Flowers: Padres showing White Sox what seizing the opportunity looks like

The Chicago White Sox and the San Diego Padres mirror each other in a few ways. Both are pivoting from rebuilding to contending, both snapped decade-plus postseason droughts this summer, and both are considered to be serious contenders in 2020.

The difference between the two clubs, however, is significant. A.J. Preller and the Padres are showing the White Sox this winter what seizing the opportunity looks like.

With both clubs on parallel trajectories towards competing for a World Series Championship following the 2020 season, the Padres — not the White Sox — are seizing the opportunity in front of them.

On Sunday night the Padres struck a blockbuster trade for former Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell. By Monday afternoon, the Padres were not done yet, still in “deep talks” to acquire 2020 Cy Young finalist, Yu Darvish. This after they acquired Mike Clevinger from the Indians at the previous trade deadline.

Photo: Tampa Bay Times

Yes, Clevinger will miss the 2021 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, but they paid up for him. And yes, the White Sox did flip Dane Dunning and Avery Weems to the Texas Rangers for Lance Lynn earlier this month, but that’s a move that now feels significantly underwhelming after watching the Padres deal from depth for Snell and double-down by staying in negotiations for Darvish.

The Padres have also reportedly landed free-agent infielder Ha-Seong Kim according to’s AJ Cassavell on Monday afternoon, and the potential deal for Darvish is also believed to include either Willson Contreras or Victor Caratini behind the dish for San Diego.

The White Sox have signed Adam Eaton to a one-year deal (with a club option for 2022) aside from landing Lance Lynn this winter.

While I still believe that the White Sox are the front-runners in the American League Central as it stands on paper today, they’re taking a different path and fighting a different battle than San Diego. The Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Baseball Team are shaving payroll and taking a step back in 2021 after the financial impacts of the fan-less 2020 campaign, making the White Sox almost a defacto favorite to take over the AL Central crown.

The Padres are wheeling and dealing in an effort to close the gap between themselves and the defending World Series Champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The White Sox still need to address their questions at the back of the rotation and bullpen, and they’re facing another season in which their designated hitter spot in the lineup will be less than ideal, to say the least. Banking on Andrew Vaughn — who hasn’t seen a competitive at-bat above Winston-Salem — is risky at best.

They went from having the best catching tandem in baseball in 2020 to having an unproven Zack Collins backing up Yasmani Grandal in 2021 if they don’t make a move there.

While the White Sox still seem to be the favorite to win the AL Central in 2021, there’s still question marks on this roster that make their immediate future unsettling. Making the playoffs is nice, but is that the goal here? Is becoming the defacto favorite on paper through your competition taking a step back the goal here?

The White Sox have money and prospect capital to spend, just like the Padres, but they’re seemingly content with adding more stop-gap solutions to their roster and kicking the can down the road. The Padres, on the other hand, are going for the kill. They’ve added Snell to a rotation that already includes Dinelson Lamet, Chris Paddack, Zach Davies, and some combination of Mackenzie Gore, Joey Lucchesi, Adrian Morejón, and Ryan Weathers in 2021, and then Mike Clevinger in 2022.

If a Darvish deal comes to fruition, they’ll likely subtract from that group to make it happen, but they’ll still roll out a rotation comparable with the best in baseball in 2021.

  • Blake Snell (3.24 ERA, 10.49 K/9, 2018 AL Cy Young)
  • Yu Darvish (3.47 ERA, 11.12 K/9, 2020 NL Cy Young finalist)
  • Dinleson Lamet (3.76 ERA, 11.83 K/9)
  • Chris Paddack (3.74 ERA, 9.71 K/9)
  • Some combination of Morejón, Weathers, Lucchesi, or Gore

This to complement an offense that includes Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Jake Cronenworth, and Eric Hosmer to name a few. This my friends is how you seize the opportunity.

This conversation might be an exercise in futility, comparing two teams that play in opposite leagues and have different hurdles to jump in front of them, but it reminds me of a concerning quote that surfaced in October 2019. A quote that White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf allegedly spoke to former Miami Marlins executive David Samson, which Samson shared on Dan Lebatard’s ‘Mystery Crate’ podcast.

