According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Yankees have expressed interest in potentially acquiring four-time All-Star Manny Machado.
Despite being on pace for 107 victories, and having the makings on a young infield set to excel together for the next several years at least, the Yankees still eye one of the game’s elite in Manny Machado. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Bombers have increased their interest in the free-agent-to-be.
Machado, a two-time Gold Glove winner at third base, has moved to his natural position of shortstop with the greatest of ease this season. Not only that, but it appears the switch has only increased his already stellar offensive stats: .309/.379/.555 with 21 home runs, 60 RBIs and a 51:41 K:BB ratio in 346 at-bats.
Before rookie Miguel Andujar’s emergence as a legit everyday third baseman, it was commonplace for many to believe Machado would slide back to third for a chance to play with the Yanks in 2019. However, Andujar looks to be the real deal, and Machado has made it clear he only intends to play shortstop for the remainder of his career.
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Second base also looks to be on lock, where AL Rookie of the Year contender Gleyber Torres was just named to his first Mid-Summer Classic. Which only leaves the possibility of Machado potentially replacing Didi Gregorius — a player that many of us believe deserved a lengthy contract extension after his April exploits.
Since then, the 28-year-old Gregorius’ production has cooled considerably, though his left-handed bat is still much-needed in the middle of that right-handed heavy Yankee lineup.
On the year, Didi is now slashing .255/.320/.455 with 15 homers, 48 RBIs and a 49:32 K:BB ratio in 325 at-bats. Adding another right-handed bat may play well against the Red Sox’s dominant left-handed starting rotation, but what about the rest of the league, namely the Astros and Mariners?
The Yankees interest in Machado brings with it a lot of question marks
Which prospects and other commodities are general manager Brian Cashman willing to trade for a player that can walk at seasons end? Especially when Cash has been so adamant that adding starting pitching is of the utmost importance.
If Machado were acquired without surrendering Andujar, would Andujar become a trade chip for a starter (as suggested by Jon Morosi of MLB.com) or would he be sent back to Triple-A to bide time until the Yanks trade Gregorius this winter (prior to his upcoming sizable payday)? I’m sure this would be quite unpopular with Yankee fan, but let’s be honest, there’s no comparing Didi to Manny
I’ve also seen people suggesting that the Yankees aren’t actually interested in acquiring Manny and are instead increasing the asking price for others that legitimately need Machado. But why?
The clubs that are reportedly interested in Machado predominately lie in the NL: Brewers, Diamondbacks and Dodgers. Why would the Yankees want an AL East rival to acquire top prospects, and in abundance? It doesn’t add up.
According to former GM Jim Duquette, now an insider for MLB.com, taking into account such things as expiring contracts and division alignment, he feels that if the Yankees were to offer a package of Domingo German, Clint Frazier and Brandon Drury, the Orioles could agree to send Machado and left-handed reliever Zach Britton to the Bronx in exchange.
Perhaps the Yankees who lead the majors with 150 home runs feel it’s in their best interest to add yet another slugger, albeit a proven one that will make their stellar lineup that much scarier, instead of adding a middling starter. Jim Bowden of CBS Sports feels this strategy is a real possibility as the Yanks look to win it all this season.