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.
Could Beltran help Yanks recruit Machado?
Dec. 18: With the Manny Machado recruitment tour scheduled for New York on Wednesday, are the Yankees preparing to pull out all the stops to entice the superstar infielder toward a future in pinstripes?
The latest news is that former Yankees player Carlos Beltran -- whose agent during his playing days was Dan Lozano, currenly Machado's rep -- is expected to join the team as a special advisor to general manager Brian Cashman, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reports, citing a source.
Whether Beltran -- who was in the running last year to be Yankees manager before Aaron Boone was hired -- would be part of the recruiting process for the Yankees as they pitch Machado on coming to the Bronx remains to be seen. But hey, if nothing else, it's fun to speculate as the Machado buzz ratchets up this week.
Machado tour swings through South Side
Dec. 17: The Machado sweepstakes could heat up this week as he tours the country to meet with potential suitors. Reports are that Machado will meet with the Yankees on Wednesday in New York and with the Phillies on Thursday at Citizens Bank Park, but first came a visit to the South Side of Chicago on Monday, when he met with the White Sox.
Want a peek at Machado arriving at Guaranteed Rate Field on Monday? NBC Sports Chicago has footage.
The White Sox were not as close to a World Series title as the Yankees and Phillies in 2018, but they have been viewed at various times this offseason as a club willing to extend a considerable financial offer toward either Machado or Bryce Harper. Those expectations were tempered slightly, however, when ESPN's Buster Olney reported Saturday (subscription required) that Chicago is unlikely to offer a contract that would surpass Giancarlo Stanton's record $325 million deal from 2014. Both Machado and Harper are expected to ask for more than that total, and so the White Sox might need to wait and see if their asking prices go down at all in the coming weeks or months.
Chicago traded for Machado's brother-in-law, first baseman Yonder Alonso, last week in a move that fueled speculation toward its pursuit of Machado, but White Sox general manager Rick Hahn downplayed the transaction as strictly a "baseball deal."
Alonso spoke with Chicago media via conference call from his Miami home. He was excited about the prospect of playing on the same club as his brother-in-law.
"We are definitely very close," Alonso said of Machado. "We live two blocks away from each other in Miami. It will be very, very nice to also be neighbors on the South Side.
"I know he's very excited for me, his whole family is very excited for me, and we feel like it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I definitely want him to be my neighbor, I'll tell you that. I want him to be by my side. But again, I know he is going to do his thing and make his own decision."
The White Sox lost 100 games in 2018, but their opportunity could be coming soon in the American League Central with the Indians' window for contention perhaps starting to close.
Video: Alonso talks about his desire to play with Machado
Phillies: Harper or Machado not necessary for success
Dec. 17: The Phillies have long been connected with both of the premier free agents on this offseason's market, 26-year-old superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. But president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said Monday that while managing partner John Middleton said last month that the club might be "a little bit stupid" in how it spends money this winter, an acquisition of either isn't a prerequisite for success in 2019.
"You can have a very successful offseason and not include either one of those [players]," said MacPhail. "That may or may not be the case. But the way that it was portrayed put John in an awkward spot."
After competing for a National East division title for most of last season, only to fade fast down the stretch, Philadelphia has been rumored to be ready to make a big splash or two this offseason. It's even been suggested that the Phillies could land both Harper and Machado. Machado has ties to the Phillies through the front office, as MacPhail was the Orioles' general manager while Machado was in Baltimore.
Former MLB general manager Jim Duquette, an analyst for MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, said he thinks the Phillies are still by far the frontrunners to land Machado.
"I would be surprised if he ends up with the White Sox. I think the Phillies will be the team," Duquette said. "The owners continue to talk about how much they're going to spend money. And they love him in the front office. I think they're the most motivated, they need him at third base, all of those things combined. ... I feel stronger today than I did before the offseason even started, that he's going to be a Phillie."
Machado is scheduled to meet with the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday, a day after he visits the Yankees in New York. He met with the White Sox in Chicago on Monday.
Do the Yankees 'have to get a deal done' with Machado?
Dec. 16: The Yankees will be without shortstop Didi Gregorius for the first half of the 2019 season. As New York has worked to upgrade its starting rotation this offseason, Jim Memolo of MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM asks whether the Bronx Bombers need to be more urgent about signing Manny Machado.
"If you're the Yankees, and you don't sign Machado, and even if you sign someone like [Troy Tulowitzki] as a stopgap, you are not as good a lineup as you were last year," Memolo argues. "Troy Tulowitzki and some of the other names mentioned are not as good offensively or defensively as Didi Gregorius. So you tell me about that 'fully operational Death Star,' and I tell you that your lineup today, December 16, is not as good as it was last year."
