White Sox fans are going to like Manny Machado's high school baseball coach. Why? Because he thinks the 26-year-old free-agent superstar is coming to the South Side.
Lazaro Fundora, Machado's high school coach in Miami, told NJ.com's Brendan Kuty that the White Sox will be where Machado ends up — because it's where he can play shortstop.
"As far as where he could play shortstop, for instance, that’s why I think the White Sox could be it," Fundora said in the interview. "That’s just me thinking as a baseball guy.
"Well, if you want to play short, that will probably be the best venue for him."
That's an interesting thought for a lot of people, Tim Anderson probably chief among them.
It's well known that Machado prefers to play shortstop, and you'd think that every team involved in this derby — the White Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees — would be willing to let him do so. But all of them have shortstops already, to one degree or another.
Anderson is arguably the most entrenched of any of them, one of the few long-term pieces currently on the White Sox major league roster and a player under contract for at least the next four seasons. His defensive improvement at shortstop was one of the high points of last year's 100-loss season on the South Side. Machado is obviously an incredible player with an excellent track record, and it wouldn't be ridiculous to move Anderson to another position — something the team-oriented Anderson would likely have no problem doing. But Machado is also a two-time Gold Glove winner at third base, a position where the White Sox don't have an obvious long-term answer. And hundreds of millions of dollars make a convincing argument to slide back over to the hot corner. Of course, there's been plenty of talk that the White Sox might move second baseman Yoan Moncada to third base, in part because of the long-term projection of last year's first-round pick, Nick madrigal, a defensive whiz on the middle infield.
Meanwhile, the Yankees have an even more complex situation on their infield. Didi Gregorius will be on the mend from Tommy John surgery for the first few months of the 2019 season, creating a hole at shortstop that it seemed like Machado would be a no-brainer to fill. Gregorius is also slated to be a free agent after the 2019 season. Then the Yankees signed Troy Tulowitzki to a league-minimum deal, creating all sorts of uproar, and they've been rumored to be potentially trying to trade Miguel Andujar, their third baseman who nearly won AL Rookie of the Year honors last season. It's been speculated they could also move Andujar to first base, too.
The Phillies might actually have the clearest path for Machado to play shortstop. Yes, they acquired Jean Segura in a trade with the Seattle Mariners earlier this offseason, but it's been discussed he could be moved around more easily, perhaps just over to second base.
Fundora also brought up Machado's long-held desire to play for the Yankees. But he said that the desire to play shortstop could trump that. (So, too, most likely, would that team's reported unwillingness to offer a really big contract.)
"He’s been a Yankees fan his whole life," Fundora said in the interview. "Anybody would like to wear those pinstripes, would love to play with the Yankees. I think that’s definitely up there. But as far as where he could play shortstop, for instance, that’s why I think the White Sox could be it."
That's some interesting reasoning that you think wouldn't exactly be at the top of Machado's list of demands. Money, city, the potential for winning championships and comfort with an organization would figure to be more important factors.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.