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#pounditMonday, August 3, 2020

Manny Machado

Report: Padres may prefer Bryce Harper to Manny Machado

Bryce Harper

The San Diego Padres are clearly serious about landing a big free agent, and they may be developing a preference for one more than the other.

According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, the Padres may be leaning toward a pursuit of outfielder Bryce Harper, partially for marketing and business reasons, despite having more of a positional need for third baseman Manny Machado.

What is clear is that the Padres are serious about landing one of the two biggest names left on the free agent market, and it doesn’t appear to be the only move they want to make. If they can swing these moves, it would certainly set them on the path toward instant credibility, with Harper becoming the new face of the franchise.

Report: Some Padres players have concerns about Manny Machado

Manny Machado

The San Diego Padres are very interested in Manny Machado, but there are some hurdles to clear before the team signs him.

According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres want to meet with Machado ahead of a potential pursuit, but there is some chatter that the infielder would not want to play on the west coast. However, there are also apparent concerns from some players about his conduct.

The Padres have some veterans in the clubhouse, like the aforementioned Ian Kinsler and Eric Hosmer. The hope is that if Machado signed players like that could help keep him out of trouble.

The concerns likely stem from Machado’s conduct in the playoffs, as well as comments indicating an unwillingness to hustle. Other teams have also had concerns about this, but it’s one thing for a front office to have questions and another issue entirely to have to walk into a skeptical clubhouse.

Report: Padres enter Manny Machado sweepstakes

Manny Machado

The San Diego Padres are reportedly a surprise entrant in the Manny Machado sweepstakes.

According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres have decided to pursue Machado as a third baseman after reports emerged that he may be available for less money than anticipated.

Acee says that the Padres are “legitimate suitors” for Machado despite their late entry into the situation.

Machado’s market has largely been limited to three or four teams this offseason, depending on who you ask, with the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies considered to be the primary suitors. The New York Yankees have been involved, but there are conflicting reports as to how interested they actually are.

Depending on how serious their rivals are, the Padres could have a very real chance. It likely depends on how much they’ll be willing to pay up, and how close they come to meeting Machado’s demands.

Manny Machado’s agent slams ‘wrong’ and ‘reckless’ media reporting

Manny Machado

Rumors have intensified in recent days about free agent infielder Manny Machado, particularly relating to reported negotiations with the Chicago White Sox. In an unprecedented step, Machado’s agent is pushing back against some of those rumors.

Dan Lozano, who represents Machado, issued a statement Wednesday blasting two specific recent reports as “inaccurate and reckless,” adding that reports about Chicago’s negotiations with Machado are “completely wrong.” He further suggested that someone may be violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement’s prohibition of conducting negotiations through the media by leaking information to reporters, specifically USA Today’s Bob Nightengale and ESPN’s Buster Olney.

One major catalyst for this seems to be Olney’s report that the White Sox have offered Machado a seven-year, $175 million contract. Reporting from other sources has disputed that figure, and Lozano is clearly calling it inaccurate.

The fact is there are a lot of people on both sides of negotiations selectively leaking to the media for various reasons, and there are contradictory reports everywhere you look. It is unusual, however, for an agent to take the step of releasing a statement singling out some of these reports as false.

Phillies reportedly confident they will sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado

Bryce Harper

The Philadelphia Phillies are looking to spend big this offseason and have been linked to both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, and it sounds like they would be greatly disappointed if they somehow came away with neither free agent slugger.

Sources told Matt Gelb of The Athletic that the Phillies are willing to be patient with Harper and Machado and have “gained confidence” they will be able to sign one of the two. They are reportedly comfortable with not being overly aggressive because it has seemingly become clear that there are not many competitors who are set on landing Harper and/or Machado. As Gelb phrased it, there is “increasing skepticism about how this can unfold without the Phillies somehow involved.”

There have been rumblings that the Phillies are higher on Harper than Machado, but they continue to pursue both players so they can maintain leverage with their agents. In other words, they want to be able to tell both Harper and Machado that they are not desperate to sign one of them when they can just as easily end up with the other. However, Gelb reports that they have made it clear during negotiations that they have no intentions of signing both players.

Of course, Philly’s reported approach comes with some risk. If they would consider their offseason a failure without signing Harper or Machado, that means they do not want to miss out on both. Any one or two teams like the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees or Washington Nationals could turn up their pursuit of either star player at any moment, and the Phillies could suddenly be left having to overspend. They could also miss out if one or both players chose to take less money to sign elsewhere, though that seems more likely with Machado and one particular team than it does with Harper, who is a Scott Boras client.

The White Sox are either not legitimately interested in Machado or are opting to slow-play the situation, but things have a tendency to fall into place quickly during the MLB offseason. When one of Harper or Machado signs, the other could be right behind him. That is something the Phillies are undoubtedly taking into consideration.

Report: White Sox have offered Manny Machado an eight-year deal

Manny Machado

The Chicago White Sox are serious about their pursuit of this winter’s top free agent prizes.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported on Sunday that the Sox have offered star infielder Manny Machado an eight-year deal and may be compelled to go even longer. Passan also adds that Machado remains engaged with the Philadelphia Phillies and that an unnamed third team is in the mix as well.

The four-time All-Star Machado, who hit .297 last season with 37 homers and 107 RBIs, will be 27 in July. With an eight-year offer on the table, that means the White Sox are willing to commit to him all the way through his mid-30s.

Chicago is coming off a 100-loss 2018 campaign, but giving that many years to Machado would certainly be a big splash (and a big change of position on their part if you believe some previous reports from earlier this month).

Yankees reportedly have not made formal offer to Manny Machado

Manny Machado

Manny Machado’s market does not appear to be developing very rapidly.

According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, neither the Chicago White Sox or Philadelphia Phillies have met Machado’s $300 million asking price. What’s more, the New York Yankees, his preferred destination, have yet to even make a formal offer.

It further backs up previous reporting that the Yankees just aren’t aggressively pursuing Machado. They’ve been viewed as favorites all along, but if this talk is true, they’re not acting like they’re close to ponying up the money it would take to bring in the free agent infielder.