CHICAGO -- Since mid-December, the White Sox have added Manny Machado's brother-in-law and his good friend to their 2019 lineup. Could Machado himself soon be next for the South Siders?Outfielder Jonathan Jay, the friend portion of the Machado equation, agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal that the team announced
CHICAGO -- Since mid-December, the White Sox have added Manny Machado's brother-in-law and his good friend to their 2019 lineup. Could Machado himself soon be next for the South Siders?
Outfielder Jonathan Jay, the friend portion of the Machado equation, agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal that the team announced on Thursday. The White Sox designated Charlie Tilson for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
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Jay joins first baseman/designated hitter Yonder Alonso, Machado's brother-in-law, who was acquired in a trade from the Indians on Dec. 15. Their additions should assist at some level the pursuit of Machado, but as the veteran Jay pointed out during a conference call, they clearly won't make the final decision.
"Manny is going to do what is best for him and his family," Jay said. "We obviously have a great friendship, and Yonder is his brother-in-law and all that, but Manny is going to do what is best for his family.
"I haven't been involved in any of that. Those are their matters. Let's see how everything shakes out. We'd obviously love to have a Manny Machado, absolutely; the guy is unbelievable. But that is up to him and his family. Who knows what is going to happen?"
When asked about Machado's preparation and intensity, Jay described him as an "unbelievable worker."
"Like I said, he's a good friend of mine, and I'll leave it at that," Jay said. "I'm not here to talk about Manny's matters."
Both Jay and Alonso fit the rebuilding White Sox regardless of their connection to the premium free agent. The left-handed-hitting Jay, who turns 34 in March, hit .268 with a .330 on-base percentage and 74 runs between stops with Kansas City and Arizona in 2018. He is a capable leadoff hitter who can handle any of the three outfield spots as young prospects like Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Blake Rutherford, Luis Alexander Basabe and Micker Adolfo work their way to the Majors.
"There's going to be some different options for us and some choices that are going to have to be made even if we don't make any additional outside additions here over the next few weeks," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said of the team's outfield, which includes options such as Nicky Delmonico, Adam Engel, Daniel Palka and Leury Garcia. "A versatile guy like Jon is going to potentially fit in in a number of different ways, and we are going to have to wait to get a little closer to Opening Day to decide exactly what we are going to go with."
While Jay is only with the White Sox for one year and Alonso potentially two with a 2020 option, the additions could make things more comfortable for Machado to agree to a long-term deal with the White Sox. That reason wasn't the driving force for the moves, per Hahn.
"Again, these players are here because of what they bring specifically -- both between the lines and in the clubhouse," Hahn said. "We feel they make us better in 2019 and have the potential to have a lasting impact on what we are trying to build for the long term.
"I'm not going to get into the relationships they have with other players throughout the game. It's certainly a positive, but I wouldn't say it's by [any] means a reason to make a move to acquire either player."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.