Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Sources: White Sox send Jim Thome to meet with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
Are the White Sox competent enough to land one of the offseason's biggest free agents, outfielder Bryce Harper?

As a Sox fan who does not believe in the current owner and front office, the guess here is no. Harper already has turned down $300 million over 10 years from his current team, the Washington Nationals. So, what makes us believe that the Sox -- a team that has never signed a player to a nine-figure contract -- are going to go the extra mile and offer Harper, say, $400 million over 10 years?

I expect Harper to sign somewhere else, and come SoxFest, we will hear general manager Rick Hahn talking about how the Sox didn't value Harper at the same level as Harper's agent did. Sox brass will say, "Hey, we tried," and expect fans to give them points for making the effort.

To me, making an effort isn't good enough. I'm sick of losing, and I want this front office to get the team into contention now, this offseason, not in 2021.

Of course, there's a real possibility that Harper would not come to the South Side of Chicago even if ownership meets his high price. Other clubs such as the New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly are in the mix, and all can offer something that the Sox cannot: proof of recent success and the presence of a win-now roster.

Will a major free agent want to join the Sox, knowing they are coming off a 100-loss season and have lost 195 games over the past two years? Not sure. If I'm Bryce Harper, and obviously I am not, why would I take a leap of faith that all these Sox prospects are going to pan out? Would I be willing to wait until 2021 to have a legitimate chance to win the World Series? I doubt it.

The Sox, for their part, sent Hall of Famer Jim Thome to Las Vegas to meet in person with Harper, and to try to sell him on coming to the South Side, according to a report from Yahoo's Jeff Passan.

Thome is, of course, one of the nicest men in the game of baseball, and if there is anyone who could pitch a player on the Sox, it probably would be Thome. But I'm not convinced that even he can woo Harper to the Sox.

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