Update: Dan Lozano of MVP Sports, Manny Machado’s agent, has refuted the report of an offer from the White Sox with some very strong words. In fact, he called out two very prominent reporters by name (via tweet from MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand):
I have known Bob Nightengale and Buster Olney for many years and have always had a good professional relationship with both. But their recent reporting, like many other rumors in the past several months, have been inaccurate and reckless when it comes to Manny Machado. I don’t know if their sources are blatantly violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement by intentionally misleading them to try and affect negotiations through the public or are just flat out lying to them for other reasons. But the truth is that their reports on the details of the White Sox level of interest in Manny are completely wrong.
I am well aware that the entire baseball universe; fans, players, teams, and media members alike; are starved for information about this free agent market for all players, including Manny. But I am not going to continue to watch the press be manipulated into tampering with, not just with my client, but all of these players’ livelihoods as they have been doing this entire offseason. The absence of new information to report is no excuse to fabricate “news” or regurgitate falsehoods without even attempting to confirm their validity and it is a disservice to baseball fans everywhere when the media does just that.
Dang. F them up, Socrates.
You know how contestants on The Price Is Right would sometimes bid low just to kind of have a placeholder in case everyone else was over? That’s what the White Sox did by offering Manny Machado $175 over seven years ($25M AAV), the very low end of previous contract estimates. Bruce Levine has been adamant about the seven-year duration despite multiple contradictory reports, and had pegged an AAV from $25-30 million.
The White Sox offer to Machado is for $175 million, over seven years. In some ways, their approach is like Boston's w/ J.D. Martinez last winter — the Red Sox offered $100 million and waited for two months. If CWS offer emerges as best, a big ? is: Would Machado/NYY re-engage?
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 16, 2019
Buster Olney’s tweet is some of the first concrete evidence we’ve had of Machado’s market — same for Bryce Harper — and it establishes the landscape moving forward. Some had felt the Sox were frontrunners for the superstar shortstop and that they might reach an agreement soon, though this lowball offer seems to say otherwise.
Not only is this well below Machado’s anticipated goals, it stands as a beacon for other teams involved in talks and maybe even some that haven’t been. Hello, #MysteryTeam! And while Olney throws out the idea that the Sox could simply be mimicking their crimson cousins’ strategy to land J.D. Martinez last winter, Machado is several years younger and is capable of elite defense. For another team not to step up and surpass this offer would be unconscionable.
Whether and how many teams do counter obviously remains to be seen, but I think we can rule out the idea of a big announcement on the South Side anytime soon. Even if the offers don’t role in immediately, Machado’s reps are going to be perfectly comfortable sitting on this offer in hand as they wait on better ones.