Manny Machado has been one of the game's best players since debuting in 2012, and he is set to cash in as a first-time free agent this offseason.
Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the infielder.
Yankees doing "extensive" background work on Machado
Nov. 12: It's still a little murky how strong the Yankees' pursuit of Machado will actually be. But they're definitely doing their due diligence.
According to The Athletic's Jayson Stark (subscription required), the Yankees have been doing "particularly extensive" background work on Machado, even beyond the typical amount of background information teams routinely seek about potential free-agent or trade targets.
Sources told Stark that Yankees manager Aaron Boone, front-office members and scouts are all among those who "calling around" about Machado.
The superstar shortstop remains a clear fit for the Yankees, with Didi Gregorius out indefinitely as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
Should Cubs choose Machado over Bryant? Brisbee thinks so.
Nov. 11: SB Nation senior baseball writer Grant Brisbee decided to chime in on the Machado debate with a lengthy column in which he debates the advantages and disadvantages of several teams' pursuits of the 26-year-old shortstop, including the Yankees, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Cubs and Padres.
In his search for an ideal fit for Machado, Brisbee considers four factors: extra money to spend, a fan base that needs a jolt, a robust farm system that can allow them to subsidize a superstar for the coming years, and a young team.
"We need the Padres. Machado needs the Padres. The Padres need Machado," Brisbee writes.
Brisbee points to the Eric Hosmer contract as an example of the Padres making an expensive, long-term investment in a player that could play a key role on a future team in contention, but concedes that Machado playing his home games in Petco Park remains a long shot. He ultimately concludes that he expects Machado to sign a 10-year, $330 million contract to play for the Cubs.
He doesn't feel that it's a coincidence that Kris Bryant trade rumors are gaining steam now, when Machado is also on the market. He writes that for the Cubs, it could be a matter of committing $300 million to a 29-year-old Bryant after the 2021 season versus making a similar commitment to a 26-year-old Machado right now -- and also reaping the benefits of whatever top prospects they would gain in a trade involving Bryant.
Would Harper or Machado be enough for Phillies to contend?
Nov. 10: In hopes of contending next year, the Phillies are expected to make a run at big-name free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado this offseason. But Jonah Keri of CBS Sports argues that adding one of those players might not be enough to spark a postseason run in 2019.
As Keri points out, the last three World Series winners -- the Cubs, the Astros and the Red Sox -- all had a strong core in place before adding to it in free agency. The Phils, though, have a ton of question marks after Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins.
Philadelphia's roster isn't barren, but Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez are coming off poor second halves, Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez and Zach Eflin haven't proven to be consistent rotation options, and neither J.P. Crawford nor Scott Kingery have lived up to expectations as former top prospects.
Keri writes that signing Harper or Machado -- potentially for $400 million -- should be part of a larger free-agency plan that involves adding relief help as well as a starting pitcher. Keri names J.A. Happ and Charlie Morton, who has expressed his desire to be close to his wife's family's Delaware home, as potential options.
Meanwhile, Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that this offseason could get tricky for the Phillies, with the markets for Harper and Machado potentially playing out slowly as their agents -- Scott Boras and Dan Lozano, respectively -- try to land the longest and most lucrative deal possible. As Lauber writes, neither agent is going to want his client to be the first of the two to sign, instead preferring to let the other player set the market. Moreover, the longer each player's free agency endures, the more likely it is that other teams will join the bidding.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has indicated that he won't wait around for Harper or Machado if he has a chance to improve the team.
"We're not going to forgo opportunities early in the offseason because we're waiting on something else," Klentak said this past week during the General Managers Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif. "If there are good opportunities for us to improve our club now or in the coming weeks or months that make sense for us, we will do it."
Will Yankees make competitive bid for Machado?
Nov. 10: While the Yankees continue to be connected to both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News does not think the club is a likely suitor for either player.
Madden wrote Saturday that New York "will monitor the Manny Machado sweepstakes, if only because he has previously expressed a desire to play for the Yankees and his market may be more limited than you might think."
But teams such as the Phillies are expected to offer more than $300 million for Machado, and Maddon doesn't expect New York will want to saddle itself with another potential albatross after being burned by the Alex Rodriguez and Jacoby Ellsbury deals.
Said one former big league executive: "All you have to know with Machado is he says he's no 'Charlie hustle' or whatever before he even gets the money. What's he going to do AFTER he gets the money, when he's got the security and nobody can talk to him? For me, he'd be toxic. To give that guy 10 years? That's one bad contract waiting to happen."
