Earlier this week, Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that Manny Machado was likely to sign before Bryce Harper, saying that the four-time All-Star’s decision could come in the near future. If the Phillies want to assure Machado’s free-agency concludes with him wearing their shade of pinstripes, it’s becoming clearer just how much they may have to offer.
Machado visited three teams late in 2018; the Phillies, New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox. Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports says that the belief around the league is that if all three finalists deliver similar offers, the 26-year-old will sign with the Yankees. It’s been one of the worst kept secrets in baseball that Machado, who grew up a fan of Alex Rodriguez, is fond of the idea of playing in the Bronx.
None of that is new. What is new are some of the exact figures that could be offered by the trio of teams competing for Machado. Heyman says that it’s possible that all three teams issue final offers between $200 and $250 million. If all three come within that $50 million range, Machado will likely choose the Yankees, per Heyman. That gives you a good idea of just how much the Phillies may have to outbid the Yankees in the Machado sweepstakes.
It is worth noting that any deal between $200 and $250 million would be presumed by most to be over 10 years. But that may not be the case – we don’t know that any of the teams competing for Machado will ultimately make decade-long offers.
Jack Curry of the YES Network said late in 2018 that while the Yankees believe Machado wants to sign with them, they also think the Phillies are going to offer Machado 10 years, at least two more than they would feel comfortable going to. However, George A. King III of The New York Post reported over the weekend that there’s industry speculation that the Phillies may not be keen on the idea of offering Machado a 10-year deal. (Passan reported that the Phillies “are known” to be willing to sign Harper to a deal that’s at least 10 years long. Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported that the Phillies plan to meet with Harper for the first time in the near future, though it’s unclear if there would still be serious interest from the Phillies if Machado were to pick them in the meantime.) USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale says that the White Sox have made an offer to Machado, though it’s “likely closer to $200 million than $300 million.” A $200 million offer would presumably be over seven or eight years, which makes sense considering Bruce Levine of 670 The Score says that the White Sox don’t plan to offer a 10-year deal to either Machado or Harper.
Theoretically, the Phillies could offer Machado a nine-year/$300 million deal, which would allow them to likely have the highest total value in the deal ($33.3 million per year) and not issue a 10-year deal. NBC Sports Philadelphia‘s Corey Seidman made a good point in saying that the average annual value in an offer for Machado or Harper may ultimately be more important than who offers an extra year or two. It should also be pointed out that a nine-year offer from the Phillies could still prove to be longer than any offer from the Yankees or White Sox.
Ultimately, it may come down to whether the Yankees final offer is closer to $200 or $250 million. The Yankees seem likely to ask Machado to make what may be a major concession – the signing of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki may indicate they view Machado as someone they immediately want at third base – but it’s seemingly one the Phillies will also pitch Machado on. The Phillies could sweeten their offer by adding a partial or full no-trade clause, but if the Yankees ultimately offer $250 million, Machado seems likely to go there, even if he leaves $50 million from the Phillies on the table. And that’s if the Phillies are willing to go to $300 million.
Despite managing partner John Middleton’s quote about his willingness to “maybe even be a little stupid” about how the Phillies spend money this offseason, general manager Matt Klentak and president Andy MacPhail presumably will have a cut-off point for Machado, especially with Harper still on the board. Is there an offer the Phillies could make Machado that he absolutely couldn’t refuse? Probably. An 11 or 12-year offer at a competitive average annual salary may just be too good for Machado to pass up. But year 11 of said contract would count just as much as year one, so it’s hard to imagine such an offer coming.
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