The White Sox have been among the most prominent suitors for both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado this winter, but the latest reports about their pursuits don’t say much about their chances. According to 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine, “Reports of the White Sox offering ten plus years for Manny Machado or Bryce Harper are ‘Without any substance and flat out wrong.’
Jeff Passan had reported Wednesday that, in addition to the Nationals, the “Phillies and White Sox are the other two teams known to be willing to guarantee Harper the decade-plus-long deal he and Machado, each 26 years old, are seeking.” Levine specified that the Sox “will not be giving offer of more than 7 years for either player.”
Reports of the White Sox offering ten plus years for Manny Machado or Bryce Harper are ”Without any substance and flat out wrong “ according to high ranking industry sources . Wh Sox will not be giving offer of more than 7 years for either player.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) January 2, 2019
Many had projected deals of 10 years or more for both players, though there have been rumblings of Harper in particular being amenable to a shorter deal at a higher AAV. The Dodgers were also reportedly willing to go with a higher AAV and shorter term, a trend we’re seeing across the free-agent landscape. But unless the Sox are ready to push to $40 million or more per season, they may be falling back in the race.
Think about it: A seven-year, $280 million deal is more than four times the largest contract they’ve ever signed — Jose Abreu (6/$68M) and would pay Harper $12 million more in two years than Abreu will make in six. Not that I’m saying they shouldn’t at least try, but that’s a huge jump and it might still be significantly less than other teams are willing to offer.
Harper already turned down $300 million from the Nationals, though it was over 10 years and reportedly contained no opt-outs. Would it make more sense to get less total with the opportunity to re-enter the market at age 33 with a chance at cashing in again? Probably. Even better is guaranteeing more money for more than seven years and getting opt-outs to max out his prime production window earlier.
And we can’t forget about Machado, who had everyone aflutter when he followed the YES Network and other Yankees-related social media accounts earlier in the week. He later did a little unfollowing, so who knows whether it was all a ruse or his agent told him to cut it out while he negotiated some details with the Yanks and/or other teams.
A skeptic might say that the Sox, knowing neither player will chose them in the end, are attempting to spin things to maintain control of the narrative. Though how offering fewer years creates a positive look I’m not really certain. So take this latest report for what it’s worth, a value that will certainly vary by beholder.