Meanwhile, Madden considers the Harper-to-the-Yankees dream to be "dead," noting that New York has no interest in spending another $250 million or more on an outfielder.
Madden writes that the Yanks' priority instead is "to add at least two more proven quality frontline pitchers," and he predicts that after staying under the luxury-tax threshold in 2018, New York "will not be out-bid for Patrick Corbin" or J.A. Happ, if they choose to pursue them.
Murti: No matter what Yanks say, don't count them out on Machado or Harper
Nov. 9: The Yankees say that they're focused on starting pitching this offseason. The Yankees say that they're not interested in Bryce Harper. The Yankees say that Machado is a back-burner item. WFAN Yankees beat reporter Sweeny Murti says to ignore all that.
"They tell everybody right now that they have no level of interest in these guys, but that doesn't mean anything at this point in time," Murti said in a Friday interview on MLB Now.
Murti goes on to explain that he feels that the Yankees are distancing themselves because they're not willing to pursue 12-year or 14-year deals with Machado or Harper, but if they remain on the market and New York feels that they can fill holes on the roster, he "guarantees" that the Yankees are still part of the equation.
"I will never believe a guy like Harper or Machado is not a Yankee until I see him holding up another jersey and wearing another cap at the podium," Murti said.
Murti pointed to the Yankees' past signings of Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira as examples of pursuits in which New York distanced itself at the start before ultimately choosing to pull the trigger on both. And Murti also feels the Yankees have more of a need than they would indicate at shortstop with the uncertainty around Didi Gregorius, pointing to the time in 2013 when Derek Jeter's injury necessitated them scrambling to find Luis Cruz to fill the gap.
With that said, this time could be different, with the Yankees finally having dropped below the luxury tax threshold after 15 straight years of being penalized, and owner Hal Steinbrenner reportedly reluctant to make another significant commitment.
Will last year's acquisition of Stanton cost Yankees Harper or Machado?
Nov. 9: The Yankees made a blockbuster move to acquire slugger Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins last offseason, also taking on $265 million remaining on his contract after Miami agreed to pick up $30 million in the trade. Did that acquisition make it unlikely New York could land one of this year's prized superstars, Bryce Harper or Manny Machado?
It did, according to SNY's John Harper (no relation), who argues that Stanton's no-trade clause, coupled with Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner's aversion to putting another giant contract on the franchise's payroll, makes the chances of Harper or Machado landing in the Bronx slim to none. The Yankees have also made it very apparent their first priority this offseason is starting pitching.
Who is the better investment: Harper or Machado?
Nov. 9: With both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado expected to command a long-term contract valued at more than $300 million this offseason, the question arises: which young superstar is the better investment?
ESPN's Bradford Doolittle takes a shot at answering that question, and he comes to the conclusion that Harper is the better bet. In a nutshell, Harper has more value offensively, and Machado has more value defensively, but Doolittle sees the offensive advantage Harper brings to the table outweighing Machado's superior defensive ability.
Obviously, these types of decisions are subject to many other factors, including positional need, for the different clubs that may pursue the two sluggers. But in a vacuum, Doolittle sees a Harper mega-deal paying off more than one for Machado.
What does the future hold for Harper and Machado?
Nov. 9: Since being drafted first and third overall, respectively, in the 2010 MLB Draft, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have become two of the biggest stars in baseball. And regardless of where the two players land in free agency this offseason, the signing clubs will surely be hoping they'll be as good or better over the next decade.
History paints a positive picture about what teams might be able to expect, with some exceptions.
According to FanGraphs, Harper and Machado have each generated roughly 30 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in their careers. To determine potential future outcomes for the duo, MLB.com's Andrew Simon took a look at 43 players who each also recorded between 20-40 WAR through their age-25 seasons and have seen at least 10 years pass since then.
Breaking down WAR totals from their age 26-35 seasons, Simon found Willie Mays (92.2 WAR), Barry Bonds (79.1) and Hank Aaron (75.7) to be the cream of the crop, and seven players -- Rickey Henderson (62.1 WAR), Carl Yastrzemski (58.2), Frank Robinson (57.9), Eddie Mathews (56.7), George Brett (53.7), Albert Pujols (51.8) and Cal Ripken Jr. (50.9) -- qualified as all-time greats. Simon put an additional 16 players in the superstars group.
Fifteen players were productive for a while, but injuries and/or age typically caught up to them, with David Wright serving as a representative example. On the lower end of the spectrum, Simon lists Jim Ray Hart (4.0 WAR) and Grady Sizemore (1.4) as the worst-case scenarios. Sizemore posted 27.2 WAR over his first four full seasons, ranking fourth in the Majors, behind only Pujols, Chase Utley and Alex Rodriguez. But due to injuries, the outfielder barely collected 1,000 at-bats between 2010-15, and he played his final season in '15 at age 32.
