CHICAGO -- Take a guess as to the central theme of this week's White Sox Inbox. No need to guess: just read for yourself. Happy Holidays to all.Do any offseason moves, realistic or highly unlikely, get the Sox in playoff contention this season ('19)? And will the bullpen be adequate
CHICAGO -- Take a guess as to the central theme of this week's White Sox Inbox. No need to guess: just read for yourself. Happy Holidays to all.
Do any offseason moves, realistic or highly unlikely, get the Sox in playoff contention this season ('19)? And will the bullpen be adequate in 2019? #GoBlue
-- Jeff, Indianapolis, @IndyJeffrey
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn and others in the organization will rightfully caution this team lost 100 games in 2018, so making a jump to .500 in '19 represents significant growth. The American League Central is not exactly a powerhouse, especially behind Cleveland and the Twins, so the White Sox could make major strides if they are able to get Bryce Harper or Manny Machado via free agency, along with another reliever and possibly a veteran infielder.
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As for the bullpen, adding Alex Colome was a big move for stabilizing high-leverage moments. Hahn is not done yet with that crew, but remember, some of the best future Chicago relievers might be players who are currently working as starters in the system.
Expectations for the White Sox in 2020 are high. If the White Sox front office cannot sign Harper or Machado, will this hurt the Sox for their 2020 run?
-- Jay, San Antonio, Texas
Absolutely not. This team isn't losing any of its top prospects if its strong pursuit of Harper and/or Machado doesn't translate into a deal. The White Sox also can add players via trade at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and next offseason with trades and free agency.
Does signing a player like Harper or Machado speed up the rebuild or is Hahn still dead set on giving his Minor Leaguers the proper time to develop?
-- Dominick, Tacoma, Wash., @DominickTrezza
Harper and Machado are franchise-changing players. But even if the White Sox were to work out a deal with one of them, it wouldn't signal the final piece of the rebuild. Hahn has acknowledged there's more work to do overall, starting with the current offseason, and the prospects will get their proper time to develop as has been the plan for the past couple of seasons.
If the White Sox sign Bryce Harper, why shouldn't the marketing promo be this -- 2019 White Sox: We are allowed to have nice things?
-- Jon, North Liberty, Iowa, @jonny33baseball
Jon was good enough to include an image of Harper photoshopped in a White Sox uniform with this suggestion, and of course, it's playing off a comment Hahn made to the media during the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. The White Sox probably need to add a picture of someone holding the 2005 World Series trophy with Harper, but otherwise, Chicago senior vice president of sales and marketing Brooks Boyer should take notice.
Is it too late to open up the stadium so 50,000 of us can be in there chanting, "Manny, Manny, Manny!!!!!!," tonight before he leaves? I can be there in about 3 hours.
-- Jamie, Fishers, Ind., @thejamiehopper
Good idea, Jamie. If Chicago agrees to terms with Machado, it should open the press conference to the fans. It would be that big of a moment.
Can the White Sox sign both Machado and Harper?
-- Robert, @rjdmichjr
They can. They are in pursuit of both, although never mentioning either one by name. They certainly have the payroll flexibility to do so, by design, with this offseason as a target. But I would say it's unlikely. I believe it's unlikely any team gets Harper and Machado.
If we miss out on the big fish this year, should we still go for someone this year, or save the money for next year? Thanks.
-- Ben, Lindenhurst, Ill., @Ben_Shanahan
I don't know if it's necessarily about saving money. The White Sox are set up ridiculously well payroll-wise through 2023. Other potential free-agent additions have gone off the board during the Harper/Machado pursuit, but as has been mentioned many times before, Hahn will not be making moves just to make moves. If it makes sense in the fit for the team, then a move will be made.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.