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If the White Sox truly are the favorite to land Manny Machado, now we know what kind of contract they've offered him to put themselves in that position.

Hours after USA Today's Bob Nightengale predicted that Machado would end up playing on the South Side, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the White Sox have made Machado an eight-year contract offer.

That differs, though only slightly, from reports earlier this month of the White Sox making a six- or seven-year offer to Machado. And as for what the dollar amount on such a deal might be, there's no new information from Passan supplanting Nightengale's earlier report of around $200 million. But Hector Gomez reported Sunday night that the offer is worth $250 million.

Nightengale followed up those reports with his own, however, saying the White Sox haven't moved past that seven-year offer, and by including the phrase "original" in his tweet, it figures he's referring to the one he reported as being worth "closer to $200 million than $300 million."

Of course, a lot could have changed in the wake of the Philadelphia Phillies' meeting with the game's other mega free agent, Bryce Harper, this weekend in Las Vegas. Nightengale wrote Sunday that the Phillies are prepared to make the biggest offers for both Harper and Machado, and perhaps the White Sox felt compelled to up their six- or seven-year offer to something lasting a year longer and worth a great deal more. Perhaps not.

 

Passan added that the Phillies are "still engaged" with Machado despite their meeting with Harper and Machado's eight-year offer from the White Sox. Meanwhile, Nightengale reported earlier that the Washington Nationals appear long shots to get back into the Harper derby, even though they were recently discussed as a strong possibility thanks to a pre-Christmas meeting. The White Sox, reportedly, have still not made an offer to Harper, who they've been in on much of the offseason.

All of that needs to be taken into account when discussing the White Sox competition for Machado, which appears to be solely the Phillies. The New York Yankees, Machado's supposed preferred team, seemingly took themselves out of that sweepstakes by acquiring free-agent infielder D.J. LeMahieu last week. If the Phillies are the "clear-cut favorite" for Harper, as Nightengale described them, then is there still a chance they can sign Machado, too? Well, yes. While acquiring both 26-year-old superstars would seem even out of the price range of the "spend stupid" Phillies, they appear to have the desire to get it done, especially if they get creative with shorter deals.

But that's where an eight-year, $250 million contract offer could come in handy.

Passan suggests that this offer from the White Sox could merely be a step in the bidding process for Machado, with the deal eventually getting pushed to the decade-long status many believed it would take to land either of these free agents at the beginning of the offseason. The White Sox had been previously reported to not want to go past seven years in their offers to either Machado or Harper. But now here we stand.

As for when Machado's decision might happen, it was reported that it could come as quickly as the middle of this week. But with a potentially new status quo after Harper's face-to-face meeting with the Phillies, who knows? It's long been speculated that these sagas could stretch into February, and while the White Sox are still in on Harper — having met with him twice in Vegas, according to reports — if they haven't even made him an offer yet, that could signal that the process is far from over. Or it could signal they're not as much in on Harper as the Phillies are.

Passan reported Sunday night that there is a mysterious third team in on Machado, as well, but it seems a possibility that only a few outcomes remain. Nightengale forecasted Harper going to Philly and Machado going to the South Side. Perhaps the two join forces in Philly.

How will it end? When will it end? Questions we only wish we had answers to. Stay tuned.

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