The Yankees never pulled out all the stops in trying to sign Manny Machado. He went elsewhere, taking the money on the run. No one should care…
Manny Machado claimed he wanted to wear the Pinstripes and play for the New York Yankees in the biggest market major league baseball has to offer. It could be Machado meant it, but I think not only because, in the end, Manny Machado did also choose to go elsewhere.
And that elsewhere turned out to be one of the smallest markets in baseball, the San Diego Padres. Machado’s contract reportedly is worth three hundred million dollars and no cents, or did I mean sense on the part of the Padres. He will be 36 when San Diego bids farewell to him a decade from now, and we can only wonder how many championship flags will be flying at Petco Park when that day comes.
Manny Machado wanted to believe the Yankees would chase after him until finally, they would cave under the pressure of their fans and even a chorus of Yankee players endorsing the campaign of Machado and his entourage. After all, the Yankees are rich beyond anyone’s imagination, and what’s a few extra million in luxury tax money paid to bottom-feeders like the San Diego Padres?
And besides, the Yankees needed him. They have an All-Star shortstop who is injured and not due back before the season is half gone. So, in an attempt to fill that hole, the Yankees bring in a player who hasn’t played in a major league game in two years. Man-oh-man Manny, this is gonna be good.
Except it didn’t turn out that way, did it? In fact, the Yankees were not the only big-market team playing footsies with Manny Machado. The Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, Angels – none of them were in it to win it. Unless that is you want to consider the White Sox from the Windy City, a big-market team.
So big, that their Vice President, Kenny Williams is in a state of shock today, telling the Chicago Sun-Times he is “very surprised” and “still in a bit of disbelief” upon hearing the news of Machado’s deal. As early as Tuesday morning, Williams said the Sox felt they had the “best offer on the table.”
Maybe that’s so, but Manny Machado will be at the beach in San Diego in April when the White Sox are playing home games in thirty-degree weather. Other than that advantage, Machado will be a big fish in a small pond, just like he was with the Orioles for all those years of losing.
Soon, there will be a press conference at Petco introducing Manny Machado. And we’ll hear all those nice things about the Padres youth and the stockpile of pitching they have tucked away in the minor leagues, even while their fingers are crossed behind their back praying they don’t blow their arms up in the next two to three years.
Yes, Manny Machado is joining a team which was outscored by all but two teams in the major leagues in 2018, a full 200 fewer runs than the Red Sox and Yankees. Where do the Padres think they are going? Are they counting on one player, Manny Machado, to make up the difference? Good luck with that. And even if he has a miracle season, where are the Padres going in a division against the Dodgers and Rockies?
No, the Yankees did well in laying off Machado, a player who would have changed the Yankees franchise forever. Three hundred million dollars and all the sense in the world means the Yankees can now afford to re-engage in the free agent market next year and the year after that when players like Mike Trout, Nolan Arenado, Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, and a host of others become available.
And forgive me for not mentioning before, but note that all of these players are noted for their character on and off the field, something Mr. Machado still has to prove of himself after the dishonor he brought not only the Dodgers but all of baseball with his behavior during the World Series.
Manny Machado now has the honor of being awarded the biggest contract for a free agent. He will hold that distinction for all of about twenty seconds until Bryce Harper signs his “big one”. That’s how fleeting these things are.
And if you don’t believe me, just ask Giancarlo Stanton who will spend the rest of his baseball life trying to live up to a contract no ballplayer is possibly worth when weighed against production delivered on the field.
Postscript: 2/19/2019 5:20 PM EST
Readers, while agreeing with the content above, are pointing out that the Padres, as a team not considered a “contender” are still not tanking the season as several other teams are doing…and they’re doing what they can and spending money to make themselves better. I concur.