I’ll admit, at least straight away I don’t have a lot of fresh news to unfurl here. But with Manny Machado almost certainly meeting with Chicago White Sox brass on Monday and/or Tuesday, it seems almost negligent to post any content not somewhat Mannycentric.
Machado is reported to have his sit-down with the New York Yankees on Wednesday, and it’s likewise been reported Machado is meeting with the White Sox “early” this week. Simple math and basic geography tells us that Chicago should lead off Machado’s tour.
Somewhere it in all, Machado will squeeze in the Philadelphia Phillies (Tuesday, Thursday?) and a “mystery team.” (Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano, has claimed three “mystery teams,” so I’ve thrown in some enticing options beyond the core three clubs.)
Who is Manny Machado’s "mystery team?"
This poll is closed
San Diego Padres
Dayn Perry at CBS Sports supplied his educated guess at three possibilities for Team No. 4/Mystery Team, and I’ll pay them lip service as we once again play ...
Handicap the Free Agent!
Last round, with Bryce Harper, we counted down nine teams that might be in the bidding. I’d tabbed the Yankees as the favorite (40%!), which just shows what I know, because New York has pretty much called any pursuit of Harper off.
There’s pretty much just three teams to choose from in the Manny sweeps, so maybe I’ll get it a little better this time out.
Chicago White Sox (37%)
The fact that no one can pin down the White Sox on Harper/Machado/Grandal/Lou Gehrig/Roberto Clemente/Minnie Miñoso might be the most compelling factor in their favor. Harper and Machado and Grandal? Why the hell not? The White Sox are crashing this offseason like the postgrad college backpacker finally returning after a year on the road: Does he have a beard? Is he married? Kid? VD? Acoustic guitar? Dishpan hands? A volume of French poetry? How many tattoos? Piercings?
And hey, having Yonder Alonso (Machado’s brother-in-law) on the White Sox roster can’t hurt. The idea that Machado wouldn’t want to play with his brother-in-law is sorta funny ... how many reporters will get depantsed if they didn’t bother to fact-check the core basic here: Does Manny like Yonder?
Philadelphia Phillies (31%)
All the meathead fan pressure of New York City, and none of the glamor? Hey, Manny, meet Philadelphia!
The Phillies are the most dangerous factor in the Manny sweepstakes, because they have suitcases full of dumb money to spend, and dwindling places to spend it (speculation is that Philly has cooled on Bryce Harper after signing Andrew McCutchen, increasing pressure on them to go crazy for Machado).
Playing in the National League would have less appeal to a guy who, Johnny Hustle or no, might like the occasional run at DH for a “fielding day off.” Point, Chisox.
New York Yankees (29%)
The Yankees are supposedly open to trading away Rookie of the Year runner-up Miguel Andujar, which would open up third base for Machado. The Bombers also will be without shortstop Didi Gregorius for half a season, as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, which opens up shortstop.
These openings are mere conveniences, however. Machado is going to sign with the Yankees based on a speculative Andujar deal, or as a SS fill-in for three months?
Plus, as enticing as the glow of the Big Apple may be to Machado, he’s caught some hell before even arriving for his interview, as Hal Steinbrenner has spouted some noise, publicly, that Machado is going to have to answer to his “Johnny Hustle” comments with the Yankees.
Most crippling to New York’s chances, however, is their stated offer cap of $300 million. The White Sox and Phillies can blow past that, so if money is the top factor — and when isn’t it? — the Yanquis are out.
Not sure why the (mystery team) Angels are getting thrown in here. Brad Ausmus is tops on the list among managers to play for? Perhaps the Angels don’t want any transition between Albert Pujols’ bloated contract and the $100 million a year they’ll have to pay Trout to keep him in Anaheim. OK, so the weather is an advantage — but the travel isn’t.
Chicago Cubs (1%)
Perry says that hey, the (mystery team) Cubs might not have Addison Russell any longer, so, voila, sign Manny! Please. However, stealing Machado from the White Sox before the South Side front office has even finished backslapping one other over getting a meeting with him in the first place would be a titanic troll job.
San Diego Padres (0%)
You can go back and read my thoughts on (mysterio) San Diego trying to play with the big boys here. Short of growing up in the city itself, there’s zero reason why any prime-cut free agent would choose the Padres over other teams. Plus, A.J. Preller might doctor Machado’s contract so he ends up getting paid $300 million in Dominican pesos, or something.
All right, poll time. You nuts said Harper was coming to the White Sox, with 53% of almost 1,000 votes a couple of weeks ago. What you got this time?
Where will Manny Machado sign?
This poll is closed
Chicago White Sox
New York Yankees
San Diego Padres
Unidentified Mystery Team/Retires/Shifts to Career as Wrestling Heel