Yankees not all-in on Machado, but remain opportunistic
Nov. 8: The Yankees will be tied to Machado for as long as he's available, because, well, they're the Yankees and have the payroll to give him his long-term deal, and Machado is a generational talent that fills a short-term need at shortstop. But according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, New York is more fixated on acquiring two starting pitchers this offseason and Machado is currently a "back-burner item."
With only Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and now CC Sabathia appearing to be locked into rotation spots for 2019, that's a more pressing need than breaking the bank for a shortstop, and with the Yankees finally falling below the luxury tax threshold in 2018, the Steinbrenners might be loath to give up payroll flexibility by locking up a long-term commitment to Machado alongside the 13-year deal already owed to Giancarlo Stanton.
Sherman indicates that the most likely path for the Yankees is, indeed, adding two starters and a temporary replacement for Gregorius. But he also points out that after 2008, when Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were available to cement a championship contender, the Steinbrenners were convinced to make the commitment. The same thing happened with Tanaka prior to the 2014 season.
So with the Yankees, it's never say never, as they've shown that they're not averse to changing their plans when the market dictates it. And as Andy Martino of SNY point out, the market might still be shaping up for the Yankees to make an opportunistic push for Machado.
If the Phillies win the competition for Bryce Harper, as would be suggested by recent reports, Machado could lose perhaps his most aggressive suitor. And while the White Sox or a mystery team could still choose to go all-in on the shortstop, the Yankees could swoop in if the market cools enough to drive the asking price to a more reasonable level.
Dodgers, Mets unlikely to pursue Machado
Nov. 8: Machado himself already hinted that a reunion with the Dodgers would be unlikely after he posted a thank-you message to the Dodgers and their fans on Instagram following the World Series. Now, a return to Los Angeles seems even more unlikely after a Thursday report by the Los Angeles Times that shortstop Corey Seager will likely be ready for Spring Training after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April and a hip operation in August.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman confirmed to the Los Angeles Times at the General Managers Meetings that Seager will return as a shortstop, meaning that the Dodgers' infield is simply too crowded for Machado. Justin Turner and David Freese can both play third base, and though Turner could move to first, that would block Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy from regular playing time.
The Mets, on the other hand, do have a clear fit for Machado, with a need for a powerful right-handed bat in the middle of their lineup and struggling hitters in Todd Frazier and Amed Rosario installed on the left side of the infield. They've maintained that they're in win-now mode under the reign of new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.
But a source told Matt Ehalt of NorthJersey.com that the Mets are not expected to pursue Machado, with Van Wagenen's focus after the GM Meetings instead centered around finding relief pitching, a catcher and outfield options this offseason. According to Ehalt, the Mets would prefer to make several impactful acquisitions instead of a franchise-altering commitment to someone like Machado.
Where will Machado sign?
Nov. 8: That's a pretty simple question with a much less simple answer. Manny Machado, after all, would make every team in baseball better, but not every team can both afford and fit him into its roster.
So the friendly folks at Cut4 broke out the Free Agent Matrix to analyze which clubs are best positioned to target the star shortstop (or third baseman). The favorites? Well, sure, it's the Phillies and Yankees, who both have lots of money to spend and a need on the left side of their infields. But there are a few dark horses in this race, too. Wanna see who they are? Of course you do. (And c'mon, you also wanna lay eyes on the well-designed matrix, which covers all 30 teams.)
Oh, and while you're there, go ahead and vote for which team YOU think will land Machado.
Showalter, Britton on Machado's mentality
Nov. 7: A portion of the coverage surrounding Manny Machado's free agency has been focused on the superstar's personality and mentality in the wake of a few highly publicized on- and off-field gaffes related to his lack of hustle and questionable dirty play (i.e., running over Jesus Aguilar's foot and sliding aggressively into second base). The big question: How much will that impact Machado's market, if at all?
Video: NLCS Gm4: Machado on altercation with Aguilar
In a story for the New York Post, MLB Network insider Joel Sherman discussed Machado with Buck Showalter. The money quote from Showalter, who managed Machado for the first six-and-a-half seassons of the star's career in Baltimore:
"Manny loves baseball, but who knows what happens when someone gets this kind of [financial] commitment. Will it make him more driven or more lackadaisical with that kind of commitment? No one is smart enough to know that. What I know is that his talent plays. There is no doubt he will listen if he respects you. Are there going to be times you have to define reality to him? Yes."
