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The latest Machado free-agent rumors

MLB.com

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.

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.

Latest on Machado's mystery teams
Jan. 22: Where will Manny Machado land? With Spring Training less than a month away, we're no closer to finding out the answer to that question, especially with the reports of multiple undisclosed teams being involved only creating more speculation.

Some of the mystery team suggestions are more surprising than others. Casey Stern of MLB Network Radio shared his belief Monday that the Marlins, Machado's hometown club, are eyeing the superstar. "You've got a guy who will bring fans to the seats because he's from the area," Stern said. "He will bring some fans into the seats, even with bad play [by the team] ... probably, in my opinion, even more than [Giancarlo] Stanton did."

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: #Marlins-Manny Machado-Mystery Team? -@CaseyStern pic.twitter.com/wyXvHsr8EL

MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, however, reports that Miami is not in on Machado, according to sources.

Meanwhile, Hector Gomez of Z101, a Dominican Republic radio station, has heard the Pirates could be in the mix. (Tweet translated from Spanish to English.)

Tweet from @hgomez27: Several reports suggest that the @Pirates could be the mystery team that would be interested in Manny Machado.#ZDigital #ZDeportes @z101digital @ZDeportes https://t.co/d029rQh14B

Pittsburgh certainly has a need for the infielder, but the club doesn't have a reputation for spending big on the free-agent market, and Machado is reportedly looking for a record-setting contract. It would be a stunning development, to say the least, if the Pirates sign Machado. In fact, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand and Adam Berry both dispel rumors linking Pittsburgh to Machado.

The mystery team chatter really picked up steam last week when Gomez tweeted comments from Machado's father, who said he believed the team people were overlooking would be the one to sign his son.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman subsequently confirmed the presence of an unknown team in the race for Machado and SNY's Andy Martino followed up with a report that at least two mystery teams are involved.

No current free agent hit the ball hard more often than Machado in '18
Jan. 20: Manny Machado is, along with Bryce Harper, the most talented free agent on the market. One particular area in which the 26-year-old superstar excels is consistently making hard contact. MLB.com's Andrew Simon took a look at the best skills among remaining free agents, and Machado had the highest hard-hit rate (percentage of batted balls with exit velocity of 95 mph or greater) in 2018, at 48.2 percent. That was good for 15th among 228 MLB hitters with a minimum of 250 batted balls.

The Phillies, White Sox and a pair of mystery teams reportedly lead the pack for Machado, who is reportedly looking for a record contract that would exceed the 13-year, $325 million deal Giancarlo Stanton signed with the Marlins in '14. More >

At least two mystery teams in Machado race
Jan. 19: Just when it seemed like the Phillies and White Sox were the only two teams left in the Manny Machado sweepstakes, at least two more undisclosed clubs have emerged, Major League sources told Andy Martino of SNY.tv.

Machado has personally met with one of the unidentified teams in recent days, and MLB Network insider Jon Heyman has heard that said team has the high bid for the 26-year-old.

Additionally, Martino reports that the Yankees are maintaining contact with Machado's camp, though he notes that New York remains unlikely to sign him.

The Braves have checked in as well, but Martino writes that they "are not believed to be serious suitors."

In comments made to Hector Gomez of Z101, a Dominican Republic radio station, Machado's father, Manuel, alluded to a potential mystery suitor for his son, saying the team people are overlooking would be the one to sign the superstar free agent. The elder Machado also said that the Dodgers were one of the teams that have made his son an offer, but that was quickly disputed by Heyman.

Here are the tweets from Gomez, translated from Spanish to English.

