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.
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.
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.
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."
White Sox have made Machado a seven-year offer, maybe longer
Jan. 14: The White Sox have made a long-term offer to Manny Machado -- that much is known. MLB.com's Scott Merkin reported late Monday afternoon that the club's offer has not increased from seven years, which downplayed a report on Sunday from ESPN's Jeff Passan that Chicago had made an eight-year offer to the star shortstop.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale and the Chicago Sun-Times' Daryl Van Schouwen echoed Merkin saying that the club's offer has not increased from seven years. It's possible that the deal could be worth seven years with incentives or options that could lead to an eighth year.
The value of the deal, according to Hector Gomez of Z101 Digital, is $250 million. Passan adds that the club may "be compelled to go even longer" to land Machado, who is reportedly seeking a deal north of the record 13-year, $325 million contract the Marlins gave slugger Giancarlo Stanton in 2014.
Machado is one of two premier free agents on this offseason's market, along with fellow 26-year-old superstar Bryce Harper. The other team that is seen as a frontrunner for Machado is the Phillies, though Philadelphia is reportedly turning its attention to Harper (per MLB.com's Todd Zolecki) after meeting with him in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The Yankees were also considered a serious suitor for Machado, but ESPN's Buster Olney reports talks with Machado are "either dormant or completely dead" following New York's acquisition of free-agent infielder DJ LeMahieu. So does that mean the White Sox are now leading the race for Machado? That may indeed be the case.
"Unless the Phillies give huge contracts to both players, which remains a possibility, that leaves the Sox and the Yankees as the two remaining teams interested in signing Machado," Paul Sullivan wrote Sunday for the Chicago Tribune.
"A 'mystery' team can emerge as they often do when agents try to ignite a bidding war, but the lack of public suitors for the 26-year-old Machado could mean he'll fall in the Sox's lap."
The White Sox are also in the hunt for Harper, but it seems likely that he will either re-sign with the Nationals or head to the Phillies.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported on Jan. 9 that Machado was believed to be seeking a contract north of Stanton's record $325 million. Per Heyman, neither Philadelphia nor Chicago is believed to be close to the $300 million mark in their offers.
The White Sox have tried to make themselves more appealing by adding Machado's brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and close friend Jon Jay to the mix this offseason. While money may ultimately be the prevailing factor in Machado's decision, Chicago could find itself in a situation where it is the last serious contender left standing.
What potential mystery teams could be in on Harper and/or Machado?
Jan. 14: At this point, it seems clear which teams are the frontrunners for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but is it possible there are some unknown clubs in the race, waiting to pounce? The door is certainly open for that outcome, as neither player has found a deal to his liking with the current contenders. In fact, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported last week that Machado's camp was telling some people that there is indeed an unknown team involved, though Heyman couldn't confirm the validity of that rumor.
So which clubs might be lurking as potential "mystery teams?" After extensive research into the market, MLB.com's Richard Justice named five in a column that was published Monday, putting the Giants at the top of his list.
"Since [president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi] has not traded away Madison Bumgarner, his most valuable asset, that could be a tipoff that the Giants aren't diving into any kind of rebuild," Justice writes. "What they need more than anything is an impact offensive player or two, preferably an outfielder. Signing Harper would insert the Giants back into the postseason conversation and also give the franchise a foundational piece to build on for the next decade or so."
Find out here what other teams could stun the baseball world by swooping in to sign Harper or Machado.
Yankees' negotiations with Machado are 'either dormant or completely dead'
Jan. 13: After the Yankees have bolstered their infield depth with a pair of veteran former Rockies -- second baseman DJ LeMahieu and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki -- to go along with promising third baseman Miguel Andujar and second baseman Gleyber Torres, the club might have swung significant leverage in its favor in any potential negotiations with Machado.
In a piece published on Sunday, ESPN's Buster Olney writes (subscription required) that the Yankees' negotiations with Machado are "either dormant or completely dead."
