As far as rumors across the league go, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper seem to have a stronghold on the market. According to some contentious gossip, the Dodgers were once believed to be in the “red zone” with Harper, as Los Angeles was on the “20-yard line” and closing regarding an agreement. Consequently, the Dodgers apparently had no real strong interest in Machado, yet as the days draw shorter to spring camp, their name keeps getting mentioned more and more.
There was some chatter floating around on Friday morning about Machado’s father, Manuel, stating on a radio show that his son indeed received an offer from the Dodgers. He indicated that the Phillies and the Yankees have submitted proposals and that the White Sox have also expressed a strong interest.
Towards the beginning of the week, Buster Olney of ESPN, reported that the White Sox made a seven-year, $175 million offer to Machado, while Jeff Passan heard some conflicting information, stating that Chicago’s offer was eight years and $250 million.
Whatever the case may be, those particular statements prompted Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano, to make a public announcement of his own, discrediting Olney while also mentioning Bob Nightengale, who has been tweeting that the White Sox will not be increasing their original bid for the services of Machado.
In spite of all that, one can’t help but imagine how Manny would fit into a defensive schematic for the Dodgers, as unlikely as his acquisition would be. His righty bat would certainly be welcomed (despite his propensity to chase outside of the strike zone), but which position he’d play has created some theorizing by the fan base.
Some have suggested that Justin Turner could slide over to second base, a position he played during the early days of his career when he was more of a utility contributor. However, many believe that JT’s range is limited up the middle, as it would be a move that would move him from his defensive comfort zone.
Corey Seager is also a thought, but imagining a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder roving around the right side of the infield just does not seem right. For all intents and purposes, Machado at 6-foot-3 and 185 lbs. would be a better fit, although the chances of him agreeing to such a proposal would be slim to none.
Aside from all that speculation, there’s the group of fans who cringe at the possibility of Machado returning to Los Angeles, pointing out his lack of hustle, while also noting “several” dirty slides recently during his career, as well as stomping on Jesus Aguilar‘s foot at first base in the 2018 NLCS.
“It’s a dirty play by a dirty player,” Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich told reporters in an interview after Game 5.
Some actually believe that these actions alone would discourage the Dodgers from being among Machado’s highest bidders.
Like many fans, I don’t know Andrew Friedman well at all, but I have the feeling that he has extended some type of offer to Manny, whether it be competitive or not. Friedman is known for his innovation and creativity regarding contract proposals, and sometimes it’s worth taking a shot in the dark at a superstar while remaining non-committal over a long period of time. Seven or eight years seems like an very long time to commit, and offering a contract of such a length would be awfully uncharacteristic of the Dodgers’ boss.
Any way you look at it, though, a cumulative 23.1 WAR over four seasons is a huge amount of production and will definitely make a difference in the divisional standings for whichever team acquires him.