Manny Machado
Manny Machado received an 8-year offer from the Chicago White Sox. In this picture, Machado #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after striking out against Corey Knebel #46 of the Milwaukee Brewers during the fifth inning in Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 19, 2018. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Image

The Manny Machado and Bryce Harper sweepstakes are finally gathering pace 14 days into the New Year with interested teams stepping up their pursuits of the two players with face-to-face meetings and genuine offers.

The two 26-year-old free agents have been the most coveted players during the ongoing baseball offseason, with a number of teams showing interest in signing the duo, but few have taken concrete steps to bring it to fruition.

Machado has had three major teams –the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees - pursuing him and the player has also visited all three stadiums and met with the teams’ hierarchy before the holiday period in December, but is yet to make a decision.

The Yankees were touted as the favorites due to the player’s love for the storied baseball franchise, but their unwillingness to offer a deal close to Machado’s demand, which is a deal north of $300 million over 10 years has put them on the back foot.

The White Sox seem to be the front-runners at his point with ESPN’s Jeff Passan reporting that they have made the shortstop an offer said to be for eight years. It is the first concrete offer on the table despite a previous MLB report suggesting that Machado also has one from the Phillies.

According to Dominican Republic reporter Hector Gomez, the offer from the White Sox is worth around $250 million over eight-years, which is the closest any team has come to matching the player’s demands. But he insists that the Phillies are still in the race for the infielder, who is a four-time All-Star.

The Chicago franchise’ offer has raised questions as their previous record is a six-year $68 million deal for Jose Abreu. It clearly shows that the White Sox are serious about landing one of the two main free agents available this offseason.

They have also been linked with a move for Harper, but the Phillies have been installed as favorites to land the right-fielder following their five-hour meeting in Las Vegas with the player on Saturday. The Philadelphia team’s owner John Middleton confirmed that it was a “very positive” meeting and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale believes a contract offer will be made soon.

Machado was said to be the Phillies’ preference, and while they are still interested in the shortstop, Harper seems to have moved to the top of their wish list. And their pursuit of Harper is likely to aid White Sox’s bid to land the former Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop/third baseman.

However, according to Passan, it is not a clear cut race, as the White Sox and Phillies have been informed about another unnamed team that has shown interest in the player and could enter the race at the last minute.