As it turned out, the Yankees and Manny Machado were not a match made in heaven. Still, it’s a win-win for both sides, and that means something…
As the details come dripping out slowly, we are learning that neither the Yankees or Manny Machado ever had an interest in each other. The Yankees are set in their belief that they have all they need to bring a World Series Title to New York in 2019. And Manny Machado, together with his wife (never forget that element) looks to be very comfortable in the laid-back setting of San Diego for the next decade.
His first words in the video that follows – “Whew, I’m glad that’s over” – accents the relief this 26-year old is feeling. Who knew he was just a small-town boy who would be happy away from the glare of the media and rabid fan bases in cities like New York and Philadelphia? $300 million makes anyone happy, of course, but this goes beyond the money.
Let your attention focus not on Manny Machado’s words in which he says all the right things, but instead on his body language, expressions, and sense of humor, of which, who would have thought he had one? See here…
Throughout the process leading up to his signing with the Padres, I’ve been as harsh a critic as anyone on Manny Machado. Like many others, I couldn’t, for instance, let go of his behavior in last year’s World Series. In retrospect though, the real mistake I made is to assume that action is who Manny Machado is, and always will be.
Without seeing a need to call in a bunch of psychiatrists, Manny Machado appears to be a person who is not made for the spotlight. He would have been crushed, much like Sonny Gray and before him, A J Burnett, and how many others in Yankee Stadium. And with a touch of irony perhaps, could he have picked a spot any further from New York City?
Manny Machado lost touch with himself last October. As the talk of the baseball world for months upon months – where would the Orioles trade him? – Before finally landing in the second biggest market in baseball with the Dodgers – and then to top it off an appearance on the National stage in a World Series? Without excusing his childish behavior, it proved to be too much for Manny Machado.
With the notable exception of the Phillies, who appeared to kiss Machado on the mouth every day in a desperate attempt to land someone – anyone – willing to play baseball in their city – teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, Nationals, and Cubs kept their distance from Machado.
They did so under the guise of “financial considerations,” with Brian Cashman offering in today’s New York Daily News that (paraphrasing) “I have a new boss and his name isn’t George,” whom he once had to tell, “George, we can’t have everybody.”
But more accurately it seems to be they stayed away because they sensed the same thing noted above about Manny Machado – our teams and cities are too big for him, and ultimately, he won’t be happy here.
And with that, Miguel Andujar gets a much-deserved chance to prove to everyone he is a genuine major league third baseman who is going to continue to rake the hid off the baseball for the next decade. This, while the team as a whole has an opportunity to go through Spring Training without the hiccup of a new kid on the block arriving to be assimilated into the clubhouse.
For the Padres, that’s not a problem at all. Fernando Tatis Jr. sits there in waiting for Manny Machado’s guidance and mentoring, something Machado is looking forward to (reference the video). This, while the Padres sit there with the number one farm system in baseball, even though most of their pitching prospects are barely old enough to drink. But they have a future, and for $300 million Manny Machado will be part of it.
As it played out, we learned something refreshing about Manny Machado’s character. Or, at least, I did. Now, we’ll get to know a bit more about Bryce Harper, and whether he’ll run to the money, even if it means playing in oblivion for the Chicago White Sox – or will he choose a destination that follows where he wants to be, as Machado has done?
And so, a final thought before we move on from Manny. Would Bryce Harper accept a four-year $160 million deal with a player opt-out after the second year (if offered) to play for the New York Yankees – presumably fulfilling a boyhood dream…?
Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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