White Sox

Manny Machado decision could reportedly come within a week: Are White Sox in a good spot?

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USA TODAY

Manny Machado decision could reportedly come within a week: Are White Sox in a good spot?

The Manny Machado free-agent saga might finally be nearing an end.

According to a report from The Score's Bruce Levine, Machado is expected to make a decision on where he'll be spending the better part of the next decade within a week.

Levine adds a few other interesting nuggets, leading with this: "The prevailing feeling across the MLB landscape is that momentum is building for the White Sox in the Manny Machado sweepstakes."

That ought to get White Sox fans jazzed, and it's not an illogical conclusion to draw. The New York Yankees have seemed pretty low-key in their pursuit of one of two 26-year-old superstars on this winter's free-agent market, reportedly unwilling to offer the kind of multimillion-dollar contract that the White Sox have reportedly already offered and the Philadelphia Phillies are expected to offer. Machado and fellow mega free agent Bryce Harper reportedly don't love the idea of playing in Philadelphia, a notoriously ruthless sports town with a roster that could use some improvements to keep pace with the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals in a competitive NL East.

The White Sox, too, have added incentive to the idea of Machado playing on the South Side, trading earlier this offseason for Machado's brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso, and reportedly agree to a one-year deal with one of Machado's good friends and offseason workout partners, Jon Jay. That goes along with what would figure to be an attractive pitch of Machado being the centerpiece of the final phase of the rebuild, playing alongside Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease and Luis Robert for the next seven years and forming a perennial contender.

But money often rules the day in these situations, and the Phillies are expected to throw a lot of it at Machado and also Harper, who they will reportedly meet with Saturday in Las Vegas. Levine speculates that the meeting with Harper could act as a sort of deadline for Machado to make his decision. The White Sox have already made their offer, described by USA Today's Bob Nightengale as "closer to $200 million than $300 million." Levine's previous report that the White Sox wouldn't go past seven years in offers to either Machado or Harper led to speculation that offer could be in the ballpark of seven years and $210 million. Levine got a little more specific in his latest report, saying "the White Sox will be in on Machado in the $200-million range for six or seven years," which isn't too far off that dot-connecting guesstimate.

Though it was reported earlier this week that the Yankees had not yet made an offer to Machado, Levine says all three teams have — and that a fourth team could be in on the action, too. How mysterious.

While things might be looking good for the White Sox at the moment, the Phillies could be the difference-maker here if only because they seem to be the only team that could significantly outbid the White Sox. If it's truly down to these three, if the White Sox won't go past seven years and if the Yankees have no intention of even breaking the $200 million mark with their offer — all ifs, of course — the Phillies, whose owner promised earlier this offseason he might "be a little stupid" with his free-agent spending, could make a decade-long offer worth more than $250 million and blow the other bidders out of the water. No amount of brothers-in-law and offseason workout buddies could trump that, right?

We might soon find out, if the next seven days truly do provide Machado's decision.

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SprtsTalk Live Podcast: Is MLB about to strike out forever?

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USA TODAY

SprtsTalk Live Podcast: Is MLB about to strike out forever?

David Haugh, Chuck Garfien and JJ Stankevitz join Kap on a Friday edition of STL. 

The MLB owners and players appear to be farther apart then ever with the union saying they will not take a further pay cut. Is the sport about to strike out forever?

Meanwhile, the Bulls season is over. Will a nine-month lay-off help or hurt them? Plus, the Bears may not get together as a team until training camp. Will that hurt them at all?

Finally, Jean Lenti Ponsetto will retire as DePaul athletic director this summer. Can a new AD get the men’s basketball team back to national prominence?

0:00 - There’s still no baseball and the two sides don’t even appear to be in the same ballpark. Are the owners and players heading for a mutually assured destruction? Does one side need to give in first for the good of the game?

11:00 - The NBA is returning but the Bulls won’t take part. Is it better for them to have a 9-month lay-off?

15:00 - The Bears and other NFL teams may not get to work out together until training camp. Does the hurt the Bears?

19:00 - Jean Lenti Ponsetto will retire as DePaul AD this summer. Can a new AD bring the Blue Demons men’s basketball team back to national prominence?

 

Listen here or below.

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Report: 2020 MLB season will happen, how many baseball games is unclear

Report: 2020 MLB season will happen, how many baseball games is unclear

Fans looking for good news during the financial fight between baseball’s owners and players are getting it from SNY’s Andy Martino. He says there will be a baseball season in 2020.

No, there’s no imminent agreement between the two warring sides. But the worst-case scenario, no season at all, seems as if it will be avoided, per Martino, who reported Friday that players will play even if Major League Baseball sidesteps further negotiations and imposes a season of perhaps fewer than 50 games.

The league’s ability to do that was reported on earlier in the week, included as part of the March agreement between the two parties. The parsing of that agreement is at the center of these contentious money talks. The players agreed to prorated salaries based on the number of games played, but the owners believe they’re able to ask for further pay cuts now that they’ve deemed it economically impossible to play even half a season without fans in the stands and pay players half their salaries. Players, distrustful of that claim, say the owners should prove it by opening their books.

The players are standing firm in not accepting further pay cuts, with union chief Tony Clark saying Thursday any proposal of further cuts would be rejected. While there was some confusion over whether the owners would stop making proposals altogether, Martino reported that the league could make another financial offer to the union.

Here’s another wrinkle: The governor of Texas recently said that fans would be allowed to attend sporting events in that state. Thursday brought a report that Major League Baseball is likely to allow the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros to have fans in the stands, signaling that governors in the 17 different states where major league teams play would have the final say on whether they could sell tickets. That could mean more revenue, a significant variable thrown into this whole thing.


RELATED: Return-to-play negotiations: How Rob Manfred and Adam Silver's roles differ

So how many games are going to be played? That remains a question without an answer.

If the players refuse further pay cuts, as they’ve said they will, then perhaps a roughly 50-game season would be in the cards. If there are concessions as negotiations continue, that number could grow. Martino outlined that if the owners agree to pay those full prorated salaries for more than 50 games, perhaps we’ll see expanded playoffs, which was part of the players’ last proposal the league rejected. Perhaps we’d see players mic’d up during games. Perhaps we’d see the union stop demanding full financial transparency from ownership.

But no budging from either side and the league’s 50-game plan seems more realistic, despite the frustration it could spark among fans. While a 50-game schedule would mean a lot more off days, creating health benefits for players related to both typical baseball maladies and the coronavirus, it could be argued it would be an illegitimate way to crown a champion. However, there’s an argument to be made that a 50-game sprint would be a fascinating contrast to baseball’s typical 162-game marathon, often criticized for its at times glacial pace.

If the two sides can come to an agreement, perhaps that wished-for July 4 Opening Day would still be possible, though teams would have to hustle to start a second round of spring training, which was originally pitched to begin next week. If they can’t, then the league’s mandated 50-game season might start closer to the end of July, with the postseason played as usual, during the month of October.

But with the league adamant about the playoffs wrapping up no later than early November, fearing an increase in COVID-19 infections come fall, time is of the essence. And that’s what makes Martino say that next week is when we’ll find out how much baseball will be played in 2020.

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.