The White Sox made it official Thursday, announcing they agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract with free-agent outfielder Jon Jay.
The addition of Jay, along with the team's trade with the Indians last month for first baseman Yonder Alonso, has added to speculation that the Sox are going full tilt on free-agent target Manny Machado. The infielder is Alonso's brother-in-law and Jay's close friend, and the three train together in Miami in the offseason.
Jay is scheduled to hold a media conference call Thursday afternoon.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Sox designated outfielder and Wilmette native Charlie Tilson for assignment. Tilson, 26, a New Trier High alumnus, was a Cardinals second-round draft pick in 2011 and came to the Sox organization in a July 2016 trade.
The left-handed-hitting Jay, 33, is a career .285 hitter with a .352 on-base percentage in nine major-league seasons with four teams. He hit .268 and scored 74 runs last season for the Royals and Diamondbacks.
"Jon is a veteran major-leaguer who can help a team win in any number of ways," general manager Rick Hahn said in a team statement. "From getting on base consistently to being a solid hitter, smart baserunner and solid defender at all three outfield spots, Jon makes any team better."
Jay, Machado and Alonso co-authored an article about their bond in a February 2017 article for The Players' Tribune.
"The three of us all come from the similar backgrounds," Jay wrote. "I've known Yonder since he was 10. And we've both known Manny since he was a young kid coming up. We're from the same neighborhoods, the same culture, so it's just natural for us to stick together."
Meanwhile, Tilson spent the majority of 2018 with Triple-A Charlotte. He batted .264 with 11 RBIs and seven runs in 41 games with the Sox last summer.