Hot Stove

Phillies remain in talks with Machado as White Sox make formal contract offer



(Ian D’Andrea, Wikicommons)

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the White Sox have offered free agent Manny Machado a contract with a length of eight years at an unknown dollar value. Passan adds that Machado is still talking to the Phillies.

At this point, very few people know exactly what the Phillies’ intentions are. This report comes a day after the Phillies met with fellow free agent Bryce Harper in Las Vegas.

After that five-hour meeting (which also included agent Scott Boras, owner John Middleton, manager Gabe Kapler, and general manager Matt Klentak), MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reported that it had gone so well, the Phillies focus may have shifted from Machado to Harper.

It’s no surprise the White Sox offered Machado a contract. 670 The Score‘s Bruce Levin recently reported that there was “momentum” growing between Chicago and Machado. Passan added that the Chisox may be willing to give an even longer deal should it be necessary, which is telling of the club’s interest and determination.

This report adds to the fascinating saga of Harper and Machado during this Hot Stove season. At this point, it’s likely both are waiting to see what the Phillies do, given that they’re likely the only franchise left that could break the bank for either player.

USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale said the Phillies are now the “clear-cut favorites” for Harper and are expected to formally offer the six-time All-Star a contract this coming week.

Yahoo Sports’ Jon Heyman had reported Machado’s asking price was still around $300 million. For Machado, the report of the Phillies shifting their interest to Harper could hurt in some regards, considering the Phillies and White Sox have repeatedly been the two teams connected with the star shortstop/third baseman.

Without another team to raise the bidding, Machado could be forced to accept the White Sox offer. Of course, as Passan said, the Phillies are still in talks with Machado, so nothing is final yet.

Earlier today, Mike Axisa at CBS Sports posited that the San Diego Padres could emerge as a “mystery team” for Machado. Axisa broke down every team in Major League Baseball and surmised that “Machado is available for nothing but cash, he plays a position of need, and he’d advance the rebuild considerably. Plus, Padres GM A.J. Preller is known to step out and make surprise splashes (see: Eric Hosmer). All the pieces fit.

Zolecki’s report following the Harper meeting made it clear that the Phillies know they need to do something big if they truly wish to contend over the next couple of seasons. Per Zolecki’s source:

…the Phillies know they must make a significant upgrade to their roster to keep up with the Nationals, Braves and Mets in the National League East. Each team either played better than the Phillies last season, made notable improvement this offseason or both.

It feels very much as if a decision from Machado will be coming soon, possibly as soon as this week. The Phillies are reportedly prepping a formal contract offer to Harper. It shouldn’t be much longer before we have some resolution to these two biggest current free agent situations.

 

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