This is what some White Sox fans have feared during this long free agent pursuit of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. More teams are hanging around, waiting to see if the price is lowering on either star and apparently it has enough for the Padres to now be in the mix. Yet, this new development could also have a trickle down effect on the Cubs.

Jon Heyman was the first to hint that the Padres were the mystery team in on Machado and Harper.

Then, on Friday a report from the San Diego Union-Tribune confirmed the Padres’ involvement for Machado.

Here’s what Kevin Acee reported.

The Padres were not initially the “mystery team” in pursuit of free agent infielder Manny Machado.

But they qualify as such now.

According to multiple sources aware of talks between the sides but not authorized to speak publicly, the Padres are pursuing the 26-year-old superstar with the intention of playing him at third base.

The team has refined its focus to free agents (versus a trade) with the hope of filling the position before spring training.

The Padres became players in the pursuit of Machado a week ago when reports surfaced of a price that was far lower than the expected $30 million or more per year over eight or more years.

It’s important to point out that the reported offer of seven years and $175 million by the White Sox to Machado was publicly called false by his agent. Nevertheless, Acee says the Padres remain in contact with Machado.

It was around that time that the Padres connected with Machado’s side, and they continue to talk.

The belief remains it will take closer to $30 million a year to get Machado, whose 142 home runs rank seventh in the majors over the past four seasons. However, the market is limited, and the Padres are believed to be legitimate suitors.

So, another team the White Sox are going to have to beat out for Machado. But there’s another angle with the Padres that brings the Cubs into play.

It seems like the Padres are actually going for it because not only are they now considered viable suitors for Machado, but they’re also in talks with the Marlins for catcher J.T. Realmuto.

The Padres were reportedly asking for a window to try and work out an extension with Realmuto.

However, that appears to be off the table now.

So, where do the Cubs play a factor into any of this?

Well, if the Padres end up trading for Realmuto, then they might consider trading their current catcher Austin Hedges to the Cubs, who have been looking for a solid backup for Willson Contreras.

The Padres have reportedly had talks about a possible trade for Cubs infielder David Bote. Yet, if they were to sign Machado, then Bote would be off the table.

So, a couple things could be brewing and the Padres might end up effecting a few things for both Chicago teams. If the White Sox don’t land Machado, then they’ll most certainly ramp things up for Bryce Harper. However, that means the Phillies would be in the same position, so there would then be a new bidding war for Scott Boras to manipulate for Harper.

Stay tuned!