White Sox players react to Manny Machado: ‘We’re going to keep rolling’
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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Shortstop Tim Anderson, for one, is happy to move past the Manny Machado questions.
Not that Machado, who chose the Padres’ 10-year, $300 million guaranteed deal over the Sox’ reported eight-year, $250 million offer with vesting options for two more years bringing it to $350 million, wouldn’t have been a huge piece of the franchise’s rebuild.
Of course, he would have. A generational talent who was there for the taking got away.
But the daily questions, especially for Anderson, who plays a position Machado prefers, were getting old.
“[Bleep], yeah,” he said when asked if he’s happy the decision has been made. “[Bleep]. Maybe y’all can stop asking me now.’’
Yowza. Sox fans on Twitter and Chicago sports radio were equally edgy, but for different reasons. Most blasted chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, vice president Ken Williams and general manager Rick Hahn for failing to convert on the deal.
Hahn saying the money not spent on Machado would be spent elsewhere — perhaps not now, however — did little to appease them. Worked into a frenzy and feeling confident, a fan base having had its fill after 10 consecutive years with no postseasons wanted Machado and viewed the Padres’ victory as a major blow to the rebuild.
“I’m thinking about changing my fandom to the Cubs,” one disgruntled fan said on The Score.
Talk about a dark day for Sox fans.
In the team’s clubhouse and on the back fields at Camelback Ranch, with no other choice, it was time to move on. Players went about their work, doing what they always do, trying to win their own contracts and getting ready for a 162-game season.
“I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed because he made that choice,’’ said catcher Welington Castillo, a former teammate of Machado’s with the Orioles. “Nobody can be in his shoes; he’s the only one who can make that choice. He decided on San Diego, and you have to respect that.’’
Castillo said Machado wasn’t a big topic of conversation in the clubhouse.
“As a team, we would have been more happy with him, but we are happy for him,’’ Castillo said. “But I know what kind of ballplayer he is.”
First baseman Yonder Alonso, whose presence in the lineup will heretofore be a reminder that Machado is not here, expressed disappointment. The Sox wouldn’t say it, but they acquired him in part as an enticement for Machado.
“It would’ve been a dream come true to play with a family member,” Alonso said. “But, hey, he did what was right for his family, and I support him 100 percent.”
It was time to move on.
“Inside this room, the 60-plus players, plus the coaching staff, the front office, it’s always been about the guys in here,” Alonso said.
Most affected perhaps by the Machado rumors was Anderson, who as a shortstop was threatened with the possibility of having to move. It has been a nagging issue for Anderson, who staked his claim to his position in January and continued expressing it during camp. While trying to maintain an approachable demeanor, he was growing weary of the questions.
“You can ride with us or don’t,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘We’re going to keep rolling. We couldn’t care less who’s on the boat with us. We know who all is on the boat with us, and we know which way we’re going to sail, so we’re going to get there.”
In other words, he gone. Even though he (Machado) was never here. He just sort of hovered over camp the first week.
“He’s moved on,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s selected a club, and we have to continue to do what we’ve been doing since the beginning, which is focus on the guys we have in the room.’’