GM: White Sox don't have the money for Figgins

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For years now the White Sox have been linked to Chone Figgins via various trade rumors, but now that he’s a free agent general manager Ken Williams made it clear yesterday that he won’t be pursuing the speedy infielder, saying: “We don’t have that kind of money.”
Williams’ sudden lack of interest in Figgins is especially interesting given that he’d just finished talking about the White Sox’s need for “that ideal leadoff guy” and previously indicated that the team wouldn’t be re-signing Scott Podsednik.
However, the Chicago Sun-Times notes that Podsednik may have revised his demands after Williams scoffed at his initial asking price, perhaps opening the door for a return to Chicago. Podsednik hit .304/.353/.412 with 30 steals and 75 runs in 132 games after joining the White Sox on May 1, but hit just .243/.299/.369 in 2007 and .253/.322/.333 in 2008. By comparison, Figgins hit .298/.395/.393 with 42 steals and 114 runs this season and has batted .291/.363/.388 for his career.
There’s no doubt that Figgins is far superior to Podsednik as a leadoff man and the White Sox could clear room for him at third base by playing the recently acquired Mark Teahen in right field, which would also improve their defense. Payroll restraints may simply make that impossible, but it’s also worth noting that Figgins qualified as a Type A free agent in the rankings released yesterday and thus may have fewer suitors now that teams would relinquish their first-round pick for signing him.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.