Now this doesn’t seem like something a team that’s about to sign Manny Machado would do.
The New York Yankees added yet another infielder to their talented collection Friday, reportedly agreeing to a two-year deal with free-agent second baseman D.J. LeMahieu. That gives them second-year studs in Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, a recovering shortstop in Didi Gregorius and a pair of offseason additions in LeMahieu and Troy Tulowitzki. The infield isn’t big enough for all those guys nor for all those guys and Machado, the free-agent superstar who supposedly prefers the Yankees but might not get the opportunity to play for them.
And that’s got to be good news for the White Sox.
One report from earlier this week indicated that all three of the teams that played host to Machado on his free-agent tour last month – the White Sox, Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies – have made offers to Machado. But several others followed up saying the Yankees haven’t made an offer, and perhaps they still haven’t.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 11, 2019
It’s long appeared they had no interest in offering the kind of gigantic deal it was believed would be required to land Machado. And while maybe they can never be counted “out,” it sure as heck seems like this is down to two teams.
It would be foolish to ever count out the New York Yankees on a player of Manny Machado’s caliber. But if they are indeed planning on bringing Machado into the fold, they’re going to need to move an infielder, because LeMahieu, Gregorius, Torres, Tulowitzki and Andujar is a glut.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 11, 2019
LeMahieu $24M, 2-year deal makes Manny even more unlikely for yanks. will be a major surprise if anyone but white sox or Phillies get Manny now.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 11, 2019
And so the White Sox are now likely going head-to-head with the Phillies. Reportedly, the White Sox have made their offer of “about $200 million” for six or seven years. Could the Phillies top that? By a lot? Most definitely. Machado entered the offseason expected to get much closer to $300 million as a 26-year-old with multiple All-Star appearances and Gold Gloves on his resume. And the Phillies, whose owner said early in the offseason they might “be a little stupid” with their spending, have the money to blow any offer away.
The White Sox perhaps have the better pitch, though, one of long-term success fueled by a currently loaded farm system. The lure of playing alongside Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease and Luis Robert for the better part of the next decade would figure to be more attractive, from a pure talent standpoint, than almost anything the Phillies could pitch. Plus, the White Sox offer what the Phillies cannot: the opportunity for Machado to play alongside brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and good friend and winter workout buddy Jon Jay, the opportunity to unite the “Miami Baseball Brotherhood.” Though the Phillies just hired a coach who’s been described as Machado’s mentor.
The Yankees seemed like a perfect fit all along. Machado grew up wanting to play for them, he filled an immediate need at shortstop, he could be a part of a new Bronx dynasty by joining a team that won 100 games last season and is built for long-term success.
But money talks, and if the Yankees weren’t wanting to spend that much of it on Machado, they weren’t going to be an option.
And then there were two.