Chicago White Sox

Lessons and tidbits from the Manny Machado negotiations

Lessons and tidbits from the Manny Machado negotiations

It's reasonable to assume, given what we know about the Phillies' pursuit of Manny Machado and their unwillingness to go to $300 million to get him, that their best offer to him was in the mid-$200 millions over a slightly shorter term. 

Something in the $250 million range, perhaps higher, over seven or eight years — an enormous amount of money and also an average annual salary directly in line with what Machado will receive over 10 years from San Diego.

Such a deal would have netted Machado the highest per-year figure of any position player ever. In the end, he opted for the most guaranteed money and you can't blame him for doing so.

According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the White Sox offered Machado eight years and $250 million with options and incentives that could have taken the deal to $350 million. Those options, per USA Today, were two vesting options worth $35 million apiece. 

You can see why Machado opted for the guaranteed money over the possibility of earning more through options and incentives. Those options would have obviously been at the very end of his deal, and it wouldn't have been overly likely that he'd reach them by playing or producing enough at ages 33 and 34. In other words, the $60 million guaranteed Machado will earn in Years 9 and 10 of his Padres deal will probably be more than he could've gotten after eight guaranteed years from another club.

You can't fault a team like the Phillies or White Sox for not matching 10 years and $300 million. "What's the difference between $250M and $300M," some might ask, but it's a huge difference. Especially when the $50 million difference in question would be paid during the player's age-35 and age-36 seasons, which don't figure to be great years. Players do not age gracefully in their mid-30s the way they did during the Steroid Era. It's a major reason why the multi-year deal has disappeared for veteran, non-star free agents.

Beware the mystery team

A few more interesting tidbits about the Machado negotiation process, from Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

The Padres did not emerge as an actual suitor for Machado until mid-January. It's yet another cautionary tale of why the connections made publicly aren't always the most meaningful. Everything about Machado-the-Padre now feels and sounds right, yet at the beginning of the offseason not a single person predicted it.

It's why you should be hesitant to instantly dismiss the words "mystery team" as an agent's construct. A lot of times, teams linger in the periphery and will be willing to pounce if everything lines up.

When will Harper sign?

By all accounts, Bryce Harper and Scott Boras are seeking a long-term deal, a similar length to what Machado received. But if the $300 million-plus offers for Harper do not materialize because fewer teams are in on him, Harper and Boras could change course and go shorter, which would bring more teams back into the fold. The complexity of this all is why a Harper signing might not be imminent. (Sorry.)

This process could end 20 minutes from now with a phone call, but there's also reason to believe it will plod along. Boras will find a way to extract top dollar even in an altered market. He almost always does.

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Manny Machado sweepstakes are set up for Phillies to win

Manny Machado sweepstakes are set up for Phillies to win

Updated: 5:30 p.m.

If Manny Machado is still the Phillies' preferred big-ticket free agent — and the belief here is that he is — there is no excuse for them not landing him.

We base this on some new reporting from Buster Olney of ESPN. Olney reports that the Chicago White Sox, considered the Phillies' main competitor in the Machado sweepstakes, have offered the player a seven-year contract worth $175 million.

This is remarkably low considering Machado — and the game's other mega free agent, Bryce Harper — entered the offseason looking for record deals of more than $300 million.

To put this in perspective, there are already 13 players in the big leagues on deals of $175 million or more.

The Phillies have deep pockets and they have been gearing for this offseason for several years. If the number cited in the ESPN report is true, then the Phillies undoubtedly will blow by it — they probably already have — and make the most lucrative offer to Machado. Even if the White Sox were to add a year and $25 million (the average annual value of their offer) to their pitch to Machado, the Phillies would have no trouble blowing by that. There are a dozen players in the majors making at least $25 million per season. This is hardly stupid money, to use the phrase that has become legendary in these parts.

So, it's time to lock this thing down and go get Machado, especially if that $175 million figure is accurate.

Of course, issues remain in the Phillies' pursuit of Machado.

One is the Yankees. Are they in or are they out? Sources say they like Machado but won't go crazy to get him. Well, the prices being cited are hardly crazy. Maybe even the Cardinals would jump in at the White Sox' number. But would either of these teams spend stupid money? Probably not. Advantage Phillies.

The other factor is Harper. The Phillies had a very nice get-to-know-you meeting with him Saturday in Las Vegas, but there has been no firm sign that he has zoomed past Machado as the team's preferred free agent and there has been no firm sign that Harper prefers the Phillies over other suitors.

What is undeniable is that the Phillies have long pursued Machado. Their front office has been angling for ways to get him for two years. They tried to get him in July and are pursuing him at the moment. Now comes news that the Phillies' chief competitor hasn't even reached $200 million in its offer. This thing is shaping up beautifully for the Phillies, a team whose greatest resource is just what Machado is looking for — money.

Now, none of this ensures that this drama is about to reach an end. Surely, Machado and his representatives can't be thrilled that the market for the player isn't, well, more lucrative. Surely, they will wait this thing out and try to push the price higher.

Later Wednesday afternoon, Machado's agent, Dan Lozano, issued a sharply-worded statement and called Olney's report false and reckless.

Surely, Harper will continue to look for something more than the $300 million he reportedly turned down from Washington and may or may not still have on the table.

Other than Olney's report today, things seem very quiet on the Phillies' pursuit of these top two free agents. At least not a lot of new information has been revealed. This quiet could signal that talks between the Phillies and Machado have reached a sensitive stage. Or maybe talks between the Phillies and Harper have reached a sensitive stage.

The guess here is that the Phillies are still on Machado and this thing is set up for them to win.

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Recent Manny Machado-centric moves made by Yankees and White Sox are meaningless

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USA Today Images

Recent Manny Machado-centric moves made by Yankees and White Sox are meaningless

Baseball, basketball, football, no matter the sport, rarely does a star free agent’s decision come down to anything other than money and winning. 

Manny Machado is making visits this week. He was in Chicago with the White Sox on Monday and will also visit Yankee Stadium before coming to Philly for a visit Thursday. 

And while Machado makes the rounds, speculation is rampant that his other suitors are making moves to entice him. 

First, there was the White Sox trading for first baseman Yonder Alonso, whose sister is Machado's wife and who lives in the same complex as him in Florida.

Then, there was the Yankees’ adding outfielder and future Hall of Famer Carlos Beltran to their front office. Beltran shares an agent with Machado. 

Let’s be real. Neither development matters. Machado is not going to turn down extra money or extra years under contract because the White Sox now employ his brother-in-law, or because Beltran is now consulting with the Yankees. 

This is Machado’s chance at a historic, life-changing payday. The money, realism of contending and position he’ll play are what matter most. 

If Machado picks the Yankees, it will be because that’s where he’s always wanted to play. If he picks the White Sox, it will be because he’s a crazy person.

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