Manny Machado has been a free agent longer than he was a Dodger.
Now that you’ve gasped over that quivering bit — brought to you by The Ringer’s Zack Kram — at least applaud one team in the hunt for keeping the drama alive through the start of spring training. (We checked: Machado has been jobless for 107 days, compared to 103 spent with the Dodgers following last year’s mid-season trade)
The White Sox just so happened to leave an empty locker stall in their Glendale, Ariz. complex next to two Machado confidants — his brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and longtime friend Jon Jay, both of whom were conveniently acquired this offseason in a not-so-subtle recruiting ploy.
While it’s not unusual for a veteran like Jay, 33, to be granted extra space — David Wright, for instance, always had a bit more room than most in the basement of Citi Field — the Wednesday revelation of course spurred headlines; just as Machado’s white and black glove reveal did a day before.
“I demand an empty locker next to me,” a smiling Jay told reporters on Wednesday. “Just kidding, it just worked out that way.”
He then addressed the months-long he had to know was coming.
“I have no idea what Manny’s doing or what his family’s doing. Same thing I’ve said the whole time: It’s a private manner that he and his family will deal with. I’ve dealt with free agency, and even my best friends I don’t talk to about that stuff because it’s a private matter and you never know what’s going to happen. There’s a lot of emotions involved. You don’t want to report one thing, and then the next day it goes away or whatever.”
Machado is said to be considering the White Sox, Yankees, Padres and Phillies among others, though guessing where he’ll sign seems to be a lost cause.
If he decides on the rebuilding White Sox, though, at least he’ll already have a seat waiting for him.