The Manny Machado saga continues: Breaking down his potential landing spots
As one of the two most coveted free agents on the market, this offseason was sure to provide some interesting storylines in the pursuit of Manny Machado. As we now head into the second week of the new year, Manny has yet to select a new club despite there being a bevy of suitors for his services.
The biggest hold-up for Machado at this point in time seems to be the lack of money being offered his way. Coming into the offseason, Manny was looking for offers north of the $300 million range and by all accounts, nobody has come close to matching that.
The White Sox put the first official offer on the table for reportedly around the $200 million range and it is believed that the Phillies and Yankees also have tentative offers in place. While the Phillies offer is expected to be in a competitive range to the White Sox, the Yankees by all accounts are holding firm at a number slightly lower than the White Sox or Phillies.
With all of that said, let's take a look at those 3 main landing spots and see which makes the most sense:
#1 Chicago White Sox
As the first team to officially put pen to paper and offer Manny a contract, it only seems fair to put them first. By far the least competitive team of the three, the White Sox are still undoubtedly a couple years away from being a contender.
They're hoping the signing of Machado can help speed up that rebuild while giving their incredible young talent a genuine superstar to learn from. Make no mistake, the White Sox will be a good team in 2-3 years time, but if winning is what Machado wants, going to Chicago will test his patience in the short term.
All the talk of being young and a few years away from being competitive doesn't take away from the fact that at the time of this writing, the White Sox are his only official bidder and are actively working with Machado to renegotiate the offer to something a bit more Machado-friendly. At the end of the day, the White Sox's reluctance to offer Machado anything beyond 7 years could come back to bite them.
While the White Sox came into the offseason with tons of money to spend and seem dead-set on landing Machado or his superstar counterpart Bryce Harper, both Machado and Harper have been turned off at the idea of a 7-year contract and are actively looking for something longer.
#2 Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies made major strides last season under first-year manager Gabe Kapler and have already made moves this offseason to help bolster other aspects of their team (most notably David Robertson in the bullpen). This provides Machado with a bit more of a "win now" situation compared to the White Sox, who are still a few years away from playing with the big boys.
Similar to the White Sox, the Phillies came into this offseason with money to spend and are expected to match or better any offer provided to Machado in order to entice him into playing for the city of brotherly love.
Machado himself even was taken aback by the turnaround of the young Phillies squad last season, calling the young squad "very impressive". The Phillies figure to be an even more competitive team in the NL East this season and the addition of Machado would immediately make them contenders for the division along with Washington and Atlanta.
Moreover, the Phillies seem willing to open up the pocketbooks and offer Machado the 10-year deal he so desperately wants making them an extremely intriguing fit for the young slugger.
#3 New York Yankees
The Yankees are the biggest wrench in Machado's free agent plans. While the team is without a doubt interested in the services of the All-Star infielder and are by all accounts the team Machado most wants to play for, they simply haven't come close to offering anything remotely in the range of the White Sox offer or where Philly is expected to be.
The Yankees are already a fully functional death star, with the most power of any lineup in baseball history to go with an elite bullpen. Simply put, they don't NEED Machado to win a world series, but it sure would be nice to have his help. Of the three landing spots, the Yankees undoubtedly offer Machado the easiest path back to the World Series with a real shot at winning it.
As a result, the Yankees are negotiating as such. Having been burned (and still being burning, looking at you Jacoby Ellsbury) by bad long-term contracts given to a multitude of players, the Yankees are tentative to offer the same big-money, long-term contracts that the Phillies and White Sox are throwing at Machado.
By all accounts, the Yankees will continue to sit well below the mark that the White Sox and Phillies will offer and are hoping Machado decides his landing spot with his heart and not his wallet.
Despite the White Sox's aggressive pursuit of Machado, they simply don't seem to offer him the best opportunity to chase rings. Moreover, they will likely not come in with the strongest overall offer for Machado, giving him minimal reason to take his talents to the south side of Chicago.
That leaves us with the Phillies and the Yankees. Machado will essentially need to decide if he wants to take more money and be "The Man" on an improving young team or play a role on a championship contender team that provides him with the unmatched exposure of playing in New York.
While the pure salary offered by the Phillies might be more, Machado can almost certainly expect to bring in bigger endorsement deals playing for the pinstripes, significantly helping the Yankees' case to land the All-Star.
All things considered, the Yankees seem like the ideal landing spot for Machado given his desire to win now. The Yankees are built to be a juggernaut for the foreseeable future and adding Machado to the puzzle seems almost too perfect to not happen.