Why not try to steal the Sox’ TV announcer, Jason Benetti in return?
Benetti has been in the White Sox booth since 2016 and has been their full-time TV play-by-play announcer since Hawk Harrelson retired after the 2018 season. He calls games well, understands advanced stats and has a good on-air sense of humor. He’s also 37, so he could conceivably be in the Cubs booth for decades. That’s what the Cubs got when they hired Kasper, who first broadcast Cubs games in 2005, when he was just 35 years old.
There are a number of issues here. First, I do not know Benetti’s contract status with the White Sox and NBC Sports Chicago — he might be under contract for multiple years and not available. Also, like Brian Anderson, he works many other sports events, mostly for ESPN. The difference there, though, is that almost all the events called by Benetti for ESPN are college football and college basketball, which would largely not conflict with the baseball season.
As I noted, Benetti is in his 30s, and so was Kasper when he was hired. For that matter, when the Cubs hired Chip Caray in 1998 he was 33, and I believe Cubs management thought he’d be around calling Cubs games for decades. It didn’t work out that way.
I looked through the list of current TV play-by-play announcers for all other teams. There just aren’t many guys out there who fit that bill (in their 30s, with MLB PBP experience). Joe Davis, who succeeded Vin Scully in the Dodgers booth, is one, but I don’t think he’s going anywhere. Other than Davis, most current PBP guys are at least in their 40s and I don’t think any of them have the experience Marquee is likely looking for. Dan McLaughlin, the Cardinals PBP man on Fox Sports Midwest, is 46 and also calls a competent game and is familiar with the Cubs. But McLaughlin is a St. Louis area native and unlikely to leave there for the Cubs job.
Jason Benetti grew up in the Chicago area as a White Sox fan, and the job he has now is his dream job, he’s said so many times. It would likely take blowing him away with a financial offer in order for him to leave the Sox booth.
But he’d be a good fit with Jim Deshaies, or Ryan Dempster, or both.
Should the Cubs go for it?
Should the Cubs try to hire Jason Benetti away from the White Sox?
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