If the White Sox are really "out" on Bryce Harper they are making a huge mistake. Why did they waste their time by sending a delegation to court him at his Las Vegas residence before this offseason? At the most recent SoxFest in late January, I never once heard that Rick Hahn fired Harper as an AF goal, even though Manny Machado was leading most White Sox fans because of the rumor.
As for those vaunted White Sox OF prospects, who among them would offer the team a high OPS club to mate with the superpowerful potential Eloy Jimenez in their future batting order? In fact, I see no prospect of White Sox with that potential including the "advanced" university bats collector Zack Collins, who selected number 1 in June 2016. So far the career cut of Collins minor league of .232 /. 379 /. More than 425 looks like a bad Adam Dunn of anything else that Harper has achieved in his young career for 7 years in MLB.
From my point of view, the White Sox project with the best chance to become players of the future impact all the right-handed bats. They include LF Jimenez, CF Luis Robert, RF Micker Adolfo, 2B Nick Madrigal and 1B / 3B Jake Burger. Two others who make the left-handed bat, OF Blake Rutherford and 1B Gavin Sheets, have so far failed to produce the power needed to be at the center of the batsman's batsman and provide protection for Jimenez in slots n. 3 or n. 4 of a projected White Sox batting order.
As I have repeatedly commented, Harper makes more sense for Machado White Soxes from the point of view of their team in the field and as a marketing investment. Harper meets the need for training with his tall OBP / SLG bat missing the system. From a defensive standpoint, Machado would move one of Tim Anderson or Yoan Moncada to SS or 3B while Harper replaced Daniel Palka or Nicky Delmonico in RF. It's easy to see who fits the White Sox better with this in mind.
Like crazy left-handed, Harper would be the best FA battalion match with Jimenez not only for this offseason, but also when the best of the players who might be available will also be right-handed (Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt). The same scenario could be applied the following winter when Mike Trout and Mookie Betts could become FA. Furthermore, who knows what the competition for FA talents will be? I imagine that more "glamor" teams will be involved than what happened in this past offseason with Machado and Harper. If the White Sox can not beat the offer of Padres for Machado, what do you think of someone who could compete with the Yankees, the Cubs, the Red Sox, the Dodgers or the Phillies when these other FAs are available?
At the very least, White Sox should offer Harper the same deal that Machado has just rejected, granting them two additional years of maturity at the same AAV of $ 31.25MM. This could be enough to attract Harper with an agreement that would guarantee $ 312.5 million in 10 years with the potential to hit $ 350 million in performance incentives. It would also serve to appease most White Sox fans who are already annoyed by Machado's breath.
If the White Sox will come out of this offseason without the FA superstar and will also delay Jimenez's early debut due to concerns over service time, they will be forced to sell those discounted annual season tickets for Ball Park in the cold months of April and May. Jerry Reinsdorf and the front office must step up and do what they have promised White Sox fans all winter or face their wrath for another season.