CHICAGO – Even before the team met with him in person Dec. 17 at Guaranteed Rate Field, Manny Machado mania had been running rampant in White Sox circles.
To help entice the star free agent, the Sox traded for his brother-in-law (Yonder Alonso) and signed one of his closest friends (Jon Jay).
The Sox reportedly offered Machado a seven-year, $175 million contract, prompting his agent, Dan Lozano, to call out two national writers for being “inaccurate and reckless.”
Entering SoxFest week, which opens Friday at the Hilton Chicago, not much has changed on the Machado front.
The 26-year-old infielder still is on the open market, and the Sox seemingly still are contenders to sign him.
“I don’t follow it,” Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said Wednesday during an appearance at the Mitzi Freidheim Englewood Child and Family Center with manager Rick Renteria and teammates Daniel Palka and Adam Engel. “I would love to have him. I think he would play a great role in what we are trying to do as far as winning a championship. He definitely brings that talent. We’ll see what happens.”
Renteria was on hand to help the Sox make their sales pitch to Machado last month. Like everyone else, he is waiting for a decision.
“I thought it was a great meeting,” Renteria said. “Great, young man. We expressed our interest. We talked about what we are as an organization, and we looked forward. You just don’t know yet where things will fall. I thought it was a very positive meeting for all parties involved.”
In a perfect world, the Sox would sign Machado this weekend during their annual winter gathering for fans.
“It would be fun, but it’s not [something] that I’m aware of,” Renteria said.
Although they are riding a dubious streak of six losing seasons and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2008, the Sox have some of the top prospects in the game and plenty of payroll room to add more veteran talent.
They obviously are hoping Machado is seeing the same bright future while pondering a landing spot.
“I think [general manager] Rick [Hahn] and the front office put a great presentation together for them,” Renteria said. “It was very detailed. I would say this: If I was on the other side, I would have been very, very impressed.”
With Sox pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training Feb. 13, time is becoming a factor. Renteria was asked if he’s surprised Machado and Bryce Harper still haven’t signed.
“Well, you know, [Machado’s] one of the two premier young players available in the major leagues right now,” Renteria said. “What the dynamics are, why it’s not completed yet with anybody, let alone ourselves, you kind of scratch your head a little bit.
“Everybody is doing their due diligence and trying to get a young man that’s extremely talented, probably doing the best they can to get him under the best terms.”