CHICAGO – As expected, general manager Rick Hahn was greeted by chants of “Manny! Manny!” when he was introduced during the opening of SoxFest late Friday afternoon at the Hilton Chicago.
That is coveted free agent Manny Machado, and White Sox fans want to see him in uniform this season and way beyond.
Hahn not only gets the sentiment, but he feels the same way.
“If for whatever reason we wind up not converting, I will certainly be disappointed,” Hahn said. “I’ll personally be disappointed in that.”
From the beginning of this offseason’s pursuit of both Machado and Bryce Harper, the feeling here was the Sox were not going to be able to match the expected $300 million-plus offers both 26-year-old superstars are expected to bank.
That feeling has not changed, even with the Sox apparently narrowing their sights to only Machado.
The Padres now reportedly are in on the four-time All-Star, and they have plenty of money to make a deal.
So do the Sox, but there were some rumblings Friday that they’re not willing to go $30 million or more a season for Machado.
Trading for his brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso, and signing Jon Jay, one of Machado’s best friends, were obvious moves made to entice, there is little doubt about that. But if it is all about the money – and don’t forget about the Phillies and Yankees – Machado is more than likely not coming to the Sox.
As Hahn said, he’d be disappointed. But life would go on.
“I think most people viewed us as a long shot to land either of these premium free agents,” the Sox’s GM said. “I think at one point, Vegas posted the odds of the six or seven most likely clubs to land either these guys, and we weren’t even listed. The fact that we are now sitting here in a potential position – or at least in a position where if we don’t convert people are going to be disappointed – I think is an important step forward for this organization.
“We belong at the table. We belong to be a part of these negotiations for premium talent, and regardless of what happens over the next several weeks with either these two players, we plan to continue to be at the table and continue to attempt to convert on these guys.
“That said, when we started this process a little over two years ago we made it very clear that we were going to try to accumulate as much premium talent as we possibly could because in the end, it was going to be about that depth and critical mass of impact players capable of winning a championship. It was never going to be about one player.”