Nobody can accuse the White Sox of playing their pursuit of Manny Machado too close to the vest.
The deal is for one year and $4 million, which would make him the highest-paid White Sox outfielder thus far.
Ken Rosenthal and Robert Murray of The Athletic were the first to report the pursuit of Jay. I didn’t realize it initially, but those familiar with Machado or having the immediate inclination to Google such things found this article about Machado, Alonso and Jay’s Miami baseball brotherhood in The Players’ Tribune.
Here’s how that opens:
For Jon, Yonder and I, Miami means family, good friends, culture and … baseball.
Each winter we meet up in our hometown and we go to work. We laugh a lot, too, and have fun together. At the end of the day, though, we’re there to put in work and to get better at baseball.
We do it for ourselves, of course, and for the love of the game. But we also do it for the city we call home, this place we each love. We want to be the best. We want to make Miami proud.
Whether Jay makes real sense in baseball terms for the White Sox comes down to whether he can play any center. He can be a sturdy fourth outfielder if so, because he gets on base at an above-average rate and played right field well enough to garner Gold Glove consideration with Arizona last year after his trade from Kansas City. However, he made only 25 of his 118 appearances in center during the 2018 season.
Like Alonso, he’d be another seemingly low-upside use of a roster spot if this is all there is. But as is the case with Alonso, the baseball skills are a secondary consideration as long as a particular bigger deal remains a possibility. While I’d hoped to see the White Sox use their vacant MLB roster spots to give blocked prospects a chance to audition, using them instead to recruit the game’s biggest free agent falls within the ends justifying the means.
Given the Sox’ lack of MLB-caliber outfielders — especially ones who can defend a corner — the Sox can live with any Jay treaty if it ends up facilitating commerce with Machado.