on 35th” has a graphic designer who features great work for many Chicago teams named Brandon Anderson. (I feature his work in the cover picture) And to ensure this pictures validity, he stated that he ran this picture through photoshop filters and confirmed that this tweet is 100% genuine. (You can follow him @b_son4 on twitter)
This may be a product of the new sports network that the Bulls, White Sox and Blackhawks will be a part of in the near future and could be put into the pitch for Bryce and his representatives. It seems that the White Sox are actually putting together a real and bonafide sales pitch to not just Bryce Harper and his brand, but maybe other free agents as well. I personally am still not going to get my hopes up too high, because so much can happen with star free agents, especially one that is represented by super-agent Scott Boras, which Harper is. I will say however, that the White Sox do have a young, talented core of players, play in a major city in the nation, a great farm system, payroll space enough for all of King Midas’s silver, and will soon have a brand new platform to launch Harper and his brand that he maybe didn’t have before and that other organizations won’t have in the near future. Along with promoting his brand, he could now have cross promotional opportunities across the hockey and basketball markets for his brand with the Bulls and Blackhawks in this hopeful new and shiny sports network compromised of the three major sports teams in a major city.
Not to make this more and more promising, but major spenders like the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, and Red Sox are all seemingly staying out of the Bryce Harper market due to various reasons ranging from having other positions of need to having a restricted payroll situation. This leaves the Phillies, White Sox, Giants, and Nationals as the four biggest possible players for Bryce’s services. I have to say, Chicago is the most attractive of all 4 cities but hey, I’m biased.
Bryce Harper would just be the start of the solution, we need more than just Mr. Harper. Time will tell, we must be patient. Pray to whatever deity you believe in that Rick Hahn has a good pitch, and Jerry Reinsdorf is ready to spend some serious cash.
Above all else always remember, Go White Sox.