Chicago White Sox pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training this week, but all the attention is still on free agent Manny Machado.
The two have been in rumored contract negotiations this entire offseason as many believe Machado will eventually sign with the Sox. The longer he remains unsigned, the more the risk increases that the White Sox could miss out on signing him which is unacceptable at this point.
At the beginning of the offseason back in November, the White Sox were one of few teams in baseball that would be able to offer a lucrative deal to the best free agents. The team met with the two best available free agents in Machado and Bryce Harper.
Many prominent sources around the league have had the White Sox providing the best offer to Machado over the past month. A big signing would be a massive boost for the White Sox who are in year three of their rebuild.
Machado would be a boost on the field by providing a gold glove defensive star at the third base position and provide a huge bat in the lineup. He would be a consistent 30 home run, 100 RBI, and +.350 on-base percentage player in a lineup that featured that in two seasons. Along with All-Star Jose Abreu and potential Rookie of the Year candidate Eloy Jimenez, it would give the White Sox one of the best three, four, and five hitters in all of baseball.
Signing Machado is needed more for the off-field value rather than the on-field value at this point. If he were to sign, it would most likely be the biggest contract in White Sox history and end the notion that the team is unable to afford premiere talent. It would show that the team should be seen as a viable option for any available free agent going forward.
Another reason why the White Sox need to sign Machado is that it would change how the team is viewed in the city. Signing the best free agent available would garner a massive amount of attention during a time when the opposite has taken place for the Cubs.
The Cubs have dominated the Chicago baseball landscape since 2015, but that would change with a White Sox signing. A lack of big signing, no trade, and a lot of negative off the field news has hurt the Cubs the last few months. A signing could lead to an increase in popularity for the White Sox.
National marketability is at stake for the team also as a signing could increase popularity across the country. Endorsement deals and a nationally recognized name would provide Chicago with the attention it has seen since Frank Thomas in the 90s. Machado’s preferred destination is the New York Yankees, but as reported by Hector Gomez, the White Sox offered him 75 million dollars more. If he were to sign elsewhere for less money, it would massively hurt the White Sox ability to sign premium free agents in the future.
If the negotiations are tied up more so over little clauses rather than years or total dollar amounts, it would be wise for the White Sox to concede to Machado’s demands. The team needs him more than he needs the team. A signing could exercise a lot of negative stereotypes that have plagued the franchise for decades and promise an abundance of hope for the rebuild.
If White Sox miss, it would only reinforce those negative stereotypes and be a terrible way to start the 2019 campaign.