All that simmering on the hot stove for nothing?
Manny Machado, reportedly shopped around and connected to the White Sox for the last week, might not be going anywhere, according to a new report from USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
The Baltimore #Orioles just said that unless someone drastically changes their offer, third baseman Manny Machado is staying put for now— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 21, 2017
White Sox fans have long coveted the Baltimore Orioles' star third baseman, who is set to become one of the headliners of next offseason's monster free-agent class. So when The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported during the Winter Meetings that the South Siders were making a push for Machado, Twitter expectedly lit up.
The saga went through several twists and turns from there, with the White Sox reportedly among the most aggressive teams and reportedly making the best offer. That generated speculation, if not outright fear, that the White Sox might have been deviating from their carefully laid rebuilding plans, with names like Michael Kopech and Lucas Giolito guessed as potential trade chips considering the Orioles' reported interest in young pitching. Those fears were assuaged, however, when it was reported that the White Sox weren't including any of their top prospects in a deal for Machado.
The past behaviors of the Orioles and owner Peter Angelos put a potential trade into further doubt, with Angelos reportedly concerned that any team Machado was dealt to, including the White Sox, would turn around and send Machado to the New York Yankees.
But as recently as Tuesday, the White Sox were reported to still be talking with the Orioles about a potential deal.
Both White Sox and Cubs still in on conversations about Manny Machado . ( sources confirm.)— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 19, 2017
All along, though, the trade seemed to make little sense for the rebuilding White Sox, who would have had to surrender multiple prospects from their highly rated farm system in exchange for just one guaranteed season of Machado's services. While having Machado in the fold might have given the White Sox a leg up in trying to convince him to sign a contract extension, it's almost unheard of in this day and age for one of the game's top players to give up the chance to hit the free-agent market and get the biggest possible contract.
The White Sox — and every other team — will figure to have their chance at acquiring Machado next winter, when he joins the likes of Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson, Charlie Blackmon, Adam Jones and the rest of that bonkers free-agent class on the open market. And the likelihood of the White Sox bringing Machado or any other high-priced player to the South Side will depend on the 2018 season and how the team's much-heralded group of prospects develops, potentially putting the rebuild even more ahead of schedule.