Manny Machado hovers over opening of White Sox camp

SHARE Manny Machado hovers over opening of White Sox camp

Manny Machado is still a free agent as spring training opens this week. (AP)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — There’s no getting around the Manny Machado elephant in the room.

Or, to be more specific, at the White Sox’ spring-training complex at Camelback Ranch.

Will he sign or won’t he? And if so, when?

It would be nice to know where Machado will land so the Sox can get on with the rest of their season — and so manager Rick Renteria can get on with knowing what he’ll have to work with in 2019.

Pitchers and catchers will take the field on the first day of spring training Wednesday, but many position players are here early. Based on what players said about Machado during SoxFest, he would be welcomed with open arms if he were to sign with the team. The Sox acquired first baseman Yonder Alonso, Machado’s brother-in-law, in a trade in December and signed outfielder Jon Jay, one of his good friends, as a free agent.

Sox resident star Jose Abreu spoke with Machado when the front office and Renteria met with him in December at Guaranteed Rate Field and said he would like to see Machado on board.

Who wouldn’t?

But there was also a sense from the players that they are a tight-knit group and confident of their places in the Sox’ rebuild. If signing Machado happens, great. If it doesn’t, a ‘‘we got this’’ feeling will prevail.

Perhaps. But there is no doubt the addition of Machado, while not enough to turn the Sox into contenders in 2019, would — together with a budding farm system — enhance their playoff chances for years to come. And it would give their fan base, weary to the point of exhaustion from the free-agent process, a needed jolt of adrenaline.

Adding to the intrigue and internet buzz Tuesday was Rawlings sharing photos of Machado’s fielding gloves for this season. The colors? White and black.

White Sox colors.


Manny or not, shortstop Tim Anderson riding White Sox’ train

Could it be a sign? Manny Machado picks black-and-white gloves for this season

It might be, it could be . . . it might mean nothing.

The Sox and Phillies generally are viewed as the top candidates to sign Machado, although the Yankees — his stated preference last season — reportedly still are checking in, even though their infield is stacked. For what it’s worth, on Monday posted the Yankees as 1-2 favorites to sign Machado, followed by the Padres at 4-1 and the Sox and Phillies at 5-1.

Take those for what they’re worth. One thing is for sure: Machado is worth waiting for. And the Sox, who came away from their meeting with Machado thinking their rebuilding status won’t be a deal-breaker, are willing to wait.

Until Machado decides, it will be a topic during spring training, sharing discussion time with the customary storylines.

‘‘It’s one of those things that can be annoying a little bit, touching on the same topic, because a decision hasn’t been made,’’ Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said when asked about the situation Tuesday, a couple of weeks after being asked about it at SoxFest.

Anderson said Machado would be welcomed with open arms.

‘‘I think these guys are ready to have a player of [Machado’s] magnitude come in and contribute in a positive way,’’ Renteria said recently.

‘‘I have to wrap my mind around all the guys we do have potentially coming into camp. Is there an X-factor involved in my thinking with [Machado] coming in? Sure. I have to wrap my arms around everybody being here with us and put a plan together for those guys.’’

Stay tuned.

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