White Sox

New rumor in Manny Machado sweepstakes: White Sox have competition from Yankees, who have supposedly made $220 million offer

New rumor in Manny Machado sweepstakes: White Sox have competition from Yankees, who have supposedly made $220 million offer

The White Sox are no longer the only team whose offer to Manny Machado has been thrown into the public arena.

They stood alone in that category, with various reports detailing their offer as being worth seven years and somewhere around $200 million. Those numbers got more specific, with $175 million over seven years being the most recent example, though Machado's agent, Dan Lozano, rushed to call that figure inaccurate. The high end, reports of a contract worth $250 million, got shot down by a flurry of follow-up reports within hours.

Well, add another team to the list. Former general manager Jim Duquette appeared on SNY on Saturday morning and said he heard that the New York Yankees have made an offer to Machado worth $220 million.

"It's been very difficult to find out a lot of this because the agents, both Dan Lozano and Scott Boras for (Bryce) Harper, are keeping it real tight. But what I've been told here recently was that the Yankees' offer — a lot of times these are out there and they're not necessarily in writing but they're hypothetical — was somewhere in that seven-year, eight-year range for $220 million," he said. "The problem is, there's a lot of teams that are in that range, also, and it doesn't really distinguish them from others. I do hear there's another club that's gone further than that.

"It's not much different than what we were thinking earlier in the winter in terms of, I don't think the Yankees are going to be the highest bidder, even though they're willing to make an aggressive offer. That's an aggressive offer. Machado's going to have other options that are probably higher in other cities, including Philly and other places, and he's going to make a decision."

Duquette made sure to emphasize that he wasn't exactly reporting something but merely passing along something he heard, which makes this far from the most concrete information ever presented.

But given the dearth of information surrounding offers to the two biggest names on the free-agent market, this is somewhat notable, especially as the figure Duquette relayed is $45 million more than the most recently reported number associated with the White Sox offer.

Throughout the offseason, the Yankees have been an ongoing mystery when it comes to their desire to add Machado at all. Machado supposedly prefers to play in The Bronx, the team he grew up rooting for, and he did travel there on his free-agent tour in December. But the Yankees have carried on with their offseason while Machado, and Harper, for that matter, have stalled on their decision making. They've spent quite a bit on bullpen upgrades and filled up an already crowded infield with free agents Troy Tulowitzki and D.J. LeMahieu. All that seemed to take them out of the Machado sweepstakes.

But the Yankees are the Yankees, and owner Hal Steinbrenner sparked new speculation that they might not yet be out of the sweepstakes with comments Friday at the owners meetings in Orlando.

"I don’t think it’s ever done," he told reporters. "Look, if somebody comes — I haven’t changed — I mean if somebody comes to me with a suggestion or a proposal, I’m going to seriously consider it right up until Opening Day or after. That’s part of my leave-no-stone-unturned (policy), right?"

The White Sox continue to be described as the most likely landing spot for Machado. But the Yankees could provide even stiffer competition than the Philadelphia Phillies or San Diego Padres, given Machado's supposed preference to play there.

That being said, even $220 million might be nowhere near the type of contract Lozano is trying to get for his client, with a report out just Friday saying that he's looking for at least $300 million. That same report, from The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, described the White Sox preferred approach and their desire not to get into a bidding war with other clubs.

The White Sox remain confident in their future-focused pitch highlighting their loaded farm system and what kind of winning that core could do over the next decade. But the Yankees can offer a vastly greater opportunity to win championships in the immediate. After winning 100 games last season, they could very well be the preseason World Series favorite. And given Duquette's prediction that the Yankees won't end up the highest bidder, it's possible the White Sox offer the richer contract in the end. Though it was reported earlier this offseason that if the money was equal, Machado would prefer to sign with the Yankees. The Phillies, according to Rosenthal, are confident they can outbid anyone, but they have a simultaneous pursuit of Harper to worry about, too.

Things seem to be getting a bit more complicated for the White Sox, who certainly remain committed to bringing in a premium talent to advance their rebuilding project. Whether that happens this offseason or next offseason hinges on Machado and Harper's decisions, which just days from the start of spring training have yet to be made. And now, maybe, there's the Yankees to worry about.

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G-Elite-O: Lucas Giolito turns in his best outing of the year by silencing Twins

G-Elite-O: Lucas Giolito turns in his best outing of the year by silencing Twins

"Lucas G-Elite-O."

That shirt was visible while Lucas Giolito's younger brother, Casey, was being ... I guess you would call it "interviewed" by Bill Walton last week in Anaheim.

The T-shirt is right. The White Sox most definitely have an elite arm on their hands.

The elder Giolito brother, the All-Star pitcher and ace of the South Side starting staff, has bounced back from his post All-Star break bump in the road and returned to the dominant form that made him a Cy Young candidate in the first half.

Wednesday he turned in what was probably his finest performance of the season to date, silencing a Minnesota Twins team that lit him up for seven runs less than a month ago. This time through the menacing Twins lineup, Giolito tossed nine shutout innings, allowed just three hits, walked no one and struck out 12 batters. It was his third straight start with double-digit strikeouts, and he's got 36 of them in those three outings.

He was downright filthy Wednesday, keeping quiet a lineup that leads baseball in home runs and torched White Sox pitching for 14 runs just hours earlier on Tuesday night.

