The old phrase, “money talks,” usually holds true when it comes down to making a significant business transaction. In the case of Manny Machado, however, the White Sox might be using a little more than just dollar signs to sway the superstar infielder.
In mid-December, fringe prospect Alex Call was traded to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Yonder Alonso. At the time of the move, it wasn’t necessarily the quality of player the White Sox were getting in return that was at the forefront of discussion. Instead, it was the family connection that he shares with free agent target Machado. For those who don’t already know, it just so happens to be that Yonder is not only a lifelong friend of Manny’s but also his brother-in-law. The two often spend time with each others’ families during the holidays and offseason, making it well-known throughout the baseball community that they are close with one another.
Here is where things get interesting. Fast forward to today, January 8th, and the White Sox are currently in agreement with free agent outfielder Jon Jay on a one-year deal. Like the Alonso move, there is something more behind the signing that brought a veteran on-board for the upcoming 2019 season. Jay, too, grew up in the same Miami neighborhoods as Alonso and Machado and developed a strong friendship with the players starting at a young age. The former University of Miami standout even shares the same Alma Mater as Alonso and his sister, Machado’s wife, Yainee.
Now, while we’re on the topic, let’s talk a little bit more about that Miami connection. The special bond between Jay, Machado, and Alonso was the subject of an article featured on The Players’ Tribune website back in February 2017. In the post, each of the three players described the importance of the group’s close bond, upbringing, culture, and hometown, Miami.
“The three of us all come from the similar backgrounds. I’ve known Yonder since he was 10. And we’ve both known Manny since he was a young kid coming up. We’re from the same neighborhoods, the same culture, so its just natural for us to stick together,” Jay said.
Machado also added in the article, “As a kid coming up, I’d see Jon and Yonder out there making their mark, and it gave me something to shoot for. They set the example. I looked up to those guys.”
Whether it’s a coincidence or not, Rick Hahn and the White Sox seem to have put themselves in a favorable position in the Machado sweepstakes. It cannot be said for certain whether or not a pair of lifelong friends on short-term deals have enough pull when it comes time to signing a long-term contract. What can be said, though, is that it certainly does not hurt in enhancing the attractability of Chicago as a potential landing spot. With New York rumored to be Machado’s destination of choice and Philadelphia willing to spend big, the White Sox will have some stiff competition for the free agent’s services.
For now, all the South Siders can do is play the waiting game as they are the only team that currently has an offer on the table. Even if the White Sox do not end up signing a Machado or Harper, as disappointing as that might be, you must remember that they still have added several valuable players for the upcoming season. While a star player with proven talent will be needed at some point during this rebuild process, you cannot argue that this has been one of the more exciting offseasons as a Sox fan, in terms of rumors, regardless of what transpires between now and spring training.
Featured Photo: The Players’ Tribune