Manny Machado's secret meeting with the San Diego Padres apparently hasn't done much to change his situation, with rumors that the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees are still very much in contention for one of the offseason's biggest prizes.
Reports circulated on Thursday that Padres General Manager A.J. Preller flew to Miami at some point last week to meet with Machado and his wife. That would seem to put the Padres at the top of the pack, but Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported that Machado is not anywhere close to signing a deal with the Padres. That means that the field is still very much open, with the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, and New York Yankees still just as much in contention today as they were last week.
The development does show that the Padres plan to be aggressive both on Machado and Bryce Harper. Preller and Padres General Partner Peter Seidler had already made a trek to Las Vegas to meet with the other top free agent: right fielder Bryce Harper.
As the San Diego Union Tribune reported, the team may be more serious about pursuing Machado over Harper, as he would be a better immediate fit.
"Machado, a four-time All-Star who is one of four players to have had a WAR of 5.9 or higher in three of the past four seasons, is the more natural fit for the Padres given their lack of a proven third baseman and depth in the outfield," the report noted.
Though many believe that the White Sox are at the front of the pack, the lack of progress on contract talks for Manny Machado has left the field open. A previous report from CBS Sports noted that Machado already rejected a seven-year, $175 million deal from White Sox, as the offer fell well short of the $300 million he had reportedly been seeking.
The MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported that the White Sox came back with a counter offer believed to be somewhere north of the $175 million original figure, but short of the $250 million that many had been reporting the team offered.That has left the door open for another team once at the periphery of the Machado talks. As SNY's Andy Martino reported, the Yankees are "not out" yet, and have been closely monitoring the situation.
"As Yankees players trickle into spring training, the front office continues to check in with Machado's camp, according to major league sources," Martino reported. "The Yankees are not the frontrunners for Machado — both the White Sox and Phillies have been more aggressive — but they are not out on him, either."
But until there is any solid progress, it appears the rumors surrounding Manny Machado will only continue to grow.