CHICAGO -- The White Sox seven-year offer to free-agent infielder Manny Machado has not changed, a source confirmed to MLB.com on Monday.On Sunday, reports swirled that the Sox had upped their offer to Machado to eight years. There also were reports that the Phillies -- after meeting with Bryce Harper
CHICAGO -- The White Sox seven-year offer to free-agent infielder Manny Machado has not changed, a source confirmed to MLB.com on Monday.
On Sunday, reports swirled that the Sox had upped their offer to Machado to eight years. There also were reports that the Phillies -- after meeting with Bryce Harper and his wife in Las Vegas on Saturday -- had become favorites to land the outfielder.
If the Phillies were to land Harper, would that mean the White Sox had a clear shot at Machado? Is there really a mystery team interested in either of those stars, as has been reported? Might the Sox be being leveraged for a better deal elsewhere?
After USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported on Sunday that the Phillies were the favorite for Harper, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the White Sox had moved to an eight-year offer to Machado. Hector Gomez of Z101 Digital in the Dominican Republic placed that offer at $250 million.
Nightengale tweeted later on Sunday that the White Sox had not moved off their seven-year-offer, and that was confirmed on Monday by a source. So what does this all mean for the White Sox?
There's little question the team has serious interest in both Machado and Harper. Although the White Sox begin their third season of their ongoing rebuild, they targeted this offseason as a time to be aggressive and opportunistic with a pair of premium 26-year-old talents available and the payroll flexibility to match that desire.
If as reports indicate the Yankees are no longer trying to reach a deal with Machado, then the White Sox certainly aren't about to bid against themselves with no certainty that a "mystery team" actually exists, or any certainty that either player would, in the end, choose the Sox.
That assessment represents no afront to the White Sox, but it is a team coming off 195 losses over the last two rebuilding years. Even in a less-than-stellar American League Central, Chicago is likely a year away from contending.
Many people outside of the White Sox organization considered this team a long shot to sign either Machado or Harper as the offseason began. But the club has sold these players on its plethora of burgeoning young talent, not to mention serving as the face of the franchise in a major media market.
General manager Rick Hahn already has upgraded the White Sox bullpen through the addition of Alex Colome and Kelvin Herrera. He stabilized the rotation with the trade for Ivan Nova, added a solid catcher in James McCann and balanced the lineup with the trade for left-handed-hitting first baseman Yonder Alonso, who happens to be Machado's brother-in-law, and outfielder Jonathan Jay, a close friend of Machado.
One point made clear by Hahn is the White Sox can afford to wait on decisions from Machado and Harper. There doesn't seem to be a Plan B at this stage of the rebuild. They view these two as unique opportunities.
"You don't tend to get guys at this point in their career in free agency having already accomplished what they've accomplished, and on the trajectory that they appear to be on," Hahn said during a recent conference call. "So that part is unique, and that's understandably impacted the pace and how this thing's unfolded. Outside of that segment of the market, I think it's been fairly standard."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.