Jan. 4: In a full column, Nightengale cites four sources in reporting that Chicago has indeed issued an offer to Machado. However, while there’s no specific dollar amount revealed, he suggests that it’s “likely closer to $200 million than $300 million” in total value.
Meanwhile, Fancred’s Jon Heyman characterizes the Sox as a “long shot” for Harper (Twitter link), perhaps further underscoring that Chicago is more focused on Machado. It’s worth noting, however, that Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that the South Siders’ presentation to Harper “impressed [him] more than he anticipated.”
Regardless, a Machado agreement hardly seems imminent. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes (subscription required) that agent Dan Lozano is “barely engaging” teams on Machado at the moment and is instead “waiting for a team to jump.” The White Sox’ offer, while somewhat of a jump, doesn’t sound the be in the vicinity that most expected Machado to command.
Jan. 3: The White Sox have been frequently linked to both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado this offseason, but USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that they’re more engaged on Machado at the moment and recently extended a formal offer to the free-agent infielder. The ChiSox has not yet taken that step with Harper, Nightengale adds.
Details of the prospective contract aren’t known, though the very fact that a formal offer has been put forth is nonetheless notable. The White Sox have been motivated all offseason to add some established big league talent to their roster as they look to begin emerging from a rebuild, but to this point, the biggest names they’ve added have been reliever Alex Colome and right-hander Ivan Nova — both via the trade market. Adding Machado to the mix would be a clear signal that the Sox are earnestly attempting to turn the page.
The White Sox, though, have competition for both Harper and Machado, regardless of whether formal offers have been made or not. The Yankees and Phillies are reported to be active pursuers of Machado, while the Dodgers, Nationals, Phillies and Cubs are among the teams most prominently linked to Harper. In that same vein, Nightengale tweets that the Phillies’ signing of David Robertson today will likely turn their focus to both Harper and Machado, and other teams expect Philadelphia to be the high bidder on both free agents.
Similarly, WEEI’s Rob Bradford wrote earlier today that the Phillies’ pursuit of Harper and Machado could impact their approach to addressing the bullpen; Bradford suggested that the Phils, who had interest in Craig Kimbrel, would likely bow out on Kimbrel if they signed Harper or Machado. The fact that the Phillies proactively pursued a more affordable option for the back of their bullpen is of at least some note if there was a sense that they wouldn’t make a play for one of the top two position players and Kimbrel.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported yesterday that the White Sox were willing to make an offer of 10 years or more to Harper, though Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago/670 The Score followed that by saying the ChiSox weren’t willing to go beyond seven years for either Harper or Machado. Whatever the White Sox’ threshold is, they’ve apparently made their starting point known to Machado at this point. With Philadelphia having wrapped up some bullpen business earlier today, it stands to reason that they’ll follow suit in the relatively near future as well.