White Sox VP says it's a shame team is being called cheap after free-agent failures

The Chicago White Sox went into the offseason ready to pay. They’ll exit the offseason with one of their biggest additions being Jon Jay.

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After pursuing both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper this winter, the White Sox officially walked away empty handed Thursday. Both Machado and Harper spurned the team for better offers.

Despite missing out, White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams believes the criticism the team has received has been extreme. He told Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times it would be a shame if people thought the team was cheap after missing out on both players.

“It’s a shame if it’s being portrayed that we were on the cheap on this thing. That’s really interesting because, holy s—-, that’s a quarter of a billion dollars we offered with a chance to be higher than what he’s getting.’’

Williams mentions “a quarter of a billion dollars,” suggesting that’s what the White Sox offered to Machado and Harper. Machado wound up signing a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres. Harper signed a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday.

Williams, however, notes that the White Sox’s offer contained an opportunity to earn more than that. It was reported that the team’s offer to Machado included incentives that could have pushed the deal to $350 million if Machado hit all those incentives.

While that is more money, it’s unclear what incentives Machado had to hit in order to exceed what the Padres offered. Williams said all Machado had to do was “basically stay healthy” for that to happen. When faced with both offers, Machado took the deal that offered more guaranteed money.

It’s not known what the White Sox offered Harper, but Williams told the Sun-Times Harper was “well out of our range.”

The White Sox failed to land Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.
The White Sox came up short after saying they would spend money during the offseason. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Despite playing in one of the biggest markets in baseball, the White Sox haven’t been big spenders in free agency. The White Sox are one of the few teams that has never handed out a contract exceeding $100 million. The biggest contract in team history belongs to first baseman Jose Abreu, who signed a $68 million deal in 2013. The team’s payroll in 2019 ranks near the bottom of the league.

Why couldn’t the White Sox go higher on either player? Williams said it’s because the team wants to have money to lock up its current core of prospects when the time comes.

Those young players might eventually be great in time. Problem is, Machado and Harper have already proven themselves as elite right now.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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