Tweet from @hgomez27: Manuel Machado, Manny���s Father:���Manny has received offers from different teams: Yankees, Dodgers, Phillies, now there���s a lot of interest from the White Sox.���#ZDigital #ZDeportes @z101digital @ZDeportes pic.twitter.com/2QoiZEy5zl

Tweet from @hgomez27: Manuel Machado, Manny���s Father:"I believe that the team you will probably less think about is the one that���s gonna sign Manny Machado."#ZDigital #ZDeportes @z101digital @ZDeportes

Manny seen wearing a Sox cap; does it mean anything?
Jan. 18: Is Manny Machado leaning toward signing with the White Sox? With the Phillies reportedly turning their focus to fellow 26-year-old superstar Bryce Harper after meeting with him in Las Vegas last week, and the Yankees signing yet another infielder in DJ LeMahieu, it appears Chicago may be the favorite to land Machado. The White Sox have reportedly made a seven-year, $175 million offer, though that has been disputed by Machado's agent, Dan Lozano.

While it may be a clue, or may be nothing at all, Machado was seen wearing a White Sox cap while taking batting practice with brother-in-law and White Sox first baseman Yonder Alonso on Friday. The website 12up reports that this took place in Miami.

Tweet from @12upSport: Yeah this definitely looks like Manny Machado wearing a White Sox hat and trying to hide it pic.twitter.com/nvtQUyAqIt

Machado and Harper are the two premier free agents this offseason, a pair of superstar sluggers under 27 years old on the open market, which can be a rarity. Both are reportedly looking to break the record for largest contract in MLB history, currently held by Giancarlo Stanton, who inked a 13-year, $325 million pact with the Marlins in 2014.

Yankees dip into free-agent market again -- but not for Machado
Jan. 17: While the Yankees are believed to be out of the Manny Machado sweepstakes, a report that the White Sox had offered the infielder $175 million over seven years -- which was later disputed by Machado's agent, Dan Lozano -- led to renewed speculation that New York could re-enter the mix for the right price.

However, the Yankees' latest move makes it even more unlikely that they'll circle back to sign Machado, as they have reportedly agreed to a three-year, $27 million contract with right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino.

With Ottavino's $9 million average annual value tacked on, the Yankees project to be nearly $15 million over the luxury-tax threshold in 2019, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. New York can bump that down a bit by trading Sonny Gray and his $7.5 million salary, but signing Machado for $25 million or more annually could put New York more than $30 million over the threshold.

In that case, the Yankees would need to pay a 20 percent tax on all overages plus a 12 percent surtax for exceeding the threshold by $20 million to $40 million, per the Competitive Balance Tax rules.

Due to the steeper penalties levied against teams that exceed the threshold by more than $40 million, signing Machado may also inhibit the Yankees' ability to make major in-season additions to the roster. Teams that finish more than $40 million over the luxury-tax line are subject to a 42.5 percent surtax and will have their highest selection in the next MLB Draft moved back 10 spots, unless it falls in the top six -- in which case the second-highest selection is moved back 10 spots.

Assessing which 'mystery teams' may actually be in on Harper and/or Machado
Jan. 17: As the offseason drags on and Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain unsigned, the door will stay open for more teams to jump into the race, especially if there's a sense that the price to sign them may not be as high as many initially expected.

In an article for ESPN+ (subscription required) on Thursday, Buster Olney listed some of the so-called "mystery teams" that are drawing speculation from industry insiders and broke down each club's chances of signing one of this offseason's superstar free agents.

Olney is hearing the Astros, Giants and Braves being mentioned as potential suitors for Harper; the Yankees and Padres as possible contenders for Machado; and the Rangers, Twins and Cubs as three teams that could sign either player.

Olney thinks most of these clubs will continue to sit out of the proceedings, but he could see Houston entering the mix for Harper if the slugger is willing to accept a shorter-term deal with opt-outs. The Astros nearly acquired Harper before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline this past season, but the Nationals backed out. As Olney points out, the team is in win-now mode, especially with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole set to enter free agency next offseason.

"They've got the money, for sure," said one rival official.

The Astros seemingly have their starting outfield set after signing Michael Brantley, but Harper would represent a massive upgrade in right field over Josh Reddick, who recorded a .718 OPS in 2018.

Olney concedes that it might seem odd to have the Yankees as a potential mystery team for Machado, as they were one of three clubs -- along with the Phillies and White Sox -- to meet with him in December. But with Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu in the fold, New York is not aggressively pursuing Machado at this time. That could change, though, if Machado's asking price falls into a range that the Yankees are more comfortable with.

