Faced with the apparent inevitability of Manny Machado becoming a Yankee, one last time, let’s realize there’s no turning back from this.
Apparently, the Yankees are the odds-on winners in the Manny Machado sweepstakes. The dog and pony show was in Philadelphia yesterday, and before that in Chicago with the White Sox. In their meeting with Machado, the Phillies are likely to have dominated the conversation, while throwing around some of that “stupid money” their owner pledged to spend this winter.
For two reasons, neither team has a chance though. One, Manny Machado is going to get paid – bigtime. Whether it’s the Yankees low-ball figure or the Phillies and White Sox over the top number for $20 or $30 million more, Machado will be set for life when all is said and done.
Second, with either the White Sox or Phillies, Manny Machado immediately becomes the “face” of the team and all the pressure and expectations that come along with that tag attached to your name, in addition to putting up All-Star numbers for the next ten years, begs the question if the few extra dollars (hey, it’s all relative) are worth it.
Although it is possible when Manny Machado counts up all the family members, friends, and hangers-on coming out of the woodwork, he might still opt for the money. But, if we believe the deluge of reports that Machado has wanted to wear the Pinstripes since he could talk, this is still and always has been about the New York Yankees.
In contrast to the Phillies meeting with Machado where they did all the talking, we can assume Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone, the two Yankees reps at the meeting, sat back and waited for Machado to make his case for wanting to be a Yankee.
And with that, the mea culpa issued by Machado following his behavior during the World Series was, hopefully, dismissed by the Yankees for the bullcrap it was, and they pressed Machado for more that describes who he is as a professional ballplayer, teammate, and person.
Yankees haters can laugh and go tsk, tsk – but there is something unique when it comes to wearing the Pinstripes. I’m not worried so much about the shenanigans Manny Machado pulled during the World Series and his comments afterward. I’m worried more about how he fits into the Yankees team.
For one, this will always be the team of Aaron Judge. All I want, and I suspect a good deal of Yankees want, from Machado is to deliver the numbers. Repeat what’s been done before regarding run production, write him his paychecks, and everyone goes home happy, and even perhaps with Number 28 and a parade down Broadway.
It goes without saying too, Aaron Boone, not Joe Torre representing Major League Baseball, has to be the first to levy a fine against Machado if he chooses to engage in any sort of bush-league or unprofessional behavior while wearing a Yankees uniform.
No one wants to think the worst, but in the case of Manny Machado, his signing probably means the Yankees will need to part ways with either Didi Gregorius or Miguel Andujar. Gregorius will be a free agent at the end of this season, and what was once a foregone conclusion the Yankees would sign him to an extension before he got there, may be fading away.
Meanwhile, without Machado in the picture, Andujar would have been given another year to work out his troubles at third base, while continuing to tear the hide off the baseball for another season. With Machado in, Andujar reverts to being a blue chip in a trade by the Yankees for more pitching.
In a column earlier this week, I proposed the Yankees dismiss Machado, waiting instead for the free agency of Nolan Arenado next year. If not for the injury to Gregorius and the immediate need to fill a hole in the Yankees infield, I wonder if the Yankees would have been thinking the same thing.
If Machado is here, and it looks like he will be, one can only hope as he looks around the locker room at teammates like CC Sabathia, Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner, and others who “get it” without having to be told – he is a New York Yankee and we win Championships here.
There’s no question the Yankees are a better team with Manny Machado in their lineup. It’s the other stuff I’m worried about…
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