It should come as no surprise to anyone that a lot of teams are interested in signing Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the top free agents on the market. Nonetheless, we feel an obligation to pass along word whenever an interesting rumor or note surfaces concerning the pair. Consider this an instance of us passing along that word, as MLB Network's Jon Paul Morosi reported on Monday that the Chicago White Sox are sniffing around both Harper and Machado:
#WhiteSox interested in *both* Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, source confirms, although it’s too early to know how realistic it is for them to sign either. #WhiteSox have second lowest current 2019 payroll commitment of any @MLB team. Story: https://t.co/vSXgIqh3VL @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 5, 2018
The White Sox would not seem like the favorites to land Harper or Machado for various reasons. Chicago went 62-100 last season and isn't expected to compete in 2019. Moreover, owner Jerry Reinsdorf isn't one to green-light big free-agent signings. Jose Abreu's contract remains the richest deal in franchise history -- and guaranteed less than $70 million. Either Harper or Machado could make around that much in two year's time with their next pact.
Even so, the White Sox's interest makes sense. The White Sox aren't expected to compete next season as currently constructed, but an aggressive offseason would alter the forecast.
Plopping down Harper and Eloy Jimenez in the outfield would give the White Sox two new middle-of-the-order bats. Alternatively, inserting Machado on the left side of the infield and shifting Yoan Moncada to the outfield would still strengthen the White Sox at two positions. Add in a forthcoming wave of young talent, and the White Sox could ascend quicker than anticipated -- especially in a division featuring at least two rebuilding teams, in Detroit and Kansas City.
Tempting as those scenarios are, the odds are against the White Sox. Literally. Vegas bookmakers have the Philadelphia Phillies . Whether that comes to fruition… well, who knows. But it seems likelier than Reinsdorf signing off on a deal worth way, way more than any two combined seasons of payroll in franchise history.