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.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.