As the postseason rolls on, the White Sox continue to be reminded of their organizational failures.
The latest occurrence came on Thursday as Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott spoke with the media. Among the topics discussed by the 26-year-old was his prediction for Bryce Harper’s free-agency decision, which just so happened to involve the lovable losers on the South Side.
“Me and two of our other friends that we’re really close with, we kicked Bryce (Harper) out of the group (text) message and were predicting where we thought he might land,” Stott said. “I think everybody was wrong.”
“I think I went out on a limb and said the White Sox.” Stott continued. “Yeah, I was way off. I wasn’t even a finalist, so yeah, I was way off.”
Stott, who has spent the past five years in the organization, now wishes he could go back and make a more well-informed guess about Harper’s eventual free-agent destination.
“I wish I did a little more research myself, and I think I might have been able to pinpoint something that sticks out to him: He’s a big family guy, and he treats the city of Philadelphia like his own family. I think they treat him the same way. If I knew the city of Philadelphia when I was making my prediction, I think that knowing how big of a family guy he is, I think this was a no-brainer.”
Harper, 31, ended up looking beyond Chicago and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies. In the five seasons that have followed, Harper has slashed .284/.395/.536 with 122 home runs, 368 RBI, and a growing list of iconic postseason moments.
Despite taking his talents elsewhere, the slugger raved about his meeting with the White Sox a year after his new deal.
“I met with Chicago, had a really good meeting with them,” Harper told Barstool Sports. “It was always something where I was like, ‘I want to play in Chicago, that’d be fun.’ You always talk about Wrigley. You don’t always talk about (Guaranteed Rate Field) and playing in Chicago. But I love that blue-collar feel on the South Side of Chicago.
“I was like, ‘They could be a good team.’ They’ve got a lot of good arms. They’ve got (Michael) Kopech, they’ve got (Reynaldo) Lopez, they’ve got (Lucas) Giolito, two guys they got from the Nats in the (Adam) Eaton trade. They’ve got really good pitching. They’ve got Dane Dunning, as well, who’s a minor-league guy. He’ll be in the big leagues this year, possibly. So they had a lot of good prospects coming up. (Nick) Madrigal, I think.
“So they had a lot of good guys, and I was like, ‘Hmm. Who’s going to hit behind me? Oh, shoot, big ol’ first baseman (Jose Abreu)’s going to hit behind me.’ That’s huge for me because he just kind of goes about his business, hits .280 every year with 25 (home runs) quietly and nobody really talks about it. But he’s a very good guy to hit behind me, so that was a big thing, as well.
Harper also touched on White Sox fans and their hunger for winning baseball.
“I was like, ‘Man, these people are going to show up because they’re blue collar, and they want to see their frickin’ team win again.’ When they were winning back in the day, that place was sold out completely. I met with them, and that was a great meeting. I thought we had a really good meeting.”
Well, years later, and here we are. Writing about what could’ve been and discussing how the White Sox could’ve handled things differently over the past three years.
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