The Chicago White Sox have been active in acquiring young talent in exchange for veterans over the last year or so, but they reportedly could be moving in another direction as they pursue one of baseball’s biggest stars.
According to multiple reports, the White Sox are actively trying to acquire infielder Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles. Machado, a two-time Gold Glove winner at third base, slugged 33 home runs and drove in 95 RBI last season, and could instantly become the centerpiece of a young Sox lineup if the trade occurs.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal says that the White Sox have been the most aggressive team in their pursuit of Machado, and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says that the team’s offer to the Orioles has been the best out of all the offers they’ve received.
There are a few obstacles standing in the way of acquiring Machado, however. The slugger is an impending free agent after the 2018 season, and he undoubtedly will be one of the most sought after players in recent memories. Despite that, Machado’s representatives have said they will not give teams an exclusive negotiating window to offer him a contract extension prior to a trade, which means that they will have to treat him as a one-year rental.
To further complicate matters, the Orioles’ asking price remains high, as they are looking for multiple young and cost-controlled pitchers. The White Sox do have a few of those in their system, but the question remains as to whether they’d be willing to part with multiple high-profile pieces for a rental player scenario.
Finally, there’s the issue of where Machado would play. He has said this offseason that he wants to move to shortstop, which would leave the White Sox questioning where Tim Anderson would play. They could move him to third base or to second, which would then require Yoan Moncada to move to the outfield.
Regardless, if the White Sox decide that they have the money and ability to sign Machado to a long-term deal, then they could be poised to make a big splash on the trade market, and one that would have a dramatic impact on the team’s prospects for next season.