Machado ‘would be wonderful,’ but will it happen for White Sox?
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The White Sox are serious players in the Manny Machado sweepstakes, perhaps one of two teams in a coin-flip scenario for the star infielder’s services.
The city — at least the fans on the South Side anyway — is on the edge of its seat.
And it might be down to the Sox and Phillies for Machado if the Yankees are out.
Now there’s a sentence we didn’t see coming back in October.
But that might be where it’s at, unless another team, previously unheard from in the bidding or working sneakily behind the scenes, jumps in late to be a player.
There’s certainly room at the table, what with a curiously small group competing for a player of Machado’s talent and age (26) available on the open market. Why are so few teams, with industry revenues bulging at the seams, jumping in for these golden opportunities? Some, like the Cubs and Dodgers, already are stacked with talent and payrolls and might be trying to keep big-budget houses in order. Others are too far away in their rebuilds to justify spending big now.
The Sox are not there yet, either, and might not be even if they sign Machado. But they believe they will be in 2020, when Machado would be in only the second year of a possible contract of seven years or more, potential opt-outs not included.
And so they are all in on Machado, so to speak. And when Jim Thome, a former Sox and Phillie now working as a special assistant to general manager Rick Hahn, says of Machado on MLB Network, “That would be wonderful for our city and organization,” the anticipation builds a little bit more.
“The boys, Rick and [executive vice president] Kenny [Williams], are working hard,’’ Thome said. “We’re excited. This is a fun time for us. We’re a young organization with a bunch of talent, and we’re hoping that gets done.
“We’ll see what happens.”
Sox fans hardly can wait to see, riding a wave of euphoria more fitting of a done deal than a possibility. The thing is, it’s probably far from a done deal for the Sox.
Hahn, talking on a conference call to discuss the signing of Jon Jay, danced around questions about Machado.
But he gets the buzz, recalling how stoked he got as a young fan during the hot stove.
“That’s part of being a fan is getting excited about what is rumored to be going or to consume whatever is put out there regardless of the level of truth behind it,’’ he said. “It’s just part of being passionate, and I respect that fact that there’s a level of excitement about what we’re doing around here.
“For me, it can get worrisome at the point where there’s false information out there that may influence fan perception, but at the same time, I know that at some point these matters will be resolved, and we’ll be able to speak a little more candidly.’’
And if the Sox don’t land Machado — or Bryce Harper, the other big prize they’re in on, though seemingly not to the same degree?
Hahn was asked about how disappointed he’d be if the Sox get neither, which, of course, remains a possibility.
“Let’s wait until we get to the point where we know what’s up exactly with that, and we can talk about how we’re responding and how we feel,” Hahn said. “At this point, it’s just speculative.”
Even Jay, Machado’s friend, said he doesn’t know what the star will do.
“We’d obviously love to have a Manny Machado. Absolutely, the guy is unbelievable,’’ Jay said. “But that is up to him and his family.
“Who knows what is going to happen?’’
NOTE: To make room for Jon Jay on the 40-man roster, the Sox designated outfielder Charlie Tilson for assignment.