The Manny Machado free agency tour hit the ground running last week. The 26-year-old superstar got things started with a visit to Chicago on Monday, followed by New York on Wednesday, and Philadelphia on Thursday. After his visits with the three clubs, he is now back in his hometown of Miami where he will take some time to determine which team he wants to suit up for next season. So, where do the White Sox stand after each team has made their initial pitch to Machado?
First, let’s take a look at how his meetings went:
Manny made the decision to have the White Sox host him for his first visit, which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. Going first gives the White Sox the opportunity to set the bar for the visits, however, the team also went into the meeting having no clue how the other visits went because they hadn’t taken place yet. The White Sox spent about 10 hours with Manny Machado on Monday. According to Bruce Levine, the meeting got started at Guaranteed Rate Field, and the rest of the day involved taking him around the city and having dinner with him.
Manny Machado and his wife getting the red carpet treatment from the White Sox today .Trips all over the city a part of the recruiting process .Sox Manager Rick Renteria is an important asset for Chicago in this first impression stage .
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 17, 2018
A 10 hour visit is incredibly long, but the White Sox had to sell Machado on the bright future of the club and how he will have the opportunity to compete for multiple division titles with the AL Central becoming worse and worse each year. The fact that Manny Machado stayed for the entire duration of the meeting shows that there’s at least mutual interest between both parties. If he wasn’t buying into what the Sox were selling him, he easily could’ve cut the early parts of the day short and just sat down for one final meeting at dinner. On Wednesday, his meeting with the Yankees went slightly different. The meeting only lasted for a total of 90 minutes, according to Lindsey Adler of The Athletic. This means that Manny Machado loved what the Yankees had to offer, or he left expecting much more out of the meeting. It’s been known that Manny loved the Yankees growing up and he would be happy to play there, however, there’s also been reports that the Yankees might be a little reluctant to spend a lot of money on someone who has caused drama a few times on the field. Regardless, it’s the Yankees and it’s not very difficult for them to convince a player to put on the pinstripes, so there’s a chance that Manny didn’t feel like he needed to hear an elaborate pitch from them.
Dispatch from the Bronx: The highly anticipated meeting with Manny Machado has concluded, took about 90 minutes.
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) December 19, 2018
Machado’s final meeting took place on Thursday with the Phillies. It got off to a very interesting start when a construction worker walked over to him, telling him to “go get that money” and to “do the right thing and sign.” After the brief interaction with him, Manny was greeted by a swarm of media at the ballpark entrance with the door locked. A few seconds later, he entered the ballpark and got to sit down and hear what the Phillies had to say. Talk about an annoying way to get things started in Philly. Both the White Sox and the Yankees had Machado enter their ballparks privately, without media or fans waiting for him right by the door. According to John Clark of NBCS Philadelphia, the meeting lasted for roughly four hours and they wrapped things up with a dinner as well.
Here’s Manny Machado leaving 4 hour meeting with Phillies. He only met with Yankees for 90 minutes
Im told he met with owners John Middleton, Jim Buck, Gabe Kapler and coaches
They made a custom video showcasing Philly, toured the ballpark, and will go to dinner tonight pic.twitter.com/BSn0DeyKtN
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) December 20, 2018
So what are the White Sox chances of landing Manny Machado after all these meetings have concluded? We know one thing, the White Sox are still firmly in the mix to win his services. Like I said before, if he wasn’t seriously interested in the Sox, his meeting could’ve been cut short and they wouldn’t be one of the three finalists. There was a local New York report out of SNY, claiming that Manny Machado has told his friends that the Yankees are his preferred team.
