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.
To clarify a report out there attributed to me, I was only speculating about a recent rumor that I had heard, not “reporting it as fact” .— Jim Duquette (@Jim_Duquette) February 9, 2019
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.