CHICAGO – The Padres are in.
The Dodgers are out.
The Phillies and their “stupid money” are still in.
The Astros are out.
The Yankees are in, and out.
The White Sox are in, still pacing in the waiting room.
There were plenty of headlines on the Manny Machado/Bryce Harper free-agent front as SoxFest ran over the weekend at the Hilton Chicago, but once again, little actual news.
The Sox have made an offer to Machado, but reports have been mixed on the length and terms. Is it seven years for $175 million, which Machado’s agent Dan Lozano blasted as “inaccurate and reckless?”
Is it eight years for $250 million?
Are there opt-outs in the Sox’s bid to Machado?
As the end of January approaches and spring training opens in mid-February, much remains unknown.
“It would be disappointing if we’re not able to acquire [Machado], but then it’s one of those things where you’ve got to move on,” Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “I think that the guys that we have, we’re very happy. But I think anybody who’s been seeking to try to get this kid on the roster will be disappointed if they don’t get him.”
If Machado’s price tag is $300 million plus, I’ve been told the Sox are out, although general manager Rick Hahn is determined to change the perception that the club won’t shell out big money.
If the All-Star infielder is possibly inclined to take less and play on a rising young team that also includes brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and close friend Jon Jay, the wait will have been worth it for the Sox.
“Based on the way the markets have behaved in recent years, not entirely,” general manager Rick Hahn said when asked if he’s surprised Machado and Harper still haven’t signed. “There certainly have been junctures over the course of the last several months where things seemed to be picking up, only to suddenly slow down.
“If we wind up converting on one of these guys and they win a walk-off for us on July 20, I don’t think anyone in the ballpark would be like, ‘Man, I would’ve enjoyed that more if they’d signed in December as opposed to March.’ But again, it’s binary for me. Either we get the guy or not.”
Tracking Cease: In 2018, Dylan Cease opened the season with high Single-A Winston-Salem and was promoted to Double-A Birmingham in late June.
The top pitching prospect was even better at the higher level, going 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA. Cease also had 78 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings and a minuscule 0.99 WHIP.
More than once at SoxFest, Hahn raved about Cease and said the 23-year-old righty was on the same path as Michael Kopech last year.
Kopech opened the season at Triple-A Charlotte and was mostly dominant before joining the Sox’s rotation Aug. 21.
After allowing only one run in 11 innings over his first three starts – two of them delayed by rain – Kopech hurt his elbow in the fourth outing. He had Tommy John surgery and is out until the 2020 season.
Cease, who had Tommy John surgery in high school, is confident he can pitch with success at any level.
“I’m ready to go wherever they put me,” Cease said. “I am ready to execute pitches wherever they put me.”
Like father, like son: After managing the Sox from 2004 to 2011 and lasting one season (2012) in the Marlins’ dugout, Ozzie Guillen is still trying to get back in the game.
Guillen was happy to be back at SoxFest over the weekend for the first time in eight years. He is open to joining the Sox’s staff in any role, and Hahn said Guillen should be managing again somewhere in the majors.
Regardless of what happens, Guillen was just happy to be back with his “family.”
He was also thrilled that his youngest son – 27-year-old Ozney – was hired to manage the Tri-City ValleyCats in the Astros’ minor-league system.
“I feel proud of him because he did it himself,” Ozzie said. “He didn’t use his last name. I think his last name was ‘Close Some Doors.’ But I’m proud of him. He did it himself and he’s ready.”