The White Sox are unfazed in their pursuit of both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but the Southsiders don’t view themselves as the favorite for either, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (via Twitter). The White Sox plan to meet with both Harper and Machado during these winter meetings. In their favor, Chicago’s financial ledger is clear of future obligations (save for Tim Anderson’s deal, which is guaranteed through 2022) as they approach a window to compete in the AL Central after 2019. Still, a Harper signing would be uncharacteristically rich for White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, writes the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (subscription link). There are examples of the typically-prudent Reinsdorf opening his wallet, however, most notably the signings of Albert Belle (for $55MM in 1996 )and Jose Abreu (for $68MM in 2013). Clearly, those dollar amounts pale in comparison to what either Harper or Machado will demand, but both were splashy acquisitions in their time that demanded the league’s attention in their respective winters. More rumblings on the Southsiders plans for the rest of the offseason…

  • GM Rick Hahn checked one box off his offseason to-do list with yesterday’s acquisition of starter Ivan Nova. While it’s not a landscape-shifting move by any means, it’s an important one for the White Sox, who have Nova earmarked for the innings originally allocated to top prospect Michael Kopech, per James Fegan of the Athletic (subscription link). Nova should provide reliable, if unspectacular rotation innings, much in the mold of James Shields, though Nova isn’t quite the innings-eater that Shields is (Nova’s career high in innings is 187 in 2017). Nova, with Scott Boras client Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito, should make up the front four in the Sox 2019 rotation, with the fifth spot an open competition between Manny Banuelos, Dylan Covey, Jordan Stephens and perhaps a couple non-roster invitees. Hahn remains on the lookout for further rotation help, but with at least one more rebuilding season ahead, the White Sox have the luxury of patience as they continue to audition young arms for what, they hope, could be an earnestly-competitive roster by 2020.
  • Hahn is also on the lookout for a short-term catching option to add to the 2019 mix after dealing Omar Narvaez to Seattle. Their interest in Yasmani Grandal must be grouped, at present, with Machado and Harper as guys the Sox are kicking the tires on, but unlikely to lock down. They have a pair of catching prospects in Zack Collins and Seby Zavala, but there’s no reason to rush either one when one-year stopgaps like Martin Maldonado or James McCann are available, whom the Sox could happily pair with Wellington Castillo for the time being. Collins and Zavala don’t preclude a Grandal acquisition, as the latter would take some pressure of the pair of prospects, though it’s reasonable to assume Grandal’s market could see an influx of suitors when the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes reaches a conclusion. 

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