The Chicago White Sox’s pursuit of free agent infielder Manny Machado appears to be heating up.
The White Sox have plenty of payroll flexibility as they chase after Machado and his fellow free agent Bryce Harper. USA Today reported that Chicago offered Machado a contract upward of $200 million.
The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees are the main competitors for the duo. The White Sox have just $35.5 million currently committed to their payroll, according to spotrac.com. Spotrac lists the Phillies at $82.7 million before additions and the Yankees at $120.8 million.
—The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired oft-traveled relief pitcher Oliver Drake from the Toronto Blue Jays for $70,000.
Toronto designated Drake for assignment to open a 40-man roster spot after dealing for left-hander Clayton Richard from the San Diego Padres last Sunday.
It marks the second time the right-hander Drake, who turns 32 this month, has been acquired by the Rays this offseason. He originally was claimed off waivers by Tampa Bay from Minnesota on Nov. 1, only to see the Rays designate him for assignment later in the month — with the Blue Jays claiming him on Nov. 26.
—The Rays are eliminating approximately 10,000 upper deck seats at Tropicana Field next season, giving it by far the lowest seating capacity of any Major League Baseball stadium.
The team announced it will close off the upper deck seating to provide a more “intimate” experience for fans.
The club said it would add some premium seating to its lower level, but that still will leave Tropicana Field with about 10,000 fewer seats than any other venue.
—Field Level Media