Manny Machado Orioles White Sox
Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a home run against the Chicago White Sox during the fourth inning on May 21, 2018 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. David Banks/Getty Images

Spring training games will be played in just a couple of weeks, and there hasn’t been much of an update on the Manny Machado Sweepstakes in quite some time. That could be good news for the Chicago White Sox, who are hoping to sign the free agent before the start of the 2019 MLB season.

Chicago appears to be the clear favorite to land Machado. That puts them ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees, with whom the infielder also had meetings in mid-December.

It was reported a few weeks ago that the San Diego Padres wanted to get in on the race for Machado, but they might have more of an interest in making an offer to Bryce Harper. Other “mystery teams” seem to be keeping an eye on Machado’s extended free agency.

The only concrete offer to Machado that’s been reported is the seven-year, $175 million contract that’s been cited by both ESPN’s Buster Olney and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Dan Lozano, Machado’s agent, disputed that report, but it seems clear that no team has come close to giving the 26-year-old the record-setting offer that he’s seeking.

Nightingale told Olney on the most recent edition of the “Baseball Tonight” podcast that he’s only hearing the White Sox connected with Machado. Olney compared the situation to J.D. Martinez’s free agency a year ago. Martinez rejected the Boston Red Sox’s offer of $100 million over five years early in the offseason, and he settled for a five-year, $110 million contract at the start of spring training.

Martinez can opt out after the second year of the deal, and if he follows up his 2018 with a similar campaign in 2019, you can bet he’ll do just that and sign for more money. Perhaps Machado will sign a similar deal, one that will allow him to hit the market again in his late 20's and give him another chance to get the contract he’s been looking for.

It’s no secret that Machado has had designs on playing in New York. The Yankees haven’t seemed interested in giving Machado a long-term deal, and they are even less likely to change their minds after signing infielders Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu.

Philadelphia was once thought to prefer Machado to Harper. Now, the Phillies appear more likely to sign the free-agent outfielder.

Other reports have indicated that the White Sox have the best chance to sign Machado. He’s remained their No.1 target this offseason, and the organization has even acquired some of his best friends in MLB.

Chicago’s position players are scheduled to report to spring training on Feb. 17.