GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox sound as if they were somewhat blindsided by Manny Machado's reported decade-long deal with the San Diego Padres.
Speaking to reporters shortly after news of Machado's agreement with the Padres came out, White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams talked with reporters at Camelback Ranch and expressed a feeling of shock.
"I’m wearing my shades so that you guys don’t see the shock in my eyes," Williams said. "It is disappointing. I’d be lying to you if I said anything other than that.
"But Jerry (Reinsdorf, team chairman) really stepped up and stepped up in a fashion that is unprecedented. We all in that clubhouse talked about it this morning. We felt like we actually were potentially could close a deal today with him. We thought we were the high offer on the table, and we still feel — if the reports are accurate — we still feel that there was more potential for him to make more here then that reported deal."
The Padres' reported deal with Machado is worth $300 million over 10 years. How he might have made more than that, if those are the reports Williams was referencing, is a tad unclear, considering Williams said the White Sox weren't willing to go to $300 million. But he said he believed they had made the best offer.
"San Diego stepped up to that level," he said. "That level wasn't feasible to us because we still have to project putting together a total winning roster and keeping the young players that will ultimately earn into greater dollars themselves, so when you look at the big picture without having to sacrifice some of them, we could not go to that level."
Of course, what that brings up immediately is where the White Sox stand with Bryce Harper, the other mega free agent on the market who they have pursued this offseason. If they weren't willing to spend $300 million on Machado, would they be willing to spend that — and most likely more — on Harper?
General manager Rick Hahn has talked about hoping to dispel of the notion that the White Sox won't spend big dollars to acquire one of the game's best players, but they do appear to have their limit.
Of course, Williams' point about maintaining financial flexibility is a good one. Just look to the other side of town to see a Cubs team that is barreling toward a scenario in which their homegrown core becomes too expensive to keep together. The White Sox are still developing their core, but it could be bigger and richer than the one on the North Side, featuring young pitchers like Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease and young position players like Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal. Those guys could all demand big contracts down the road, and the White Sox would be wise to be able to keep that group together. A contract like the one Machado got from the Padres would have made that much more difficult, if not impossible.
The White Sox had much the same to offer as the Padres did: a bright future, a loaded farm system, the potential to play for a perennial contender for the next decade. But the Padres had $300 million.
"You've got to give it to them," Williams said. "They are in a similar trajectory as we are. And for the same reasons we were after him, they were after him. Their ownership group did a great job in trumping everyone else."Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.