It is February 18, and the two biggest MLB free agents remain unsigned. Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are still on the open market.
While there have been a slew of reports and rumors surrounding Harper in the last few days, things around Machado have been pretty quiet. The All-Star infielder has been pursued by a number of teams throughout the offseason, but none have emerged as the favorite to land him.
According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Chicago White Sox are still a “strong factor” in the Machado chase. The White Sox have been in on Machado since the start and have already acquired his brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and close friend Jon Jay.
Rosenthal adds that the San Diego Padres are also firmly in the mix. The Padres reportedly met with Machado last week and are also involved with Harper.
Per Rosenthal, the front offices of both teams, as well as that of the Philadelphia Phillies, view Machado as their top choice.
#WhiteSox remain strong factor along with #Padres in Machado sweepstakes, sources tell The Athletic. Machado is said to be first choice of both front offices and preference of #Phillies’ front office as well, though ownerships in SD and PHI might not see it as convincingly.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 19, 2019
The 26-year-old Machado matched a career-high with 37 homers last season while playing for the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers.
He also set career-high marks in RBI (107) and on-base percentage (.367), making his fourth All-Star appearance in seven seasons.