Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Rebuild of the Chicago White Sox,or clique developing within the ballclub?

The key to the rebuild of the Chicago White Sox? Or development of the clique that could demolish any hopes of a championship in the near future?
Will trio be the key to 2020s White Sox? Photo by The Players Tribune
Those are the thoughts running through my brainpan on Tuesday, as I learn of the deal the White Sox pulled off this week to help strengthen their outfield.

JON JAY, WHO played last season with Kansas City and Arizona but was part of that Chicago Cubs championship team of 2016, will be a part of the White Sox this season – whose spring training begins in just over a month out in the Phoenix suburb where the Arizona (and one-time Chicago) Cardinals play.

Theoretically, he could be a piece of the White Sox’ outfield equation this year. He has some skills. But what is more noteworthy are two of Jay’s best friends within the world of professional baseball.

Those friends are Yonder Alonso, whom the White Sox recently acquired in trade from Cleveland, and Alonso’s brother-in-law. Who happens to be the baseball star Manny Machado – the infielder who currently is free-agent and is trying to get the big-money, long-term contract that will ensure he’ll never have to work for real so long as he lives.

The White Sox are in competition with the New York Yankees, the Philadelphia Phillies and possibly other teams that might want to give themselves an injection of talent for the near future.

IT HAS BEEN reported that the White Sox have made a definitive offer to Machado that falls short of the so-called $300 million over a 10-season period that Manny supposedly wants.

Could it be that the White Sox are gambling Manny will be eager enough to have his brother-in-law and long-time friend as teammates that he’ll take a Chicago offer? Helped by the fact that even though Machado has hinted he’d love New York, the Yankees themselves don’t seem too eager to kiss his behind to get him in their version of pinstripes.

Could the White Sox of the 2020s be reliant on the Machado clique for their on-field talent? Could Jay become the guy who played for both the ’16 Cubs championship team, along with whatever winner the White Sox produce?
Will Machado clique work well w/ Abreu batch?

Or is this a lot of wishful thinking?

FOR I CAN’T help but notice that much of the “Rebuild of the White Sox” talk has focused on the large number of Cuban exiles the White Sox have been able to obtain – with hopes they’ll develop with minor league affiliates into stars.

With those peloteros Cubanos eager to play baseball for Chicago someday because they see existing White Sox star Jose Abreu as their leader on-field.

Have the White Sox set up conditions for dueling cliques – with one group of Cubanos convinced this is the team of Abreu and which might be counting on the beisbol fan base in Havana to give the White Sox an international cheering base?

Or are we going to have a team with the Abreu people and the Machado people – with the latter figuring that he’s the one getting the big money so he’s the one who should dominate the ball club’s attention?

IT WILL BE interesting to see how the two factions (should Machado decide to come to Chicago) co-exist, because supposedly his wife Yainee (also Alonso’s sister) really, really wants to live in New York. Would this Miami girl with ethnic origins in the Dominican Republic regard Chicago’s Latino population that is heavily Mexican and Puerto Rican just a bit too different?
Could Jay be champ on both sides of Chicago?

Then again, ballplayers don’t necessarily have to like each other personally. Take the Oakland A’s of the 1970s that won three straight World Series despite constant infighting amongst themselves. But they had their mutual contempt for owner Charles O. Finley to unite them – and that contempt is what ultimately broke the ballclub up.

But it could be said that the Machado clique that considers Miami to be its home base could unite with the many Cubans who regard Miami as their home in exile.

Could a future White Sox championship team wind up getting just as many cheers in Miami as on the South Side? We’ll have to wait and see how it all shapes up – and if it is meant to become a reality.


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