It almost seems like Manny Machado, finding himself in the national spotlight of the playoffs for the first time in his big league career, could not contain himself. It’s just a taste of what the Yankees are in for, though…
With no argument, Manny Machado is the cream of the 2019 free agent crop. It’s more than a rumor by now that the Yankees will be one of several teams pursuing his services for the next five to seven seasons. Manny Machado is a franchise changing player, no matter where he signs. But nowhere will that be truer than if he’s playing in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium.
Manny Machado went out of his way to draw attention to himself during the playoffs and was a big part of his team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, reaching the World Series for the second straight year.
“I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,'”, he said just before Game 4 of the NLCS. Mmm, but then in his final at-bat last night, he laid down a perfect bunt on a 3-2 count, racing down the line beating the ball to the bag, as if to say to everyone, “See, I can do this too.” Implicit in that, of course, is Machado could do it – if he wanted to.
And we also have the I’m not a hustle guy and a play at first base where Manny Machado looks like he’s trying to out-hustle Mr. Hustle, Pete Rose, complete with the dirty player tag and remindings of Rose running over catcher Ray Fosse to score in the 1970 All-Star Game.
On this play, Manny Machado appears to go out of his way to “kick” Brewer’s first baseman, Jesus Aguilar running out a ground ball. A storm erupts around Machado, and suddenly, after playing seven seasons without incident, he’s a dirty player.
Could Machado have avoided Aguilar? Probably, at the same time though, the first thing I was taught about playing first base is you play it with your toes. You do not plant your foot half-way on the bag. Watch the video to see what I mean…
Manny Machado is one of those players who go all out to win. He’s been buried in Baltimore where they run out the string season after season with barely a chance to win. Machado ends up in Los Angeles when he’s finally let go by the Orioles – and behold – the real player gets a chance to emerge. And what a player Manny Machado is.
Some are arguing the Yankees have seen what we’ve all witnessed and they may be getting cold feet about Machado, wondering if he’s the type of player they want to introduce to the Yankees clubhouse. My argument, though, is he’s exactly what the Yankees need and are missing.
Manny Machado reminds of Reggie Jackson in that he’s not afraid to draw attention to himself – and he backs that bravado up. Three home runs and nine runs batted in for the Dodgers in the playoff thus far speaks for itself, just as Reggie’s three consecutive home runs against the same Dodgers spoke for him as the “Straw that stirs the drink” on the Yankees.
Manny Machado will be that kind of player for the Yankees, bringing some much-needed life into what is a rather staid clubhouse. Taking nothing away from Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius, you’d have to agree that both are “old-style” Yankees. By nature, they avoid any semblance of controversy, speaking quietly and carrying a soft stick. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that to catch up with the boisterous Red Sox; the Yankees need someone like Machado to stir the drink.
Are the Yankees willing to take that chance by bringing in someone like Manny Machado, who sees himself as a big-time crunch-time player? This Yankees fan hopes they do take the opportunity, if only because the team led by Aaron Boone last season never seemed to get high, never got low, and more significantly, they never got down-right angry.
Manny Machado will set a tone the franchise sorely needs, reminding of the fiery days of Paul O’Neill and Jorge Posada, when the Yankees were winners. Besides, I wouldn’t be surprised if Machado turns out to be just the guy who can wake up Gary Sanchez. And wouldn’t that be a hoot…to boot?