— SNY (@SNYtv) December 21, 2018
I’m not buying that completely. Manny has said that he would want to play for the Yankees, however, that article claims that he will go to the Yankees “if the money is close.” Here’s the thing, both the White Sox and Phillies have made it known that they want to spend this off-season. If that was a bluff, neither of them would’ve sat down and met with Machado for an extended amount of time. Both of these teams are looking to have him become the face of their franchise, while the Yankees are just looking to place him at shortstop while Didi Gregorius works towards returning to the diamond. That leads me to believe that the White Sox and Phillies are both willing to cough up a significant amount of money to sign Machado and the money won’t be that close.
We’ve known that a major factor in the White Sox actually being able sign a top tier free agent like Manny Machado would mean that they have to open up the checkbook and be one of the, if not the highest bidder. Even then, that doesn’t guarantee that he would sign with the White Sox, but Manny Machado seems like a guy that will have no problem signing with whichever team offers him the most money. As of now, I have the Yankees first, the White Sox second, and the Phillies third in regards to who the current favorites are to land Machado.
The Yankees are at the top of the list because he has admitted that he would like to play in New York. Along with that, Manny Machado is coming off of a loss in the World Series. If he wants to get back to the biggest stage as soon as possible, then the Yankees are an easy choice. I have the White Sox at second for a few reasons. One of the reasons being obvious, which is the fact that they have plenty of money to spend. Another reason being that the White Sox have Manny’s brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso on their team. It might not seem like a big deal, but those two have a very close relationship and there have been multiple public comments by Alonso where he talked about how great it would be to play on the same team as Manny.
Another reason I have the White Sox in front of the Phillies (even though both teams have some similar things to offer) is because of the Latin American culture throughout the Sox organization. The White Sox have a variety of current players and prospects all coming from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, etc. Manny Machado was not born in the Dominican Republic, however, he played for the Dominican Republic (instead of the United States) in the 2017 World Baseball Classic because he wanted to represent his family members that came from there. This might not be a major selling point, but it should have at least somewhat of an impact on his decision.
The Phillies have a legitimate shot at landing Manny Machado as well. They’ve said plenty of times that they plan to spend “stupid money” this off-season. Even with that statement, they lost their first bidding war when Patrick Corbin signed with the Nationals over the Phillies and Yankees. The Phillies have been linked to both Bryce Harper and Machado. As of now, they seem much more interested in the latter and they could put forth the highest offer for him. After losing one bidding war, the Phillies might go all in on Machado and make him an offer that would be tough to turn down. If the White Sox are able to match or remain very close to the Phillies offer, then I like the Sox’ chances of being able to sign Machado over them.
According to Jon Heyman, these three teams will have to wait until after the new year before they get an answer from Manny Machado. I think his decision to wait until after the new year will actually benefit the White Sox. If he truly had his heart set on playing for the Yankees, he probably wouldn’t wait until after the new year to make his announcement.
Manny Machado has conveyed to the three known interested teams — White Sox, Yankees and Phillies — that his decision will come after the new year.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 21, 2018
Yonder and Manny live very close to each other in Miami, and I’m sure the two of them will be spending plenty of time together during the holidays. As it was previously stated, Yonder has made it publicly known that he would love to play on the same team as his brother-in-law. Knowing that, you would think that he will be constantly selling the White Sox to his in-law, and having him visualize what it would be like to play on the same team. Manny already met with members of the White Sox organization, so he has an understanding of what they have to offer, what the future is supposed to look like, and why he would be a good fit with the team. Now, the White Sox will use their recently acquired first-baseman to help Manny buy into all of that while he figures out where he wants to spend the next chapter of his career.
Overall, I think the White Sox have put themselves in a good position to be able to land Manny Machado this off-season. Will it actually happen? Time will tell. With Harper seeming like he’s still quite a ways away from making his decision, the White Sox shouldn’t hesitate to go all in for Machado knowing that he’s most likely going to sign before Harper. You can’t pass up the opportunity to sign one superstar just because there’s another one out there that you’re hoping will sign. The White Sox need to take advantage of what they have to offer in this situation and continue to put forth their best effort to make this a done deal.
Follow Sean on Twitter–