I’m not sure what it is about the White Sox brain trust that leads to all of the high drama, but everything that goes on in Chisox land is, like Williams told MLB.com’s Scott Merkin yesterday, a soap opera. People are always talking about their feelings. More time it spent talking in vague terms about relationship dynamics and almost no time is spent talking about, you know, baseball. Did Ozzie screw up the lineup? Did Kenny make a bad deal? Who knows! It’s all about whether everyone is getting along.
Maybe less soap opera than reality show. Indeed, Merkin’s article is like a “Real World” confessional or something. Williams goes on and on about self-assessment and relationship maintenance. Jerry Resinsdorf talks about how Oney Guillen “had to make a decision to keep mouthing off or keep working here.” Ozzie says “Kenny has a right to think whatever he thinks.” All that’s missing is a shot before the commercial break of Ozzie, Kenny, and Jerry standing with their backs to each other, frustration evident on their faces, little show title logo appearing in the bottom corner. It’s a fascinating piece for what it is, but I never cease to be amazed at how little Kenny Williams is ever quoted about baseball decisions. It’s always about how he’s getting along with anyone.
The takeaway, though: I think Kenny Williams will quit before anyone is fired, and probably no later than the end of the year. There’s surprisingly little heat on Ozzie Guillen for how bad this team is doing. I say surprisingly, because it seemed pretty clear in the offseason that Guillen was strongly suggesting a lot of the roster moves like letting Jim Thome go and stuff. Obviously not the team’s biggest problem, but it seemed like the 2010 Sox were authored more by Guillen than Williams. But of course Guillen is a favorite of Jerry Reinsdorf, so maybe that explains a lot of it.
Either way, Williams sounds like he’s about had it. Not sure I can blame him. The South Side is full of so much . . . drama.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.