“Finish in second place every single year because your fans will say ‘Wow, we got a shot. We’re in it!’ But there’s always the carrot left.”

This was seconded by former White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell who said in response to the Lebatard podcast that Reinsdorf said the same thing to him back in 1992, just two years before Reinsdorf played a hand in dashing a potential White Sox World Series run in favor of a work stoppage in 1994.

Samson has no reason to lie, McDowell has no reason to lie. Reinsdorf has notoriously done nothing but lie to his fan base, so it’s not hard to believe this quote came from his mouth. Especially when you consider previous half-baked attempts to sustained success, and what’s transpired (or more specifically, hasn’t transpired) here this winter amid what looks like the franchise’s best-ever opportunity at having sustained success.

Jerry Reinsdorf has proven time and time again that his bottom line is his chief concern, so why should we expect this to be any different? What should be the golden era of White Sox baseball is starting to smell a lot of the same old status quo from Jerry Reinsdorf. Second-place finishes, second-place spending, and second-place roster construction with a dash of impending labor strife looming during the contention window — welcome to the early-nineties, White Sox fans.

Photo: Jake Roth / USA Today

10 thoughts on “Flowers: Padres showing White Sox what seizing the opportunity looks like

  1. Sheldon Steinlauf December 28, 2020 — 8:11 pm

    Easy to be negative to get column inches. Just spend the money to buy the team and do more than just run your mouth.


    1. Let’s go halves, then you can put your money where your mouth is as well. Deal?


    2. He’s just being truthful. You can continue to build your farm system, hoping that they pan out eventually, or you can use them as bargaining chips to make your team better with proven players like Preller just did. Not everything works out, but sometimes you gotta take a chance.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yea, but the Padres have Machado, who I am thrilled the White Sox did NOT sign. He is a cancer in the clubhouse. I hope we see the Padres in the World Series just to shut the author of this STORY up. Bring it on!


    1. Brian, it’s not about missing Machado. It’s not about Preller/Hahn. It’s about the different approaches by two owners with teams the are on parallel trajectories. One is going after it, one is shopping in the clearance section, as he always has. If you think that Reinsdorf isn’t the problem, you’re sadly mistaken. If the White Sox don’t figure out how to spend at the top of the market in one area or another, you’ll be lucky to see the Padres (or anyone) in the World Series.


    2. Being a Padres fan, I can guarantee you he’s not a cancer in the clubhouse. I follow them closely and there have been ZERO issues with him. He and Tatis are the bedrock of this team and there is only positive things coming out about Machado. He’s where he wants to be. Stop clinging to unproven points

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Been a Sox fan for 50 years now. Could not agree with you more Patrick! More than frustrating. It’s pathetic

    Liked by 1 person

  4. wilburwoodwastheman December 29, 2020 — 9:44 am

    Who cares what the Padres are doing? I don’t value our moves by comparing them to other team’s moves. Our rosters are different, our divisions are waaaaaaay different, and our leagues are different.

    Trading for Snell was a necessity for the Padres. They made a big trade for Clevinger and then his arm blew out. This back-fills that…its not a genius move. It’s a desperate move to fix a hole. We have much more promising pitching than they do in our rebuild.

    And if you want to compare the rebuilds for some strange reason, compare the rosters. What mega deal have the Sox had to pull because of a roster hole or failure to develop a player? We are on the way to an all-star roster that is locked up for years to come with no albatross contracts.

    I love our roster now and in five years. I would not swap our roster with San Diego’s roster. Finally, if we don’t spaz out and trade the farm, continue to draft well and develop, and resist overpaying for aging vets, this team is going to be a pleasure to watch for years.


    1. Eaton and Lynn are locked up? Had a change to secure RF for the next 3-5 years and you sign Eaton for 1 year.


  5. I think Hahn has done a great job after the Shields for Tatis. Sox will be good for a long time while Padres will be dealing with contract issues and some aging players.
    White sox have more flexibility payroll wise and not many American league teamsvother that Toronto are not getting better.


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