11:53pm: In a contrasting report, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link) that the White Sox haven’t increased their original seven-year offer to Machado.
11:25pm: The eight-year offer is worth $250MM, as per Z101Digital’s Hector Gomez (hat tip to MLB.com’s Scott Merkin).
9:58pm: The White Sox have offered an eight-year contract to free agent infielder Manny Machado, ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan reports. We heard last week that Chicago had formally put an offer on the table for Machado, as per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, though it isn’t known if this eight-year pact is that same deal, or if the Sox have upped their offer. That previous deal was “likely closer to $200 million than $300 million” in Nightengale’s words.
The eight-year threshold seemingly represents a new step in the ongoing talks between Machado and the White Sox, as 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine had previously reported that the Sox were only willing to hand out seven-year deals to either Machado or Bryce Harper. The White Sox now seem to be a bit closer to Machado’s desire for at least a decade-long contract, though if he is “sitting on” Chicago’s offer, as Passan writes, it indicates that Machado is still holding out to see if another team can top the White Sox with a longer and more expensive offer.
There seem to be at least three suitors in play for Machado at this time, as Passan notes that the White Sox and Phillies (who are “still engaged” with Machado) have been told that a mystery team is also interested. The Yankees have been linked to Machado this winter, though they might not be the third suitor, as recent reports seem to indicate a waning interest in Machado’s services.
If the Yankees are indeed out, and the Phillies have now become the favorites to land Bryce Harper, Machado could find himself down to just two suitors. It’s anyone’s guess, of course, about who the mystery team could be or what they might be willing to offer (or if the team exists at all, and isn’t just a negotiating tactic by Machado’s camp). While Passan suggests that Chicago’s willingness to go to eight years could indicate some flexibility to add a ninth or even a tenth year to an offer, the White Sox might not feel such pressure if they perceive that they already have the highest bid. The White Sox have already sailed well above their financial comfort zone in bidding on Machado — an eight-year deal in the $200MM+ range dwarfs the previous largest deal in franchise history, Jose Abreu’s six-year/$68MM pact.