Andujar has long been a speculated trade chip given his breakout rookie campaign and his club control through the 2023 season. But his defense has been a glaring liability at times -- Andujar was worth minus-25 Defensive Runs Saved in 2018, per FanGraphs, which was by far the lowest among qualified third basemen. Machado, however, has been one of the Majors' most elite at the position, though he's made it clear that he'd ideally like to play shortstop.
The Yankees, per Olney, believe that Andujar's work ethic could be a propellant for the 23-year-old to make significant strides defensively. If they are committed to a patient approach, the Yankees could avoid shelling out another megadeal to land Machado, even though they are among a handful of clubs with the financial bandwidth capable of doing so.
Machado met with the Yankees in December, along with the White Sox and Phillies. It's believed that he would choose among those three clubs, though it's unclear if or what New York's offer currently is. Machado's representatives are currently telling his suitors that there is a mystery club involved, per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.
After meeting with Harper, Phillies optimistic
Jan. 12: Phillies executives traveled to Las Vegas to meet with superstar free agent Bryce Harper on Saturday, and according to Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, they emerged from the meeting "optimistic" about their chances to land either Harper or fellow 26-year-old free agent Manny Machado this offseason.
In addition to the Phillies, the other clubs seen as frontrunners to land Harper on what may be an unprecedented deal are the Nationals and White Sox. Philadelphia and Chicago are also seen as the frontrunners in the chase for Machado. As Breen notes, one area in which the Phillies may be able to stand out is the sheer amount of money they can offer either superstar. Phillies owner John Middleton said earlier this offseason that the club might be "a little stupid" in how it spends its money.
So should money be the ultimate deciding factor, the Phillies may be the favorite. Philadelphia recently hired a mentor of Machado's, former Orioles third-base coach Bobby Dickerson, as infield coach. And that came after the White Sox traded for Machado's brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and signed close friend Jon Jay.
Both Harper and Machado are reportedly looking to exceed the record contract Giancarlo Stanton received from the Marlins in 2014, which was for 13 years and $325 million. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported that the amounts on the table in Machado's case are closer to $200 million than they are to $300 million.
Meanwhile, MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM analyst and former MLB general manager Jim Bowden reported Washington made an offer well north of $300 million to Harper, after it initially offered 10 years and $300 million toward the end of the regular season. MLB.com's Mark Feinsand wrote earlier in the week that momentum appeared to be building for a Harper-Nationals reunion.
After signing LeMahieu, are the Yankees out on Machado?
Jan. 11: Didi Gregorius' elbow injury, which led to Tommy John surgery in October, has caused the Yankees to be more aggressive than expected on the free-agent market with regards to infielders, and they have been connected to Manny Machado for months.
But the Yanks raised some doubts about their place in the Machado sweepstakes by signing Troy Tulowitzki, and New York's latest move might just close the door entirely on the superstar infielder landing in the Big Apple.
According to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, the Yankees have agreed to a two-year deal with former Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu. Per Feinsand, New York plans to use LeMahieu as a utility infielder, giving him time at second, third and first. As Feinsand points out, LeMahieu also gives the Yankees insurance against a Tulowitzki injury, as the club could plug in the 30-year-old at second base every day and move Gleyber Torres to shortstop.
Despite Machado's reported preference to play in New York, the Yankees were already running behind the Phillies and the White Sox in terms of interest, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, and this move further narrows the 26-year-old's chances of signing with the Yanks.
Even without Gregorius, who can become a free agent after the upcoming season, the Yankees have a glut of infielders, including Torres, Tulowitzki, LeMahieu, Miguel Andujar, Greg Bird and Luke Voit.
Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM thinks the Yankees can be crossed off the list of Machado suitors.
"This takes them out on Machado, it means they're done," Bowden said. "I'm going to jump to conclusions without any confirmation from the Yankees. None. No confirmation, no inside information. But I don't know why LeMahieu is going to sign this deal with the Yankees if they're going to sign Manny.
"I got the impression all along that [Yankees principal owner] Hal Steinbrenner did not want to give that kind of years and money to Machado ... and this backs it up. So that leaves Machado probably to the White Sox or Phillies at this point."
But MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal writes in an article for The Athletic, that he'll believe the Yanks are out on Machado only when the superstar dons another club's uniform.
