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White Sox’ rival for Manny Machado gets down to business

Manny Machado hits a home run against the White Sox during the fourth inning on May 21, 2018 at Guaranteed Rate Field. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The landscape in the White Sox’ pursuit of free agent Manny Machado could shift soon with the other prized 26-year-old free agent in the market, Bryce Harper, reportedly moving toward a deal with the Phillies.

Just how close Harper is and ultimately for how much money and how many years — USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported Harper will receive more than the 10-year, $300 million deal he was offered by the Nationals during the season — remain to be seen. But with the Phillies viewed as perhaps the Sox’ strongest competition for Machado, Harper going to Philadelphia could help the Sox’ chances.

That said, the Padres also are in the hunt for Machado and appear willing to offer the $200 million-plus needed to fetch him. Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported their bid at $250 million for eight years.

The Sox have not been viewed as Machado’s top choice throughout a slow-moving, drawn-out free-agency period, and they went into it months ago with a spending limit that ultimately could crimp their chances. The Padres were not viewed as Machado’s most desired destination, either, but, like the Sox, they have a farm system promising hope for the future.

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The Sox met with Harper and Machado but haven’t been linked to Harper much since the winter meetings in December. They have remained more connected to Machado and traded for Yonder Alonso, his brother-in-law, and signed Jon Jay, a good friend, as enticements.