As the 2021 Major League Baseball season approaches, there is still plenty of work to be done in the free-agent market. But one highly sought-after big bat is not likely to join the Chicago White Sox, at least according to Steve Stone.
In a tweet thread that occurred in recent days, the White Sox TV color commentator answered a fan’s question when prompted to support a potential Nelson Cruz signing on the South Side.
Cruz has been a bully to the American League Central for what seems like an eternity. Last season, the 40-year-old slugger blasted 16 home runs and hit for a .303 average in the shortened season. This piggybacked a 2019 campaign in which he hit .311 with 41 long balls. While that may sound like exactly what the White Sox need at the DH spot, Stone says there’s no chance.
When fans look back on the dark days of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper rumors being the closest thing to a big splash, Stone was there being as honest as necessary with the White Sox faithful. He has been around the club for long enough to understand how the organization operates. His opinions and hunches about the team are quite often spot on, whether whoever hears them wants to or not. To put a positive twist on it, Stone was correct just a few weeks ago when he expressed thoughts on the franchise making a move for a closer.
A team-specific broadcaster having a finger on the pulse of the organization comes with the territory, but Stone’s knowledge of baseball usually ends up connecting the dots. Perhaps the burn that was the Edwin Encarnacion experiment last year has something to do with the aforementioned thoughts. Or maybe he believes that the team will go in another direction that hasn’t been sought out yet. Either way, Stone’s track record is enough to believe what he says when he says it.
On the other side of this situation are baseball reporters continuing the buzz of a possible Cruz-White Sox agreement, but again, speculation and truth are two very different things. There have been so many instances where a player is linked to a team for weeks, but in the blink of an eye, another club signs them to a big contract that no one was expecting.
Figuring out the designated hitter position has been a struggle for White Sox in recent years, to say the least. They found a temporary fix last season when Yasmani Grandal was catching and James McCann served as the DH. But now that another page has turned and the White Sox are ready to make their presence felt, a big, powerful bat seems necessary for contention. Cruz can swing it, but is he a good fit? Do the logistics of a contract fit the Sox? Keep an eye on Stone Pony to see if he has any inklings on other options for the middle of the lineup.