Phillies could eye Machado now, Trout later
Jan. 17: Imagine Mike Trout anchoring the outfield and Machado anchoring the infield. The Phillies are.

According to a report from Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci -- citing a source with knowledge of Philadelphia's offseason plans -- while the Phillies have enough money to sign both Machado and Bryce Harper, they'd actually like to sign just one. Why? So they can make a run at Trout, too, if he hits free agency after the 2020 season.

Either Machado or Harper, Verducci writes, "would invigorate what for years has been a sleeping giant among Major League franchises." And a pairing with Trout would be a once-in-a-generation combo.

And Verducci writes that while Trout, Harper and Andrew McCutchen would indeed be a dream outfield, "Philadelphia seems to carry a slight preference for Machado over Harper, if only because club officials met much earlier with Machado than they did with Harper."

Lozano releases statement on Machado reports
Jan. 16: Speculation about whether Manny Machado has been presented with a formal offer and for how much has become so rampant that it led to his agent, Dan Lozano, releasing a statement questioning some of the reports Wednesday afternoon.

Tweet from @Feinsand: Dan Lozano of MVP Sports Group, the agent for Manny Machado, released the following statement regarding recent reports: pic.twitter.com/MmKy9doaFz

Lozano's statement specifically mentioned multiple reports that emerged earlier Wednesday indicating the White Sox had offered Machado a seven-year deal for $175 million, well below the expected market price for the superstar infielder.

Video: After agent's statement, what is market on Machado?

Machado's early targets were topping either Alex Rodriguez's record 10-year, $275 million free-agent deal from 2007 or even Giancarlo Stanton's 13-year, $325 million extension with the Marlins in '14. But the dwindling number of interested teams (Machado's current market may be down to just the Phillies and White Sox) means the demand from the club side might not be there to satisfy Machado's desire for a record deal. That said, Machado should still be able to net a larger deal than Chicago's reported offer when all is said and done.

Phils don't plan on signing both Machado and Harper
Jan. 15: Verducci's report echoes an earlier one from Matt Gelb of The Athletic, which suggests that while the Phillies won't sign both Machado and Harper, they're seen as a favorite to get one of the two -- it's just a matter of which one.

In a story detailing why the Phils feel confident in their slow-play approach with regard to Machado and Harper so far this winter, Gelb writes (subscription required): "League sources insisted the Phillies have made this much clear during negotiations: They will not sign both players."

That jives with what MLB Network insider Jon Heyman is hearing, and Heyman also notes that Philly might have more in mind than landing Machado or Harper -- like some other high-end free agents, including lefty Dallas Keuchel, closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder A.J. Pollock.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Philly is in excellent position to sign one or the other of the free agent mega stars ��� Harper or Machado. Signing both though is said to remain pretty unlikely. But after they secure 1, Phils may take a closer look at other top free agents (ie Keuchel, Kimbrel, Pollock)

Back in late December, the Phillies hosted Machado at Citizens Bank Park, too, making them one of two teams -- the White Sox are the other -- known to have had face-to-face sit-downs with both stars this offseason. That could give them an advantage over some of the other suitors who have been linked to one player or the other, a list that potentially includes the Nationals, Yankees and Dodgers.

The Phils last week conducted a five-hour interview with Harper in his hometown of Las Vegas, sending a contingent that included owner John Middleton, general manager Matt Klentak and manager Gabe Kapler. The meeting went so well that the club turned its sights more centrally on Harper, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, after spending most of the offseason with Machado as their top priority. That makes things interesting, if Gelb's report is indeed true that the club will only attempt to sign one or the other. 

And yet, the waiting game continues for the Phillies, who don't seem to mind seeing how this plays out, because of the fact that either Harper or Machado could be a great fit for them -- and their financial fortitude to perhaps present the largest offers to either player.

"There is risk in dragging out this dance," Gelb writes, "but multiple league sources indicated the Phillies' risk of losing out on both stars is mitigated by the apparent lack of interested teams throughout Major League Baseball and the club's financial wherewithal."

Manny Machado