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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Manny Machado's agent has had ENOUGH of these contract rumors and we can't blame him

Manny Machado's agent has had ENOUGH of these contract rumors and we can't blame him

MAKE IT STOP.

To recap: today's Manny Machado rumors started with a somewhat head-turning report that his sitting offer was 7-years and $175 million. 

That settles it. Buster Olney is trustworthy and the White Sox have offered that much money and baseball's impending work stoppage is moving on as planned, full steam ahead. 

Ha! Just kidding. That is of course not where things went from there: 

Uhhh, sure! Everyone has heard everything and yet no one knows how much money Manny Machado is about to get over how many years. This prompted Machado's agent to tweet out this piece of art:

"I have known Bob Nightengale and Buster Olney for many years and have always had a good professional relationship with both," Lozano said in a statement. "But their recent reporting, like many other rumors in the past several months, have been inaccurate and reckless when it comes to Manny Machado. I don't know if their sources are blatantly violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement by intentionally misleading them to try and affect negotiations through the public or are just flat out lying to them for other reasons. But the truth is that their reports on the details of the White Sox's level of interest in Manny are completely wrong.

"I am well aware that the entire baseball universe -- fans, players, teams and media members alike -- are starved for information about this free agent market for all players, including Manny. But I am not going to continue to watch the press be manipualated into tampering with, not just with my client, but all of these players' livelihoods as they have been doing this entire offseason. The absence of new information to report is no excuse to fabricate 'news' or regurgitate falsehoods without even attempting to confirm their validity, and it is a disservice to baseball fans everywhere when the media does just that.

"Moving forward, I will continue to respect the CBA's prohibition on negotiations through the media and hope that others would do the same."

It is extremely amusing that a power broker like Dan Lozano 1. is faking outrage about negotiating in the media 2. acting like leaked reports that perhaps sway team perception is a thing that has never happened before Machado. 

White Sox Team of the Future: Second base

White Sox Team of the Future: Second base

What will the next championship-contending White Sox team look like?

That's what we're setting out to determine (or at least make a guess at) this month. Ten members of our White Sox content team here at NBC Sports Chicago put our heads together to try to project what each position on the diamond would look like in one, two, three years. Basically, we posed the question: What will the White Sox starting lineup be the next time they're capable of playing in the World Series?

That question can have a bunch of different answers, too. We didn't limit ourselves to players currently a part of the organization. Think the White Sox are gonna make a big free-agent addition? Vote for that player. Think the White Sox are gonna pull off a huge trade? Vote for that player. We wanted to see some creativity.

A first-round draft pick isn't assured to rocket through the farm system. Jake Burger, the White Sox first-round pick in 2017, hasn't played above Class A Kannapolis, thanks in part to a pair of Achilles tears last year. Zack Collins has spent two and a half years in the White Sox system after they spent a first-round pick on him in 2016. Carson Fulmer, the first-round pick in 2015, did move quickly through the system, but his long-term major league future is a question mark after he struggled mightily at the big league and Triple-A levels in 2018.

Nick Madrigal might be different.

In fewer than 40 games as a pro after the White Sox used the No. 4 pick on him last summer, Madrigal played at three different levels and showed what made team brass call him "the best all-around player in college baseball." It's why he's our second baseman of the future.

Madrigal has more than a couple things going for him. He's touted as a Gold Glove type defender on the middle infield. He doesn't strike out, like at all, doing so just five times in 173 minor league plate appearances. He reaches base often (a .353 on-base percentage) and hits for a high average (.303 batting average). He has plenty of experience playing winning baseball, earning a College World Series championship with his Oregon State teammates in 2018.

All that makes his future not only look bright but makes his future look near.

The White Sox, of course, aren't putting a timeline on when Madrigal could reach the majors. They don't do that with any of their prized prospects. But Madrigal seems to be on the fast track, whether that's just because he was advanced from playing high-level college ball for so long or because he's just really good. He's likely to play at the Double-A level in 2019, and if he succeeds there, who knows? Rick Hahn always says the good ones have a way of changing the team's plans. Could Madrigal rapidly reach the bigs and help the rebuilding White Sox transition from rebuilding to contending in the next year or two?

Regardless of when he arrives, the White Sox are obviously high on Madrigal's abilities. The question is which position he'll be playing when he gets to the South Side. The good news for the White Sox is that Madrigal brings versatility on the infield. He spent time at second and short at Oregon State. He almost exclusively played second base in the minors last season.

“I’ve worked on different positions throughout my life in the infield,” Madrigal said when meeting with reporters in September. “When my dad hit me ground balls, I made sure to take them from both sides of the bag, just to make sure I had that in my back pocket. I’ve played a lot of shortstop my whole life.

“When I was really young I caught, so I feel like I’ve played almost every position on the field and I feel comfortable doing that.”

Last time he caught, he was 11., so let's focus on the middle infield. The White Sox are talking about moving current second baseman Yoan Moncada over to third, not necessary because Madrigal is on the way, but that's part of it. Of course, if Manny Machado picks the White Sox, the entire infield alignment could be thrown into disarray.

But Madrigal seems to have the stuff to be the second baseman of the future. The question then becomes how quick can he get here?

Other vote-getters

Yoan Moncada. Moncada is obviously the second baseman of the present, and the guy who isn't too far removed from being the No. 1 prospect in baseball is very much a part of the White Sox long-term plans. Fans might have soured on his potential after his 217 strikeouts last season, but the White Sox see it as a step in his path to big league stardom. Where that will be, though, is not set in stone. As mentioned, the team has discussed moving him to third base, in part because Madrigal is on the way and could provide an elite glove at second. Moncada made 21 errors at second last season. Should Machado arrive on the South Side, however, Moncada might get the opportunity to stay at second. Or he might go to third anyway. Or he might stay at second if the White Sox don't get Machado. They're undecided.

Starlin Castro. Here's creativity in action. One of our voters sees the second baseman of the future arriving as a free agent after either the 2019 or 2020 season (he's got an option for 2020). Currently a Miami Marlin, Castro's been a Cub and a New York Yankee, too. He's already logged nine big league seasons and has done so to the tune of a career .281/.321/.411 slash line. That might not leap off the screen, but considering the White Sox could be loaded elsewhere on the diamond, Castro could be a nice piece to finish off the lineup, if need be. He's only two years removed from a career-best .792 OPS and his fourth All-Star appearance. Is Castro at the top of folks' free-agent wish lists? Probably not. But he certainly could be an under-the-radar move that helps complete a contending roster.

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