Machado is expected to land a long-term contract in the neighborhood of $300 million this offseason. Along with Bryce Harper, the 26-year-old Machado is the most coveted free agent on the market. A four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner, he hit .297/.367/.538 with 37 home runs and 14 steals between the Orioles and Dodgers last season.
As the Yankees work to put together a roster that can match the defending World Series champion Red Sox in the American League East, New York will be looking for any edge possible heading into the '19 season.
Machado to meet with Yanks on Wednesday, Phils on Thursday
Dec. 16: Manny Machado will formally meet with the Yankees on Wednesday in New York, according to George A. King III of the New York Post. And he'll meet with the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday, reports NBC Sports' Jim Salisbury.
Regardless of ownership's apprehensions of Machado's work ethic and perceived character concerns, all signs have pointed to the Yankees at least exploring the possibility of adding the star shortstop this offseason. They were reportedly interested in him last winter, tried to acquire him ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline in July and now have a need at the position with Didi Gregorius slated to miss a chunk of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Last month, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner called Machado's now-infamous "Johnny Hustle" comments "troubling" and said he was hoping to conduct a sit-down meeting with Machado to glean clarification on his remarks. Andy Martino of SNY.tv reported after the postseason that the club was "lukewarm" on Machado given his postseason antics, though that approach appears to have altered.
The Phillies have also been long rumored to be interested in signing not only Machado, but perhaps also the other marquee free agent this offseason, Bryce Harper. With young talent on the roster and enough payroll room to spend big this winter, Philadelphia is looking to shake up what is shaping up to be a very competitive NL East in 2019.
The Machado market, like most players' this offseason, has been slow to develop. Machado has been rumored to be in the market for one of the richest contracts in baseball history, potentially in the neighborhood of $300 million. The Yankees and Phillies are among only a small handful of clubs with the financial bandwidth to offer such a deal. Gregorius will be back at some time in 2019, but he will become a free agent at season's end, which could create a long-term spot for Machado.
Video: Would the Yankees prefer Harper or Machado?
While teams continue to woo Machado, it's also worth considering this process from his point of view, too. Does Machado have a preference for where he winds up?
"Manny Machado's first choice is the New York Yankees," CBS Sports Network analyst and former big league general manager Jim Bowden said Wednesday evening. "So if the Yankees come to the table ... and are willing to compete financially for his services, they will be the team that gets Manny Machado."
The Yankees certainly have the resources to go after Machado, who is expected to score a contract that could rival that of Harper's this offseason. The question, then, might be how badly Cashman and the rest of the club's front office and ownership want Machado.
Could a club coming off a losing season be the one to land Machado?
Dec. 16: The White Sox have been in the Machado sweepstakes since last offseason, when they intriguingly attempted to trade for him when most of their other moves indicated they were still attempting to stock up their farm system. They again tried to acquire him ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline in July. And now they're among a handful of teams trying to sign him in free agency, where it will cost the club only dollars and not prospects.
But it will take a lot of dollars to land Machado.
Machado has been rumored to be in the market for among the richest contracts in baseball history, perhaps in excess of $200 million (if not more). It's also believed that he wants to sign with a contender, which further limits the pool of potential suitors. However, in an interesting piece for MLB.com, analyst Mike Petriello points out that, while winning is probably important to Machado (and Bryce Harper, for that matter), the underlying factor will be dollars.
• What type of team typically gives out a mega-deal?
"The thinking goes, Harper and Machado want to win," Petriello writes. "Harper has never won a playoff series. Machado hadn't before joining the Dodgers late in 2018. They won't go to a team that didn't win.
"Perhaps. But is that really true? Think about all the variables that go into a decision this momentous. Sure, winning is important. So are location, fit with the organization, ballpark, teammates, coaches and so on. But in the end, we all know the most important factor here is money. They're going to go where they can get the largest contract, and they've earned the right to do so."
Petriello adds that nearly 40 percent of all contracts in excess of $100 million have been given out by clubs that were coming off a sub-.500 season. It's logic backed by the hope that a prized talent can help springboard a club by making an immediate impact.
The Phillies, who are also as in on Machado as any club, finished 80-82 last year and would fit into Petriello's criteria.
Alonso is headed to the White Sox. Is Machado next?
Dec. 15: The White Sox have officially acquired first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians in exchange for Minor League outfielder Alex Call.
Alonso, 31, hit .250/.317/.421 with 23 home runs in 145 games for the Tribe last season, on the heels of an All-Star campaign split between the A's and Mariners, in which he slugged .501 with 28 homers in 142 games. He has an $8 million salary for 2019, and a $9 million club option for '20, with a $1 million buyout.
