I don’t know about any of you, but I’ve had enough of this saga. Manny Machado visited the ballpark at 35th/Shields on December 17th. It is now February 5th, and there is no end to this saga in sight. I’m simply tired of trying to decipher Instagram posts and articles on team jersey production for clues as to where he will be going. I’ve been surprisingly calm this winter regarding the pursuit of Machado, and for those of you that know me, you know that it is very much not in my nature. I’ve lived most of my life assuming the worst possible outcome for anything involving the White Sox. I can’t help it. This winter felt different for some reason. But I’m going to be honest, I’m starting to get a little concerned.
My concern isn’t caused by anything directly involving rumors surrounding Machado, more so, it is surrounding the lack of rumors. Oh yeah, I almost forgot there’s growing speculation that Nolan Arenado, the main prize of next winter’s free agent class might be getting closer to an extension to stay with the Colorado Rockies. Ken Rosenthal recently detailed what an extension might look like.
Rockies owner, chairman and CEO Dick Monfort expressed optimism on Saturday that the team would reach a long-term agreement with Arenado, telling MLB.com, “I think we’ve gotten it to the point where we’re to the finals. We’re to the crescendo.”
If an owner is willing to publicly come out and make a statement like this, I for one believe something will happen soon. I’ve been on record stating that the Sox needed to not wait for Arenado next winter because, frankly, I didn’t believe Arenado would get to the open market. The fact is power hitting, position players in their prime don’t leave the Rockies. If 26-year-old players like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado aren’t getting the offers they want this winter, can we really expect that a 28-year-old Arenado who has to carry the baggage of the dreaded Coors Field home/road splits will? In many ways, it would behoove Arenado to work out a mega-deal with the Rockies before he gets to the market.
Camps open across Arizona and Florida next week and the worst possible thing that could happen to the White Sox is a tweet from Ken Rosenthal breaking an Arenado extension at some point in February. Arenado inking an extension before a Machado deal could have a serious impact on the White Sox pursuit. I know many in the media and White Sox Twitter believe that it’s down to a two team race for Machado (the Phillies being the 2nd contender should they miss on Bryce Harper). But an Arenado deal could change that calculus. Would the Yankees be willing to budge on their Machado stance knowing that they wouldn’t have Arenado as an option next year? I don’t know the answer to that, but I know I’d prefer to not find out the answer.
What Has To Happen?
It’s time for the Sox to quit messing around and get this thing done. I know there’s something to be said for not “bidding against yourself,” but the fact is the Sox aren’t Machado’s preferred destination. There’s been plenty of media speculation that the Sox have the highest offer to Machado at the present time, and if it was a sufficient offer in his eyes, or the eyes of his agent Dan Lozano, we would’ve had the press conference already. I simply don’t believe the Sox can afford to run the risk of letting this thing drag out and allowing additional teams to come into the fray, especially if an Arenado deal gets done.
I wrote several months ago that the White Sox would have to overpay to procure the services of a premier free agent like Manny Machado and I still stand by that assessment. The fact of the matter is, missing on Manny when they have everything working in their favor at this present moment would be a colossal failure for this organization. Frankly, it is a failure that they cannot afford to have occur.
So, it’s time for Rick Hahn to use the degree from that school up north that I refuse to name (nods to Scott Merkin) and hammer out terms that will get us to a press conference at Camelback Ranch in Glendale. Whether that means upping the financial terms, or using a “swellopt” which is discussed here. It is incumbent upon Hahn and the rest of the front office to find the solution and put this saga to bed once and for all.
I cannot stress enough, how missing on Machado at this point would be catastrophic for this organization and fanbase. Allowing this situation to drag on for a few more weeks will only make me and others like myself more nervous. Maybe this long game of chicken will work out in the end for the Sox due to the lack of a market surrounding Machado, but I don’t want to take my chances especially knowing there’s a growing possibility that teams in need of help at the hot corner may not have the Arenado option next winter.
I’m probably overreacting and I’m sure you’ll all let me know it in the comments, but there’s simply too much at stake here for this organization. Get Lozano on the phone and find out what it’s going to take to get pen to paper next week and make it happen. Do it to put an end to this drawn out saga. Do it to make your baseball team better. Do it for the sanity of your fan base, because if after all this posturing Manny Machado isn’t wearing #13 on March 28th in Kansas City, we may not have any left.
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