Wednesday's performance went hand in hand with his other shutout of the season, when he kept the Houston Astros from crossing home plate back in May. That night he was also excellent, but with fewer hits and walks allowed and more strikeouts against the Twins, I'll give the title of best outing of the year to Wednesday's.

Perhaps more impressive than anything, though, has been Giolito adding to the theme of this resurgent season, bouncing back when trouble has struck. It's the general transformation that's taken him from the highest ERA among qualified starters in 2018 to an All Star this season. Both Giolito and catcher James McCann have noticed one of the biggest differences being that early damage in games doesn't rattle him like it did last season. And now we have Giolito erasing a less-than-ideal stretch to return to dominant form.

Giolito's ERA was down to 2.22 after six innings of one-run ball against the New York Yankees on June 14. In the seven starts that followed, his ERA exploded to 3.52 thanks to a 6.38 ERA in those seven outings. He gave up 26 runs and 39 hits in those 36.2 innings. He's responded phenomenally, with a 2.12 ERA in his last six starts, a stretch that's featured 53 strikeouts and just nine walks in 34 innings. His season ERA stands at 3.20.

For any who might be skeptical that this is the pitcher Giolito will be for years to come, that's a pretty good sign.

In general, there seems to be a good deal of skepticism surrounding how the White Sox rotation will fare in 2020, and much of it is plenty warranted. Michael Kopech will be coming off Tommy John surgery with just four major league starts under his belt. Reynaldo Lopez has been mostly excellent since the All-Star break but had a miserable first half. Dylan Cease has struggled from a results standpoint in his brief big league tenure, with a 5.93 ERA in eight starts. And until the White Sox start making moves this winter, we don't even know who will occupy that fifth spot.

But Giolito is doing his best to show that he can be relied on to be a force at the top of that rotation. Performances against two of the best teams in baseball, the Astros and Twins, have been the biggest exclamation points on that statement to date.

It wouldn't be surprising, though, to hear that "reliable" isn't enough for him. It's not "G-Reliable-O," after all.

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In interview, Jose Abreu says Jerry Reinsdorf told him he'll never play for another team

In interview, Jose Abreu says Jerry Reinsdorf told him he'll never play for another team

The evidence that Jose Abreu will be back with the White Sox after his contract ends at the end of this season has been ample throughout 2019.

Here's some more.

In an interview with the Sun-Times' Daryl Van Schouwen, the slugging first baseman said that White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has told him that he will play for the White Sox for the remainder of his major league career.

"Jerry, several times, has told me and my family that I am not going to wear a jersey other than a White Sox jersey," Abreu told Van Schouwen. "I believe him. I believe in his word. And like I said, I’m very happy with and loyal to this organization. Hopefully everything is going to pan out."

That's the latest example of the mutual admiration between Abreu and the White Sox. Abreu has spent much of 2019 talking about his love for the organization and his desire to stay with the team as it makes the transition from rebuilding mode to contention mode. Likewise, White Sox brass continuously talks about how much Abreu means to the team, not only as a productive hitter but as a mentor for the team's growing group of young players.

“The impact that I don’t think he really knows that he has is how hard of a worker he is,” James McCann said last month at the All-Star Game in Cleveland. “He’s a superstar. He’s a three-time All Star, he puts up unreal numbers, he’s setting organizational records. But you wouldn’t know that based on the way that he acts, the way that he goes about his business, the way that he works. He’s the first one in the cage, he’s in the weight room every day, he leads by example.

“So for me, the impact that he has is when a young kid shows up there and thinks he’s made it and then looks at this guy over here who’s busting his tail day in and day out. That’s only a good thing. It helps the culture. It helps the clubhouse realize, ‘Hey, we’ve still got to work.’”

While general manager Rick Hahn has made it clear that it's unlikely Abreu would get a new deal before the end of the season, with the White Sox preferring to take care of such business in the offseason, he's also said that it's "very likely" Abreu will be around for the good times after experiencing nothing but losing records in his six big league seasons with the White Sox since coming over from Cuba ahead of the 2014 campaign.

Abreu's resume is undeniably terrific, a three-time All Star with consistent levels of production that made him just the third player in major league history — along with Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols — to start his big league career with four straight seasons of at least 25 home runs and 100 RBIs.

He's also red hot at the moment, with a .325/.382/.613 slash line to go along with six home runs and 20 RBIs in 20 games this month. And that's before he started Wednesday's game with three hits. He's on pace to smash his career high for RBIs, up to 96 of them on the campaign as of this writing. After a pair of freak injuries last season that limited his production in 2018, Abreu has played in every White Sox game but one this season.

The White Sox have repeatedly mentioned their love for Abreu as a mentor and role model for all the organization's young players, and it's clear that they hold him in the same esteem as players who have their numbers retired and have statues built at Guaranteed Rate Field. Reinsdorf presented Abreu with a specially made ring when Abreu hit for the cycle in 2017.

Abreu has returned that love over and over again in his comments, and it seems like a new contract between the two parties is inevitable.

"I’m telling you guys that if the White Sox don’t sign me, I’m going to sign here anyway. I’m going to sign myself here," he said last month. "I’m going to be here, believe me. I’m going to be here.

"I don’t want to miss this, I don’t want to miss what is coming, and I’m going to be here."

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