Meanwhile, former longtime teammate Zach Britton -- a free agent himself this offseason -- made supportive comments about Machado in an appearance on MLB Network Radio. "I know the guy he is in the clubhouse and the guy he is off the field, and that guy overshadows any of the stuff people may see on TV," Britton said. "He's a really good guy and a really good teammate."
Character certainly is something teams take into account when considering acquiring players, especially ones who are likely to cost upward of $300 million over a long-term deal like Machado is expected to get. While there might be some questions in this vein about Machado, he's also one of the very best players in the sport, and having a former manager and teammate back him up is a positive sign.
Phils not ruling out Machado over character concerns
Nov. 7: The Phillies have been long linked to Machado (and Bryce Harper, for that matter), but after the superstar shortstop's skirmishes in the postseason, speculation surfaced about whether Philly -- or any club, for that matter -- would have concerns over Machado's character when contemplating giving him a lucrative contract.
Phils GM Matt Klentak wouldn't speak directly about Machado when asked about such assertions at the GM Meetings on Tuesday, but he did offer more clarity on where the club might stand on the matter.
"We have to factor in everything," Klentak told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. "I'm being vague because I don't want to address that particular player, as you can tell. But it's something that we will incorporate into our decision-making process, whether it's a superstar player or a complementary player or whether it's extending an internal player, whether it's a Minor League free agent, whether it's hiring a staff member. We really do a thorough assessment of the individual. We're going to evaluate that, and the decision might be to not sign that person. But it really comes down to the balance of all the factors. It's not that complicated."
• Phils don't seem afraid of Machado's baggage
The Phillies, who were prominently linked to Machado ahead of last season's non-waiver Trade Deadline, are on a short list of favorites to land the 26-year-old. But given Machado's exploits in the postseason -- tripping over Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar's foot and claiming that he's not "Johnny Hustle" -- speculation has surfaced if those behaviors will affect his free-agent stock.
In 2017, Machado was accused of purposefully sliding hard into Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, which allegedly prompted Boston to throw at Machado on purpose in retaliation. Machado then lashed out in an expletive-laden rant in response during a TV interview when asked about the matter. In 2016, Machado tussled with Yordano Ventura when the former Royals starter intentionally threw at him. And in 2014, Machado was suspended five games for tossing a bat into the A's infield in what was perceived retaliation for Josh Donaldson, then with Oakland, sliding hard into Machado at third prior.
Video: Must C Confrontation: Machado's mad charge at Ventura
All of this has been brought to light given that Machado has been touted to earn a contract in exceess of 10 years and $300 million by some pundits.
"When we are evaluating players, we do our best to evaluate the total player, everything that player brings to the table," Klentak said. "Offense, defense, baserunning, their makeup and work ethic, their age, their health histories and a couple other things. We factor in all of those characteristics into how we evaluate the player. We make roster and contract decisions accordingly.
"It's unlikely you're going to find a player that's elite in every single one of those areas. If you do, he's probably not going to be a free agent. Sometimes you have to pick and choose what you're willing to bet on."
Will Padres trade Myers to make room for Machado?
Nov. 6: There have been several big market teams linked to Manny Machado, but what about the Padres? After all, they did land one of the top free agent hitters last offseason in Eric Hosmer, as they sought a veteran clubhouse leader to add to a mix of young players. San Diego was mentioned as one of the top three suitors for Machado by MLB Network Radio analyst and former MLB general manager Jim Duquette.
Sources tell MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal that the Padres could look to move Wil Myers, who is two years into the six-year, $83 million extension he signed in January 2017, to clear salary as the club looks to address its needs at third base and in the rotation.
According to Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required), the Padres are comfortable with Franmil Reyes in left and Hunter Renfroe in right, and they have Hosmer entrenched at first base, leaving Myers without an obvious place to play. Myers did start 36 games at the hot corner in 2018, but he didn't show enough defensively to suggest he can be a long-term option at the position (though, in fairness, he was put there on short notice and with no prior experience).
It's unclear whether Padres general manager A.J. Preller and the rest of the San Diego front office will pursue the biggest names on the market, but as he told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune, the General Managers Meetings provide an opportunity to gauge the field.
"You just want to leave there with as many answers and a clear sense of what's realistic and what's probably not going to line up free agent-wise and trade-wise," Preller said. "You find out 'This is what it's going to cost' and 'This is what it's going to be in terms of a trade.' … We are definitely prepared. We've put together target groups, different game plans. You start to work your way through them."