CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- The prevailing feeling across the MLB landscape is that momentum is building for the Chicago White Sox in the Manny Machado sweepstakes.
The New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies are the two other known serious suitors for the 26-year-old Machado, who's considered the prize of free agency alongside star outfielder Bryce Harper. Machado is expected to make a decision within a week, sources said, as all three of the aforementioned teams have made bids and would like an answer soon. There may be a fourth, unknown team in the Machado bidding, agent sources said.
Money will certainly be a key factor for Machado. The White Sox hope there's more to it than that as well: They traded for first baseman Yonder Alonso, Machado's brother-in-law, in December and reached an agreement to sign outfielder Jon Jay on Monday night. Jay is a close friend of Machado's, and the three players often work out together in the offseason.
The Yankees have protected themselves in the Machado chase by signing veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. It was a low-risk move for the Yankees, who are responsible for just $555,000 of his salary. The Yankees aren't expected to bid the market for Machado up beyond reason despite wanting to add him.
Phillies ownership has said it will spend "stupid" money in free agency, and the budding team is in need of a powerful bat in the middle of its lineup. With that in mind, the Phillies remain a wild card in the Machado pursuit. Could they offer a 10-year deal?
The White Sox are unwilling to offer that contract length, as 670 The Score reported last week. The White Sox aren't expected to extend an offer for more than seven years at top market prices. The average annual value that Machado is considering in his various offers is unclear. Could he get more than $30 million annually? There's industry buzz that he'll receive offers in the range of $25 million to $28 million annually.
Machado hit .297 with 37 home runs and 107 RBIs last season -- all career-best marks -- while playing for both the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played 147 games at shortstop last season, though he primarily played third base in the first five full seasons of his career.
The White Sox will be in on Machado in the $200-million range for six or seven years. USA Today first reported that the White Sox made a formal offer to Machado, "likely closer to $200 million than $300 million."
The Yankees continue to be a mystery. They may be lying in the weeds waiting for Machado to show his hand before making a late counter-offer if needed. The Phillies probably will have to offer Machado the most money to entice him to Philadelphia.
The Phillies will meet with Harper in Las Vegas on Saturday. That could serve as an artificial deadline of sorts for Machado to make a decision. Machado's agent, Dan Lozano, has negotiated some of the richest contracts in baseball history, including Albert Pujols' $240 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and Joey Votto's $225 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds.
The White Sox have done a quality job of selling the future of their organization to Machado and putting the people and infrastructure in place to attract him. All they can do now is wait.
By Bruce Levine