Are the White Sox zeroing in on a happy ending to the Manny Machado free-agency saga?
According to a report from NBC LA's Michael Duarte, there's a belief the 26-year-old free-agent superstar is "heavily leaning" toward signing with the White Sox, though it sounds like it's not exactly close to being a done deal.
A rival MLB executive believes Manny Machado is heavily leaning towards accepting the offer from the Chicago White Sox. Deal could be announced this week or could still fall through. #MachadoMonday #WhiteSox— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) January 14, 2019
Now, thanks to all of the careful wording in that tweet, this might come across as a sort of non-update, and perhaps that's what it is. It's what one member of a front office believes will happen.
That being said, it was reported last week that Machado's decision could come within a week, and it's been about a week, meaning there's potential for a Machado decision very soon.
As for the White Sox offer, the details have been of much debate over the past day. Sunday night, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported the White Sox had offered Machado an eight-year deal — and that they could even go bigger. That seemed to be an upping of their previously reported offer of seven years for about $200 million. But a flood of reports came in after the sun came up Monday saying that the White Sox were sticking to their "original" offer.
The only team bidding against the White Sox in this sweepstakes appears to be the Philadelphia Phillies, whose owner said they would be "a little bit stupid" with their spending this offseason. But the Phillies have their hands in numerous pies this winter, also in pursuit of the other mega free agent on the market, Bryce Harper. They met with Harper over the weekend in Las Vegas, and it's unknown how that meeting will affect their pursuit of Machado. Passan and SNY's Andy Martino reported on the existence of a third, mystery team, though who knows if there really is one or which team it might be.
And so we wait. Still.
If Machado does wind up accepting the White Sox offer, however — and if that offer ends up being seven years for about $200 million — it will be a shocking difference from the expectations at the beginning of the offseason, when Machado was expected to get one of the richest deals in baseball history, one potentially lasting a decade and worth $300 million or more. And it would be shocking then, as it is now, that only two or three teams ended up in the running for such a young, talented player like Machado.
Baseball's annual rounds of free agency seem to keep getting more and more bizarre. And with the constant barrage of updates (or non-updates) and no decision coming from the two biggest names on the market for so long, this offseason might count as the weirdest yet.