Manny Machado free-agent update | MLB.com


LAS VEGAS — As the Winter Meetings draw to a close, here’s what we know about Manny Machado‘s closely watched free agency:

• He’s due to meet with at least three teams — the Phillies, White Sox and Yankees — according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

LAS VEGAS — As the Winter Meetings draw to a close, here’s what we know about Manny Machado‘s closely watched free agency:

• He’s due to meet with at least three teams — the Phillies, White Sox and Yankees — according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

• MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki has reported that there are indications Philadelphia prefers Machado over Bryce Harper.

After that, the speculation begins.

We don’t know the dollars or years of the formal offers Machado has received — if he’s received them at all.

We don’t know the amount Machado lost in market value during his controversial postseason.

We don’t know how desperately Machado wants to be a Yankee — his first choice, according to The Athletic’s Jim Bowden.

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The last variable may determine Machado’s ultimate destination. The Yankees’ interest in Machado is genuine, because of their immediate need at shortstop with Didi Gregorius possibly out until midseason. But their desire to sign him is tempered somewhat by the hope that Gregorius will return at the All-Star break, if not before, and questions about Machado’s on-field effort that generated October headlines.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman already has shown this offseason that he’s comfortable drawing a definitive financial line in negotiations with a player he wants. That was the case with free-agent starter Patrick Corbin, to whom the Yankees reportedly offered $100 million — $40 million shy of the guarantee Corbin received from the Nationals.

Cashman’s Major League roster and farm system are too strong, and the present options on the market too numerous, for him to make an emotional decision.

So if the White Sox offer $250 million and the Yankees remain at $225 million, is Machado prepared to turn down the better offer?

What if the White Sox go as high as $275 million?

Or $300 million?

Video: Brian Cashman on the intricacies of pursuing Machado

By the way, the White Sox have the capacity to add a free agent who earns around $30 million per season. The team’s record-high 2018 Opening Day payroll was nearly $130 million, according to Baseball Prospectus; its present commitments for next year are roughly $100 million below that.

Given the White Sox financial circumstances, it’s easy to imagine them making the highest offer for Machado, Harper, or possibly both. Of course, signing either player is another matter entirely. To accomplish that, the White Sox must craft an inspired recruiting pitch.

The White Sox can’t tell Machado (or Harper) that they have a better chance than the Yankees (or Phillies) to win the 2019 World Series. But over a 10-year interval, the White Sox argument becomes much stronger.

Several years from now, the White Sox could enjoy one of the most favorable payroll situations — relative to divisional competition — of any team in the Majors.

In 2018, the American League Central was the only division without a team that spent more than $150 million on player salaries. The clubs that accounted for the division’s three largest payrolls — the Indians, Tigers and Royals — all have signaled their spending could drop over the next couple of seasons.

The White Sox, playing in the third-largest U.S. market, have the financial tools and young talent base to build a sustainable winner. Now they’re looking for a centerpiece. The White Sox tried to trade for Machado last winter, when he was with the Orioles. This time, they don’t need to persuade a different general manager — only Machado himself.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.



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