1. Another day passes, and the possibility that the White Sox have not stood idle while the last of the upper crust of free agent outfielders were snatched up by more aggressive suitors remains alive. ESPN's Jim Bowden went so far as to say on MLB Network that the White Sox are one of three finalists in the bidding for Yoenis Cespedes--a process with no formal stages--along with the Mets and Nationals, with the Mets seeming like the franchise Cespedes would be more obliged to take a short-term deal for, and the Nationals more willing to shell out a long-term commitment, and the Sox somewhere in the middle.
This is certainly closer than the White Sox have been with any marquee free agent in years, so the seriousness of their pursuit cannot be dismissed, and given the immediate benefit a Cespedes upgrade could have during the next two years where the Sox have a souped-up infield, it should be encouraged and cheered. That the Sox have potentially narrowed their focus too much on the one marquee free agent outfielder who most embodies the risk of high-level free agency that they have traditionally avoided, is a curiosity that needs fleshing out when we get a better idea of their process.
Offering a speculative outsider reading, the Sox seemed like they loved Gordon and Cespedes, then had the former option swallowed up by Gordon's ultimate desire to return home, and now have been roped in along with ROCNATION's slowplay of the Cespedes bidding and here we are. Upton is a superior player and his market never ballooned beyond reason, but the Sox have had such a good offseason up to this point, second-guessing how they filled this one hole becomes nitpicking so long as they do something significant in right field. The difference from Fowler to Cespedes is improving over Avisail by three or four wins. Either one would be fine work.
Ok, sure, fine, whatever.
2. Meanwhile, the Mets agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal with lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo, which is significant given their typical struggles to finance just about anything, and the doubt surrounding their ability to pay for Cespedes before this investment.
Meanwhile, the White Sox could totally use Antonio Bastardo, seeing as their current lefty relievers--Zach Duke and Dan Jennings--are underwhelming at retiring lefties and/or throwing strikes. But that's lower on the hierarchy of needs.
3. FutureSox's top-30 prospect list for preseason 2016 is out. It's always required reading, but this year I'm paying special attention to the rise of left-handed command specialist Jordan Guerrero to No. 6 in the organization, as well as Corey Zangari's rise as the next White Sox prospect with tantalizing raw power and a long path to realizing it. There are also a couple of interesting writeups on IFA infielders who have cracked the top-15 and a reminder of the sad, sad state of Matt Davidson.
Anyway, read it.
4. Not seeing any joke here. None whatsoever.
REINSDORF NEVER PAYS FOR PLAYERS! SAVING MONEY ON LUNCH AND ORDERING THREE ENTREES TO GO ON A-ROD'S TAB WILL ALLOW HIM TO PAY FOR CESPEDES! A-ROD WILL ONLY BE 43 WHEN HIS DEAL IS UP AND KENNY ALWAYS GETS HIS MAN!
Ok, maybe a few.
5. Just for the record, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner's invocation of the legal standard of "innocent until proven guilty" to deflect criticism for his organization's nihilist gambit to acquire Aroldis Chapman when his value was depressed by the little business of being accused of domestic abuse is a copout on multiple fronts. First, the idea that the legal process needs to be undertaken before the Yankees can be publicly judged as being insensitive to the seriousness of what he was accused of, and second because Steinbrenner uses it as a shield against any kind of honest assessment of why he felt justified in employing Chapman on his baseball team. Instead he just threw a flimsy smokescreen answer and called it a day. It stinks.