WOW. I'd be lying if I said I wavered from my "expect the worst hope for the best" fandom approach at any point before it was official. It was between us and the Cards for most of the week I think, and it's probably less of a toss up than it always is when it comes down to the last two. But when it gets down to the little details (eh, probably the couple difference in millions, though it's just breaking that the Cardinals actually outbid the Sox), you never know. Some quick heat of the moment celebratory hits:
- Supposedly what swayed Robert was a video featuring Renteria, Moncada and Abreu. Ricky's obviously in the typical "each year's a one year deal" manager approach (probably an extended one given the rebuild), and Moncada's got the safety cushion of "you are my son that we traded the best pitcher in franchise history for, with you I have to be pleased". But in terms of how the rest of the rebuild will shake out: this means Abreu has to stay at this point, right? I'm not sure his current trade value or what international contract stipulations there are on his deal, but now we're sort of locked in to him for the long run now that he'll be playing mentor for two young guys now. Abreu will figure out playing first and his hitting will solidify in whatever direction he's taking it (I still think whatever weird "let's start hitting for average now" hitting plan we put him on after his rookie year is still messing with him to this day), but in terms of trade baits for July, it's down to just Q, Robertson, and Frazier now. (Definitely in that order).
- Outfield just got more interesting. Melky's contract is up after this year, and I'm not really sure what to do there. He probably has more than one season left in him, though probably not as productive as most seasons prior and probably not with the White Sox if he also thinks he's got a couple more years left. Not sure I see us taking on a $25-30 million contract for an aging hitter in the "let the kids play" phase of the plan. All Garcias are making their case for sticking around a while- Willy seems to be handling the big leagues pretty well, and Leury and Avisail's not cooling off anytime soon numbers speak for themselves. It's a great problem to have, but also sort of banks on all three sustaining their success through this season and the next. I'm not sure what the plan is for calling Luis up, but for a 20 year old that's never seen an MLB affiliated pitch, put him in the minors for a full year at least. This means hoping the Tres Garcias carry their weight through this year and the next, with May and Delmonico as possible back ups (and that doesn't make me feel more reassured).
- For the ultimate good news of the day, think we can call #TankForBeer off. I mean, we could still go ahead with it, but I don't see much incentive for a full on tank when we just signed a top five pick today. You could probably make the argument that southern college baseball might be better MLB prep than the Cuban League, and I'd probably then ask you when Gordon Beckham's number retirement ceremony is taking place. It's more likely that we're through our first week of freshman year fun April and into the mid-semester "I actually don't know what I'm doing" May, and a top 10 draft pick is still pretty feasible. But if I'm following this team this year (and guys, I know we're a "win or we don't show" fanbase, but this is absolutely huge news and you have to love the cojones on this team for the moves they've made. Now's a good time to start tuning in consistently), it's nice to know that we aren't necessarily going to completely bottom out and that we'll continue the Wild Whacky Kind of Tanking Kind of Great White Sox 2017 season. And that if I'm going to keep watching Avi getting stranded after two out hits, Frazier's mid-life crisis, and everyone else ensuring we meet our strikeout quota, at least I can think of sunny days and long sips of Pacifico Clara as Luis Robert bombs land all around me in the bleachers, A man can dream.