The offseason has been pretty slow going since the Winter Meetings with around a move of note a week it seems like as we still have a number of high profile players still without employment for 2019. One of those unemployed players, Manny Machado, is set to make one of the richest contracts in baseball history once he does decide on a team. He has had his fair share of suitors with the Phillies, Yankees, and White Sox being the most public in their interest.
The White Sox have been the most interesting case because 1) they floated the idea of signing BOTH Machado and Bryce Harper which, if that actually happened, would cause the internet to implode and 2) they do not have the look of a team that is going to be very good in 2019. However, they do have an impressive farm system and they have said openly that they can’t control when the best players become free agents and they are looking to be aggressive.
While the White Sox do have the money to sign a Machado, they have also been trying to appeal to him on a personal level. They already acquired his brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and, as it turns out, they then turned their eyes to Jon Jay.
If #WhiteSox complete deal for Jon Jay, it might be another step in their recruitment of Manny Machado. Jay, Machado and Machado’s brother-in-law Yonder Alonso train together in Miami in the off-season. Each wrote about it for The Players’ Tribune in 2017: https://t.co/MSyUwSm8dM— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 8, 2019
Jay has had a decent career in his own right as he has been a fairly average hitter and decent defender for the better part of nine seasons with the Cardinals, Padres, Cubs, Royals, and Diamondbacks. In 2018, his offensive numbers dropped off to .235/.304/.325 but he still was a strong defender in the outfield. While he doesn’t look the part of an everyday player, his defensive value combined with the possible benefit of helping to lure Machado to the Windy City caused the White Sox to pull the trigger.
Now lets be clear....with nine figures and the bulk of his remaining career on the line, a couple short-term deals with guys close to him are not likely to move the needle a ton for Machado. However, in a world where he is getting really competitive offers and Manny could be looking for tiebreakers...the presence of Alonso and Jay could be appealing. With other likely better options out there for outfield help than Jay, it does seem like the White Sox are trying to gain as much of an advantage in the Machado sweepstakes as they can.