Not Yankees - Bryce Harper and Manny Machado (Photo: The Good Phight)

Yankees: Now Everyone Knows Why Harper And Machado Were Shunned

It didn’t take long for the Yankees to prove their point as to why they were never in on the Harper/Machado sweepstakes during the offseason…

No one ever believed the Yankees were not all-in on both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper during the past offseason. It was imagined the Yankees were the darkhorse team hiding in the grass until they would strike with a vengeance as only the Evil Empire can, ending the suspense and blowing away the luxury tax with a devil may care attitude, all in the pursuit of a 28th World Championship.

Of course, it didn’t play out that way, and these days Harper, the Lone Ranger of baseball wears a Philadelphia Phillies uniform while Machado settled on the San Diego Padres.

To his credit, Yankees GM, Brian Cashman, kept his thoughts about both players close to his vest, taking the high road offering only that neither one “fit into the Yankees plans”. Truth be known, though, most Yankees fans with half a brain, including this one, could read between the lines knowing that Cashman had reservations about the character of Harper and Machado, and bringing them into the Yankees “family” was a non-starter from the beginning.

Yankees Harper – Aborting The Marriage

The incident in the following video occurred a couple of nights ago, and it is proof positive that Cashman’s gut feeling was the right one. Imagine Bryce Harper in a Yankees uniform acting out like this…(the video features awesome commentary, but the language is a bit rough)

No way, no how does Harper’s ejection from the game (for the 12th time in his brief career) and childish behavior cut it as a Yankee wearing the pinstripes. Just ask yourself, can you visualize Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton behaving in this manner? And I don’t want to hear that Harper plays with such “intensity” that he can’t help himself.

The folks at MLB are reviewing the tape and there is the possibility Harper may face disciplinary action that is based more like a stop sign in lieu of his history than this particular incident. Or better yet, how about the Phillies stepping up to tone down their Golden Child with a fine donated to charity – as I believe the Yankees would?

Perhaps more revealing is the reaction of Phillies ace starting pitcher, Jake Arrieta, sounding off following the game. Not angry, just stating a few facts, can’t you imagine CC Sabathia subbing for Arrieta if the incidents had occurred with Harper in a Yankees uniform. One can only wonder how Harper is receiving Arrieta’s message in this video:

Yankees Machado – Aborting The Marriage The Right Move

Not to be outdone, Manny Machado, who is off to a less than impressive start with his new team, is having temper tantrums of his own. Coming into action tonight, Machado sports a .241 batting average and has managed only four home runs with nine RBI in almost 100 plate appearances this season.

Machado, of course, was doused with suspicion about where his head is at times during last year’s World Series when he was a Los Angeles Dodger’s rental. Stomping on the foot of an opponent at first base, Machado spent a good portion of the Holiday Season defending his behavior.

The Yankees, and in fact, most teams never bought into the atonement offered by Machado. Lucky for him, there is always one team who will bite the bullet, rationalizing that it was only an isolated incident.

This time, thankfully, Machado’s temper did not flair against another human being. Instead, he took his frustration out on his bat, because (I guess) his bat caused him to strike out. No fine necessary here, but again, ask yourself if you can picture Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, or anyone on the Yankees reacting in this way:

Some will speak to the “competitive fire” that Machado brings to the field. Others will suggest, no harm, no foul. Instead, I will suggest Machado’s actions exemplify risky and unneeded behavior, with the chance of injury if his attempt to break the (hardwood) bat is not successful, causing time lost to his team.

On How The Yankees Exemplify Baseball – A Team Game

And that, essentially, is what this is all about with both Harper and Machado. Baseball, unlike golf and tennis, is a team sport with individual contributions (or not) which design a team’s fate.

The current brand of Yankees Replacements is proving that a roster of 25 players is greater than any one individual, and even though losing Judge, Stanton, Andujar, etc, is a mighty blow, it doesn’t have to be a knock-out punch.

A healthy Yankees Harper Machado would upset, more than offset, the number of players missing from the Yankees lineup. Either or both would dominate the back pages of the New York Daily News and the New York Post.

Instead, the players featured now are based on their performance(s) on the field that contributes to winning baseball.

Gio Urshela accounts for the winning run in last night’s win over the Angels. Austin Romine the night before, Clint Frazier several times before that, all with stellar starting pitching of late and the Yankees have themselves a team with no stars, only professional athletes and major league ballplayers.

Ask me again and I’ll tell you again…the Yankees continue to make the right choices when it comes to player personnel. And nowhere is that more glaring than in the rejection of both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper as “thanks but no thanks” for your services…

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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