In an offseason that’s all about Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, it’s beginning to look like the Chicago White Sox are pulling out all the stops to woo Manny Machado.
That might even include an interesting new one — acquiring some of his best buds.
Veteran outfielder Jon Jay has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth $4 million with the White Sox, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. And while Jay remains a relatively productive role player who could help the White Sox in 2019, that’s not even close to the most interesting part of this.
Jay is one of Machado’s good friends in baseball. On its own, that’s not even worth writing this post. But astute fans will remember this is the second such acquisition for the White Sox this offseason.
They already traded for Yonder Alonso, who is Machado’s brother-in-law. Alonso’s sister Yainee is Machado’s wife. Again, Alonso is a useful player who can help the White Sox next season, but he can help him more if he convinces his brother-in-law to join him in Chicago.
Machado, Jay and Alonso — the Miami Boys
This isn’t just a matter of three players who know each other well. Machado, Jay and Alonso have gone as far as participating in a Players Tribune feature about their friendship, which is connected by their Miami roots. The “Miami Baseball Brotherhood,” it was dubbed.
They train together in the offseason, hang out and, as Jay puts it, it’s “natural for them to stick together.” Alonso and Jay both played baseball at the University of Miami. Machado, who is younger, didn’t, but knows them from the area.
Here’s what Jay said about their relationship last year:
“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.”
Will this actually lure Machado to Chicago?
Whether this will actually work is the million dollar question, isn’t it? Actually, it’s the $13 million question, as that’s how much salary the White Sox have taken on to acquire Jay and Alonso.
That seems like a bold move, just to try to lure Machado away from the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, each of whom would seem to have a competitive advantage over the White Sox. As in, they’re more competitive teams right now.
But then again, when you’re looking at spending close to $300 million for Machado, what’s another $13 million?
This bring-your-friends-along idea seems very familiar in other sports — particularly the NBA — where we often hear about players who are friends recruiting each other or building a “Big Three” like we saw when Dwyane Wade brought LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat.
There’s a huge difference here: Machado is a star. Jay and Alonso aren’t. So it’s not quite a “Big Three” as much as it’s a Big One with two pals.
The more skeptical among us might even note that both Alonso and Jay have been on the open market in the past few years and they didn’t immediately run to Baltimore to play with Machado when he was with the Orioles.
Until Machado makes a decision or rules out the White Sox, we’re all just left to wonder.
Well, and make Twitter jokes.
The White Sox's 2019 projected lineup looks 💪💪💪! pic.twitter.com/Zoc5MMVSOM
— Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) January 8, 2019
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