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Jerry Reinsdorf: Second is Best

A former baseball executive and a former White Sox pitcher allege that Sox and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf has said "to finish in second place every single year."
Jerry Reinsdorf White Sox Owner

Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune

On Friday night and Saturday morning, an excerpt from former Marlins executive David Samson on Dan Lebatard's podcast circulated Chicago sports Twitter:

Jerry Reinsdorf's alleged advice to Samson was, "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."

Woof. After this clip went viral, people then began debating if Samson was a credible source. Based on Reinsdorf's history of not spending money, most notably in the past offseason on Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, it isn't hard to believe. This basically confirmed what we had all been thinking anyway, but this is never in a positive light. I understand that Samson has a sketchy past with a lawsuit against him and Jeffrey Loria moving the Expos to the United States, another lawsuit with the Marlins' stadium and illegally using taxpayer money, etc. At the same time, I know this guy may want to just stir headlines, but isn't this just a little bit random? I mean, you have the NFL in the middle of the season, MLB playoffs are in the divisional series, NHL action is under a week in, and the NBA season is about to start. To me, I don't think Samson's credibility really matters in this situation. Even if you want to discredit Samson based on his reputation in the baseball world, he's not the only one talking about this matter. Enter former White Sox pitcher, Jack McDowell.

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As seen in the Facebook comments above, the former White Sox ace confirmed that Reinsdorf said the EXACT SAME THING TO HIM. Talk about a bombshell. Jerry Reinsdorf released a statement in response, in which he said he had "no recollection of ever having said that."

When it comes down to it, we can hope it's not true, but this is downright depressing. The White Sox need to spend money to complement their strong young core, and they need to spend immediately. Unfortunately, they're not going to have a Dodgers-type payroll. The silver lining is they can still make the playoffs by spreading their spendable money across multiple free-agent needs, much like the Twins did ahead of 2019. I'd assume the limit is close to $125 million. For comparison, the Twins had a $117 million payroll for 2019 and still won 101 games after winning 78 in 2018. My fear for the Sox, as well as many other fans, is that Jerry is still making money off of a losing team. Who's to say they're going to go for it? Outside pressure could force him to spend a little bit, but this doesn't instill confidence that the White Sox will have a fruitful offseason, which they absolutely need if they are serious about competing.

Featured Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune