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Machado's arrival sparks South Side speculation

MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Welington Castillo didn't require the expert analysis of a general manager when answering a Monday inquiry about wanting a generational talent such as Manny Machado on the White Sox.

"Everybody would want him, here and every team," the veteran catcher said. "Who wouldn't want to have a guy like him? He's special, honestly. He's an awesome player and an awesome person."

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CHICAGO -- Welington Castillo didn't require the expert analysis of a general manager when answering a Monday inquiry about wanting a generational talent such as Manny Machado on the White Sox.

"Everybody would want him, here and every team," the veteran catcher said. "Who wouldn't want to have a guy like him? He's special, honestly. He's an awesome player and an awesome person."

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Castillo has first-hand knowledge of Machado, having played with him as part of the Orioles in 2017 and on the Dominican Republic squad for the '17 World Baseball Classic. As far as Castillo and Machado becoming teammates again when Machado potentially enters free agency after the 2018 season, Castillo wasn't hazarding a guess.

Nobody asked by the media scrum Monday had much of a prediction as to Machado's future, be it an upcoming in-season trade or on the open market. That list includes the 25-year-old Machado, who was surrounded by somewhere around 20 reporters outside the visiting clubhouse at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Most of the questions dealt with Machado handling the trade buzz, having a Most Valuable Player caliber season on a bad team and potential trade interest from the Cubs. When the White Sox arose as a topic, Machado mentioned knowing Castillo but not much more.

"I haven't been keeping up," Machado said. "I've been trying to play baseball and worry about my team over here."

The White Sox remain in Year 2 of their rebuild, a phase focused on talent development. While they did have some level of interest in acquiring Machado at the previous Winter Meetings, it would seem unlikely to tear apart their critical mass of young talent presently for a rental coming to a team on the outskirts of playoff contention.

Pursuing Machado in the offseason becomes a different story for the White Sox, especially with only $10.9 million on the books pre-arbitration in 2019, per Cot's Contracts. Skeptics will point to Jose Abreu's six-year, $68 million deal as the highest contract in franchise history, but general manager Rick Hahn has mentioned numerous times larger deals being offered that didn't result in the player signing, as well as no artificial contract ceiling being in place.

Machado would fit in at third base, despite having Yolmer Sanchez and Matt Davidson currently doing a solid job there and Jake Burger, the team's top pick in the 2017 First-Year Player Draft and No. 8 prospect according to MLB Pipleine, recovering from a second left Achilles tear. But White Sox manager Rick Renteria was looking more at home for a Machado-type talent.

"Maybe we do have a Manny Machado within our grasp within the system. I certainly hope so," Renteria said. "I have to maintain and make sure that I take care of every single guy we have in our clubhouse at this moment and everybody we have in the system."

Lopez gaining confidence

There have been previous starts this season when Reynaldo Lopez pushed Renteria to let him stay late in the game, only to have Renteria go to the bullpen. So Lopez's strikeout of Shin-Soo Choo to finish eight scoreless on Sunday in Chicago's 3-0 win was a big moment for the young right-hander moving forward.

Video: TEX@CWS: Lopez pleads his case, stays in to K Choo

"Ricky asked him, 'Do you want it?' He said, 'Yes. I want that hitter. I'm going to get him out,'" Castillo said. "You could see the confidence on his face that he wanted that hitter."

"It was a big growing moment for him," Renteria said. "He gained some more confidence and I felt like it was the right time."

Third to first

The White Sox agreed to a Minor League deal with outfielder Michael Saunders and added him to their Triple-A Charlotte roster. The 31-year-old provides outfield depth to a team hit by injuries to Nicky Delmonico and Avisail Garcia.

Delmonico had X-rays taken again Monday on the fractured third metacarpal in his right hand. He's currently shut down from activity and will have X-rays again in 10 days.

"Everything's in place," Delmonico said. "The first week's crucial of not doing anything. Just gotta let it heal."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Manny Machado