Alonso is also the brother-in-law of free-agent superstar Manny Machado, who is reportedly scheduled to meet with the White Sox in a matter of days. Chicago has been rumored to be interested in adding Machado to a club that will soon see top talent from the farm system coming into the big leagues. Adding his brother-in-law to the roster may enhance the organization's chances at landing one of the premier talents in the game. More >
White Sox reportedly have spending limits for Harper, Machado
Dec. 15: The White Sox like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado and are hoping to make one of them the centerpiece of their roster as they emerge from a rebuilding period, but it remains to be seen if the club will actually be among the top bidders for the two superstars.
A source tells ESPN's Buster Olney that Chicago is unwilling to make a record-setting offer to either player.
"The interest of the White Sox is more measured and modest than frenzied, and within more conventional financial bounds," Olney wrote Saturday for ESPN+ (subscription required).
That might not be enough for either player to choose the White Sox, especially with the team unlikely to be a serious contender in 2019 -- even with a big free-agent splash.
As MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal wrote for The Athletic (subscription required) last week, "the prevailing assumption in the industry is that [agent] Scott Boras wants to set new benchmarks with Harper's free-agent deal, whether in total guaranteed salary, average annual value or -- preferably -- both." One would assume Machado's agent, Dan Lozano, wants to do the same, or at least come close.
Rosenthal also recently broke down why signing Harper or Machado would be out of character for White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, even for a contract that doesn't set records. As Rosenthal noted, the biggest contract in team history is the six-year, $68 million deal Jose Abreu signed in October 2013.
Would Machado return to 3B if price is right?
Dec. 13: Manny Machado spent the past year making it abundantly clear that he prefers playing shortstop. It's why he moved last offseason from third base, where he played the vast majority of the first six seasons in the Major Leagues, to short -- his natural position, the one at which he was drafted back in 2010.
But now that he's a free agent and various teams courting him have different needs on the left side of their infields, would Machado consider moving back to the hot corner? Is it a matter of finding the right fit? The right team? The most amount of money?
"Manny's mindset is to be a shortstop," Machado's longtime coach and baseball mentor Bobby Dickerson told Scott Lauber of Philly.com. "He really wants to play short. But I do think for the correct team in the correct situation and the right contract, all those things, he'd be willing to play third. I don't know this, but I believe it."
After emerging as one of the elite defensive third basemen in the sport early in his career, Machado's performance at short came into question at times in 2018, particularly before he was traded to the Dodgers from the Orioles.
That could mean certain suitors might be wary of how he'd handle the position going forward, especially as the 26-year-old heads toward his late 20s and into his 30s. Given their current rosters, it's possible the Phillies, Yankees and White Sox -- the three known clubs with which Machado is expected to meet, among other mystery teams -- would prefer to deploy him at third.
Asked specifically about whether he thinks Machado would play third base for the Phillies in the wake of their recent acquisition of shortstop Jean Segura, Dickerson offered: "I think if the contract is right, he would. It may have to go an extra five million, or more, or whatever to get him out of [shortstop]. But if the contract is right, I think he would go to third."
Do Phillies prefer Harper or Machado?
Dec. 12: Bryce Harper or Manny Machado? Manny Machado or Bryce Harper? The Phillies, with all the money they have to spend this offseason, are in on one or the other -- maybe even both. But if forced to choose between the two superstars of this free-agent market, does the club have a preference? MLB Network insider Joel Sherman gets the sense that it's Machado, adding that Philadelphia could look to sign the 26-year-old infielder and Michael Brantley.
MLB.com's Todd Zolecki also hears Machado is first on the team's wish list .
"There are indications Philadelphia prefers [Machado] over Harper," Zolecki writes. "Now, Machado is not an iconic player like Harper. He is not as accomplished a hitter as Harper. But he is one of the game's greatest talents and he also plays a premium position."
That said, with new acquisiton Jean Segura locked in at shortstop, the Phillies will need to convince Machado to move back to third base. Philadelphia may also need to outbid the Yankees by a notable margin, as New York is believed to be Machado's preference.
Machado to meet with Yanks, Phils, White Sox and mystery teams
Dec. 11: The biggest transaction on the second day of the Winter Meetings -- at least as of late afternoon -- was the Phillies' deal to sign Andrew McCutchen to a reported three-year, $50 million pact. How does that impact Manny Machado, specifically?
It doesn't really change much, frankly, as McCutchen is expected to handle one of the corner outfield spots in Philly, and the amount of money -- while not insignificant -- shouldn't preclude the Phillies from making any substantial offer to Machado. In short: There's still a fit on the left side of the Phillies' infield, as MLB Network insider Jon Heyman pointed out.
So what's next for the superstar 26-year-old? Machado is slated to meet with teams most interested in him soon, and Heyman reports that three of them are the Yankees, White Sox and -- yep -- the Phillies, as well as three "mystery teams."
The takeaways from that? One, those three clubs are in big markets and have money to spend. Two, it's likely that nothing will happen any time soon (think: during the Winter Meetings) on the Machado front, given that he's planning to visit with a number of franchises.
