Ken Harrelson says White Sox will ‘be a monster’ in 2 years

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Ken “Hawk” Harrelson.| (Michael R. Schmidt~Sun-Times Media)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Ken Harrelson, colorful as ever in his new role as a White Sox ambassador, stopped by the Winter Meetings to share his unbridled enthusiasm not only for the Sox future but for baseball’s big picture in Chicago.

Rankling Cubs fans, who reacted quickly on social media, Harrelson also doubled down on the promise he made in August that he would never again set foot in Wrigley Field. The “Hawk” says he doesn’t hold the Cubs in contempt, only their ballpark.

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“I congratulated [Cubs chairman] Tom Ricketts on winning a world championship [in 2016],’’ Harrelson said Monday. “I also told him in two years from now our club is going to have a lot of fun playing his. Because they’re not going anywhere, they’re good.’’

And the Sox, he said, “in two years they’re going to be a monster. I’ve never seen a team do a [rebuild] better than this one.’’

What that means is “Chicago fans are going to have a wonderful next decade in baseball. They’re going to have a lot of fun watching our Sox.’’

Harrelson’s energy spruced up an otherwise quiet day here for the Sox. Whereas the Sox made two blockbuster trades for prospects at the Winter Meetings in 2016, the signals coming from different sources Monday seem to indicate it’s entirely possible they won’t do much until the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, the last day. That said, all it takes is one call for the climate and possibilities to change.

“Now that we’re back here there is greater focus on potentially coming together for a deal,’’ general manager Rick Hahn said. “At the same time that doesn’t mean anyone is going to get to the level we deem appropriate to make a similar such trade [as were made for Chris Sale and Adam Eaton last year].’’

Those deals set the Sox rebuild into high gear, and at the least gives them a chance to be mentioned in the same breath as the Cubs one day. Where the Cubs are is good, Harrelson believes, because it motivated the Sox front office to be better.

“Chicago fans are going to have a wonderful next decade in baseball,’’ Harrelson said. “They’re going to have a lot of fun watching our Sox.’’

And they’re going to get to see the Sox play the Cubs more than the four games they hooked up for in 2017.

“At least we get [to play the Cubs] six times [in interleague] this year [instead of four],’’ Harrelson said, “not this ridiculous Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. How bad is that?

“We get them on the weekend. I’m going to do the three at our place. I told you I will never step foot in Wrigley Field again as long as I live. You couldn’t pay me to go to Wrigley Field again.’’


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