We have reached mid-January, and Manny Machado, arguably this offseason’s most sought-after free-agent, has yet to reach an agreement with a team. Reports indicate three teams remain “in the running” in the Machado sweepstakes: the White Sox, Phillies, and a third mystery team.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reported early Wednesday that the Chicago White Sox offered Machado a contract of 7 years, $175 million. The supposed offer surprised many, considering the expectation that Machado would wind up with a contract for $300+ million, and his agent asked teams to “top [Giancarlo] Stanton,” which currently stands as the most lucrative contract in sports history (13 years, $325 million).
Manny Machado is only 26 years old, meaning a long-term deal would shock no one. The four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner is considered one of the best third basemen in the league since his debut in September 2012.
In the midst of a Mariners step-back, does Seattle have any chance of landing Machado, and does GM Jerry Dipoto even have interest in him?
Just last month, the Mariners traded away All-Star Jean Segura to the PhillIes, netting top prospect J.P. Crawford, presumed to the be the Mariners shortstop of the future. Kyle Seager is also entrenched at third base for at least the next three seasons, with a club option for the fourth year in 2022.
When considering logistics of a Machado deal, there are several issues that invalidate the deal almost immediately. If the Mariners want to make any sort of run at Manny Machado, they would almost certainly give up on J.P. Crawford. Signing Machado will almost certainly require a long-term deal, making Crawford an unnecessary part of Seattle’s farm system, especially if he could be traded for more important pieces. The former #1 overall pick in shortstop Tim Beckham also just signed with the Mariners last week, currently set to start for Seattle on Opening Day.
With Kyle Seager as the Mariners third baseman, Machado would play shortstop over his natural position of third base (though he has played 199 games at shortstop over his seven-year career).
The Mariners would never pay upwards of $300 million for a player with a rebuild in progress. The assumed offer of $175 million from Chicago is a report and not a guarantee. It seems like a price too good to be true for many teams, and the reality is that he would never accept a deal for anywhere near that number.
The fact that Machado has yet to sign likely stems from his antics during his 2018 World Series loss with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He showed an extreme lack of hustle in several instances and was also accused of spiking Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce while running out an infield grounder.
Machado’s attitude is nothing to revere, but he is an exceptional player, and his value would benefit whatever team he signs with. The Mariners make little sense for Machado, but fans can continue to dream.