As the free agency freeze begins to thaw, the Chicago White Sox landing Manny Machado seems like something that might actually happen.
When the free agency music stops (or starts to make some actual noise), Manny Machado might be standing in front of a seat marked for the Chicago White Sox — one stacked with around $200 million.
It’s not facetious to say the winter hot stove has been tragically cold. Baseball has two of its biggest superstars hitting the market in their prime and the needle of interest has barely moved. No one cares anymore about the drama of where Bryce Harper or Manny Machado will sign, we just want it to be over.
That’s bad for baseball, but the individual teams still in the running for either superstar’s talent likely don’t care. They’re busy trying to map out what the next decade will look like with a superstar on the payroll.
Nothing personifies this bizarro free agency narrative than Machado and the White Sox. The wrong Chicago team — the White Sox not the Cubs — look to be in line to land the wrong superstar — Machado not Harper. Don’t discount this new narrative on the South Side, however, because how we got here is just as interesting.
The White Sox, a team no one had on their radar at the start of winter, quietly began moving pieces on the board to get into a position to land Machado rather early. They acquired Machado’s brother-in-law and one of his best friends in Yonder Alonso and Jon Jay. Then they watched as headline bidders like the Yankees, Dodgers, and Phillies all either pulled out of the running or invested elsewhere.
Now the stars are aligning like only those on the South Side could foresee.
There’s nothing close to a done deal yet, but as the big wigs fall out of contention, the White Sox remain standing with a reported offer of around $200 million that is going to look sweeter and sweeter to Machado as the other suitors (and their money) dry up.
It may not be the way we thought this might go, but dammit if the White Sox haven’t gamed the lame system this year and come out of things up one superstar infielder.