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Report: White Sox offered Manny Machado seven-year contract

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the White Sox have made a contract offer of eight years to free agent SS/3B Manny Machado. [Update: Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Chicago’s offer to Machado is actually for seven years.] Machado, of course, has yet to make a decision and is still being heavily pursued by the Phillies and, apparently, another as yet unknown mystery team.

Machado, 26, is a highly desirable combination of young and elite, a mixture in players that has reached free agency less often in recent years as teams have gotten into the style of signing their young stars to multiyear contracts well before they are able to test the market. As a result, Machado and fellow 26-year-old free agent superstar Bryce Harper are expected to sign significantly lucrative contracts at some point before the start of spring training.

This is the first we’re hearing of specific contract offers made to either player at this point in the offseason. An eight-year offer certainly comes in under what many were predicting Machado would ultimately get — many had him fetching at least 10-year deal — but with the way free agency has gone lately, who knows?

Between the Orioles and Dodgers this past season, Machado slashed .297/.367/.538 with 37 home runs, 107 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 709 plate appearances while playing terrific defense. At least at third base, anyway. Defensive metrics weren’t too kind to him about his glovework at shortstop in 2018. Machado’s preference is to play shortstop.

The Cubs are considering a sportsbook at Wrigley Field

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With the nationwide ban on sports gambling gone — and with sports gambling regulations slowly being implemented on a state-by-state basis — any number of businesses are considering getting in on the action. Among those businesses are the Chicago Cubs.

ESPN reports that the club is considering opening gambling facilities in and around Wrigley Field which might include betting windows, automated kiosks or, possibly, a full, casino-style sportsbook. They’re characterized as preliminary discussions as the team awaits the Illinois governor’s signature on recently-passed legislation allowing gambling. The Cubs aren’t commenting, but a source tells ESPN that nothing has been done yet. It’s just talk at the moment.

If the Cubs move forward from the talking stage it will cost them a pretty penny: a four-year license will, under Illinois’ new law, cost them $10 million.

Now: let’s see the White Sox take some action this year. I can think of nothing more fun than sports gambling at what was once Comiskey Park on the 100th anniversary of the Black Sox scandal.