"This is not to say the Yankees are 'in' on Machado, not after reaching agreement on Friday with free-agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu on a two-year, $24 million contract," Rosenthal writes. "But I'm guessing the Yankees will follow their usual practice. Stay in contact with Machado's agent, Dan Lozano. Wait for the market to fully form. Then decide at the end if they are willing to meet Machado's price."
Rosenthal cites many past examples in which the Yankees have seemingly come out of nowhere to snatch up marquee players via free agency or trade, including Giancarlo Stanton last offseason, Mark Teixeira prior to the 2009 season, and Johnny Damon prior to the '06 season. He also notes that the Teixeira and Damon moves were under George Steinbrenner, and since Hal Steinbrenner has been at the helm, New York has been conscious about getting under the luxury tax threshold.
"Still, after they spent years trying to get under the luxury-tax threshold, it sure is odd the Yankees might end up exceeding the $206 million boundary for 2019," Rosenthal writes. "They currently are more than $7 million over, according to RosterResource.com -- without signing Machado, Bryce Harper or even left-hander Patrick Corbin."
Are the Yankees really out on Machado? Machado himself has reportedly expressed his preference to play in the Bronx. Perhaps New York isn't out until Machado puts pen to paper on a contract elsewhere. More >
Phillies hire Manny's mentor for coaching staff
Jan. 10: The Phillies are one of three teams seen as the favorites to sign superstar free agent Manny Machado, along with the White Sox and Yankees. And they may have just taken a step that could help them bring Machado to Philadelphia. According to MASN's Roch Kubatko, the club has hired former Orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson as infield coach. Dickerson's mentorship of Machado dates back to before Machado made his MLB debut in 2012.
According to a story by Dan Connolly for The Athletic last October, Machado referred to Dickerson as "one of his most important mentors." The hiring of Dickerson by the Phillies isn't the first personnel move made by a potential Machado suitor that involves people close to the infielder. In December, the White Sox traded for Machado's brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso. And on Wednesday, Chicago reportedly agreed to terms with free-agent outfielder Jon Jay, a close friend of Machado's.
Along with Bryce Harper, Machado is one of the two premier free agents on the market this offseason. At the outset, it was thought that both could command a long-term contract of more than $300 million. Although it has been reported in recent days that Machado is seeking a contract north of Giancarlo Stanton's record $325 million deal with the Marlins in 2014, it has also been reported that no team has made an offer that high to this point.
Machado, 26, had his best offensive season in '18, slashing .297/.367/.538 (146 OPS+) with 37 home runs and 14 steals between the Orioles and Dodgers, helping Los Angeles reach the World Series for a second consecutive year. Phillies owner John Middleton said earlier this offseason that the organization has money to spend and might be "a little bit stupid" about it, raising expectations that Philadelphia would make a giant splash in the free-agent market. It is also rumored to be one of the frontrunners for Harper, and Phillies representatives will be meeting with Harper in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Are Phillies, White Sox ahead of Yankees in chase for Machado?
Jan. 9: For a brief period of time Wednesday, it appeared the three-team chase for Manny Machado between the Phillies, White Sox and Yankees might have been narrowed down to two -- with New York out of the picture -- based on a single report.
Further digging, however, has yet to support that. "The Yankees have not been informed that they are out on Machado," a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
"The market for Manny isn't down to two teams yet," MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported, also citing a source.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman expressed a similar take -- that there's no word the Yankees have been told they're out of the running -- but did reiterate that New York "hasn't engaged in negotiations lately or made an official offer." What's more, there are questions about just how close the Yankees are willing to get to Machado's reported asking price, which is believed to be in the range of $325 million -- a number that's signficant for matching Giancarlo Stanton's contract, currently the biggest in baseball history.
That lines up with what USA Today's Bob Nightengale pointed out, too, noting that the Yankees "have talked financial concepts with Machado, but have yet to make [an] official offer." It is worth highlighting, though, that Nightengale went on to say while the Yankees "have not backed out of [the] Machado sweepstakes," the White Sox and Phillies are "leading the way."