1. The most recent juicy White Sox offseason rumor is that they took in a presentation by Yoenis Cespedes' agent that Jon Heyman says was "very impressive," and even contained a musical element. Hell, maybe the Sox aren't even remotely interested. Maybe they just wanted to take in the show.
After all, the Sox aren't listed among Heyman's expected top 14 offseason spenders, so they should keep that "league median or worse" payroll streak going. Heyman also says the Sox are looking for upgrades at third, shortstop, second and catcher, but that they probably won't upgrade at all those positions at once and will have go with some of their defense-first offensive zeroes at some of them.
They won't spend enough to patch all of these holes, but went ahead and purged their starting shortstop for $9 million to create another one anyway.
Southside Chi got the strongest 75-80 win season vibes right now.
2. Actual shortstop moves were made Wednesday night, as the Braves dealt Gold Glove winner Andrelton Simmons to the Angels, who promise to be aggressive this offseason as they try to capitalize on the prime of their generational superstar talent. In exchange, the Angels sent Erick Aybar, whose contract expires at the end of this season, and two prospects, including pitcher Sean Newcomb. If you think of the Braves as a list of valuable human commodities and not a MLB baseball team*, then they are doing very well.
*This is how Braves ownership currently thinks of their team.
Aybar will now be a good stopgap for a team that totally doesn't need one, or perhaps moved again (He wouldn't be half-bad in Chicago). Simmons I am more torn about, since he's definitely a long-term solution, but the last thing the Sox need to add is another offensive black hole. Yet now that Alexei is gone, and especially since Peak Alexei has been gone, they really could use someone who lifts the entire range of the infield. Given their lack of depth, sending off a prospect at Newcomb's caliber to absorb Simmons' contract would have been a non-starter.
3. Adding to the list of arguments of "Why would the White Sox carry out this ridiculous plan Bruce Levine is reporting?" is Grant Brisbee's piece on the state of their core, which touches on the problem with them selling that has been present since the first "should the Sox trade Chris Sale?" thinkpieces started.
The White Sox core has already realized a higher ceiling for repeatable performance than they can reasonably expect to return in a prospect haul. Even at fair value, the median results for all the prospects you would get for Chris Sale are below what he is now. It would therefore be a shorter path to success, Brisbee argues, to patch the holes in their roster through free agency.
Especially a free agency class that is expected to be stronger than what will be available for the next few years afterward. But instead the Sox are worried about not outpacing their revenues, lamenting the unremarkable spending they undertook last season, and spurning opportunity. This is not a major issue to me and I am definitely not mad about it.
4. Greg Sparks' new role as assistant hitting coach under Todd Steverson is reportedly a switch from their time together with the A's, where Sparks was the longer-tenured hitting instructor in the organization and was credited by Steverson for "taking him under his wing."
The crux of the matter is that the two of their have worked together before, are in sync with one another on the principles they want to emphasize, and the Sox aren't employing guys that cancel each other out or serve to create a cacophony. Sparks also, uh, seems to know what he's working with, if you catch my drift.
Sparks also referred to Steverson by the nickname "Trick," which is the part of this I am most likely to remember.
5. Colby Rasmus is reportedly accepting his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer, and will be the first player ever to do so in the three years they have been available. Rasmus is obviously betting on himself and hoping he'll shoot up the list of desireables in what should be a weaker market for outfielders next offseason, but he's also kind of a boom-or-bust type player who doesn't make much contact, just had a career-high in home runs and is a bad BABIP year away from posting a sub-.300 OBP season.
I feel he should have cashed out, but I very much appreciate the ripple of misguided terror he'll send to fanbases across the league on Friday, especially this one.