If Manny Machado gets his way, he will be on the New York Yankees Opening Day roster in 2019.
USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale lays it all out:
Machado has no control of the present, without any no-trade provisions in his contract, but can control where he works in the future, where he’s expected to be employed for the next 10 years of his life.
Machado grew up in Miami idolizing the Yankees.
Machado’s idol, Alex Rodriguez, spent 10 years and won a World Series with the Yankees.
And Machado, who would like to be on center stage in a big market, happens to love New York City.
Machado wants to be a Yankee, and, oh, how the feeling is mutual.
The Yankees didn’t even bother negotiating to bring back Todd Frazier, who wanted a two-year contract, and not just for the 2018 season.
Machado, who is entering the final year of his contract with the Baltimore Orioles, was being shopped around by the organization earlier in the off-season. Once it was discovered that the Orioles wouldn’t get the value they were looking for to deal Machado, the rumors died down fast. The Yankees were the team we saw linked to Machado more than not throughout that entire process, and it’s no secret that the Yankees want Machado as well.
As referenced above, what discouraged the Yankees from re-signing Frazier to be their third baseman in 2018 was the fact that Frazier was seeking a two-year deal in free agency. Frazier received those two years on his $17 million contract with the Yankees interleague rival New York Mets, and per Nightengale, the Yankees would have interest in signing another free agent in third baseman Mike Moustakas, but only if Moustakas is willing to sign a one-year deal.
Why would the Yankees only want Moustakas, one of the premier third baseman in baseball for only a one season you ask? The reasoning is simple, and it’s unlike anything ever heard of the Yankees. Yankees ownership and general manager Brian Cashman is attempting to slash payroll in an effort to stay under the luxury tax threshold set in by Major League Baseball, which is $197 million. As things stands right now, the Yankees are about $40 million under the threshold, which means that they would be able to afford a Machado contract that would cost at least over $300 million next off-season.
There is also multiple other ways the Yankees are looking to clear money for next off-season. Trading away center fielder Jacob Ellsbury is one of them, and would bring the Yankees to $61 million under the threshold, but it will be complicated to trade the veteran outfielder, who has under performed severely since signing with the Yankees. Ellsbury also posses a no-trade clause, which is he unlikely to ever waive in a trade.
2018 will also be Machado’s first season at the Major League level where his primary position will be shortstop, his personal preference. Machado has appeared in 52 big league games at shortstop, with 2 defensive runs saved there. Machado has saved 81 defensive runs at third base in 715 games, so it’s clear that Machado is a superior defender no matter what position you stick him at. Machado would likely revert back to a third baseman with the Yankees, who already have Didi Gregorius at shortstop.
The 25-year-old Machado could be the missing piece for the Yankees to once again win the World Series. This winter’s acquisition of baseball’s best power-hitter in Giancarlo Stanton already makes them among the favorites to win the 2018 World Series, but Machado would make them the overall favorite for many years to come.
After struggling for much of the first half of the 2017 season, Machado bounced back in the 2nd half of the season by batting .290/.326/.500 with 15 homers and 48 runs batted in. That strong second half brought Machado’s overall season batting line to .259/.310/.471, with 33 homers and 95 runs batted in.
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