Video: After Cutch, Phils could still target Harper, Machado
Are Yankees in on Machado, out on Harper?
Dec. 10: With a need at shortstop and a crowded outfield, the Yankees may be in the mix for Manny Machado but not so much for Bryce Harper. If it's a choice between Machado and Harper, it appears New York would lean toward the former -- and might, in fact, be out on the latter, as MLB.com's Bryan Hoch noted after GM Brian Cashman said Harper isn't a fit in their loaded outfield or at first base.
The question, then, becomes whether the typically deep-pocketed Yankees are serious enough about Machado to meet what is expected to be an asking price in the range of $300 million. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees plan to meet with Machado but won't necessarily pony up to that extent.
New York is among the few teams with the financial means to sign Machado to a long-term deal, and it has an immediate need at shortstop, where Didi Gregorius will miss a chunk of next season recovering from Tommy John surgery. To that end, it's not a surprise that Cashman said he has spoken with Machado's agent, Dan Lozano, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.
Heyman also reported that although New York is "pursuing" Machado, the club is considering other candidates to address its need in the infield, including Reds trade chip Scooter Gennett and versatile veteran free agents Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Harrison.
Heyman listed the Phillies, White Sox and potential mystery clubs as the Yankees' primary competitors for Machado. And even after trading for James Paxton, the Yankees are still looking to add to their rotation, which has been said to be their priority over pursuing Harper or Machado.
Harper and Machado negotiations could drag beyond Winter Meetings
Dec. 9: Those hoping the free-agent odysseys of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will reach their respective conclusions during the Winter Meetings may be disappointed.
According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required), the history between agents Scott Boras and Dan Lozano could be a major factor in negotiations stretching well beyond this week.
Boras, who represents Harper, used to rep Machado as well before losing him to Lozano in 2011 -- the same year Alex Rodriguez, another former Boras client, joined Lozano. As a result, Boras may have extra motivation to get Harper the bigger deal between this offseason's top two free agents.
"The prevailing assumption in the industry is that Boras wants to set new benchmarks with Harper's free-agent deal, whether in total guaranteed salary, average annual value or -- preferably -- both," Rosenthal writes. "Therefore, he will want Machado to sign first, securing the negotiating equivalent of 'last licks,' in which he would step to the plate knowing the number to beat. Boras' track record also indicates he would be willing to go to extra innings, moving at his own pace, stretching talks into January, if necessary."
But as Rosenthal points out, Machado isn't necessarily going to sign quickly. While Lozano isn't the same type of showman as Boras, outdueling his counterpart has to at least be on his mind in some capacity, and Machado is reportedly receiving interest from at least six teams, including the Yankees, Phillies and White Sox.
Meanwhile, Rosenthal notes that some rival agents and club executives think the market for Harper will be limited, given the bar Boras is believed to be setting. "It's Philly bidding against Philly," one agent said of the Harper sweepstakes.
White Sox selling Harper and Machado on a bright future
Dec. 8: The White Sox are willing to break the bank to land Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, but it may take more than cash to get one of those players to sign on the dotted line. Chicago also offers one of the biggest media markets in sports, but even that might not be enough.
As a 10-season postseason drought hangs over the franchise, the White Sox will need to sell Harper and Machado on the idea that World Series championship contention is right around the corner as their talent-rich farm system -- led by top prospect Eloy Jimenez (No. 3 overall, per MLB Pipeline) -- continues to bear fruit.
Granted, adding Harper or Machado might not make the White Sox instant contenders, even in the underwhelming American League Central.
The club has major needs on the pitching staff, especially with No. 2 prospect Michael Kopech (No. 19 overall) set to miss all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery, and it's unclear when No. 3 prospect Dylan Cease (No. 25 overall) and No. 6 prospect Dane Dunning (No. 59 overall) will be ready to contribute to the Major League rotation.
But general manager Rick Hahn thinks other players are clued-in enough to understand what the White Sox are building toward.
"You have to understand these guys are professionals, and they understand deep nuances about each individual franchise," Hahn said, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin. "From a macro standpoint, the idea of potentially being part of a winner in Chicago has very broad appeal.
"From a nuanced standpoint, the chance to be part of the White Sox organization based upon what our future looks like, futures that these players are familiar with and understand having either seen personally some of these young players play or video or talked to other players about them, it's something that they buy into."
With Tim Anderson at shortstop, Machado would fit better at third base for the White Sox. But if the 26-year-old insists on playing short, it's unlikely the club will let Anderson's presence get in the way. The 25-year-old Anderson is a potentially dynamic player -- he produced 20 homers with 26 steals in 2018 -- but he has major strides to make in the plate-discipline department. Anderson has recorded 428 strikeouts with just 56 walks in 1,643 career plate appearances, contributing to a .286 on-base percentage.