Yankees: Trading Justus Sheffield for Manny Machado would be a mistake

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Justus Sheffield #86 of the New York Yankees poses for a portrait during the New York Yankees photo day on February 21, 2018 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Justus Sheffield #86 of the New York Yankees poses for a portrait during the New York Yankees photo day on February 21, 2018 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Manny Machado to the Yankees rumors continue to heat up and today some news came out regarding what the Orioles would ask for in return for their All-Star shortstop.

Tuesday night the Yankees got another up-close look at Machado’s greatness in what was their second loss in three games to the last place O’s this week. Machado smashed game-tying home runs in the fifth and seventh innings and drove in three in the O’s 6-5 walk-off win.

Before Monday’s doubleheader, it was reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Atheltic that the Yankees interest in Machado had increased. Today Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that O’s would be willing to trade Machado to their division rivals if the Yankees included their top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield in the deal.

The Orioles would prefer not to trade Machado to New York but if they could get a pitching prospect like Sheffield in return they’d be crazy not to go through with it. On the Yankees side, they don’t really need Machado but we learned this past winter not to put anything past them once they landed Giancarlo Stanton out of nowhere.

As intriguing as it would be to see Machado in pinstripes if the cost to get him is Sheffield it would be a huge mistake by the Yankees to include him in a deal. Right now their biggest need is starting pitching and the trade market this summer for front-line starters is pretty limited. That’s why trading away Sheffield, their top pitching prospect, just doesn’t make much sense.

If they can’t find a deal for another impact starter before the trade deadline, Sheffield is their best internal option to help boost the rotation this season. He also might be a better option than any starter they could acquire like J.A Happ or Cole Hamels.

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I’d trust Brian Cashman making decisions over any other GM in baseball and I don’t think he would make this kind of trade unless he has something else brewing.

As Morosi also reported, the only way the Yankees would really “need” Machado is if they somehow traded rookie Miguel Andujar first for another starting pitcher.

Obviously, Machado is the better player of the two, but Andujar has an extremely bright future himself and right now he costs the Yanks nothing compared to Machado.

If they did want to open up a spot for Machado they could theoretically trade Miggy in a separate deal for a young controllable starter, but it’s unclear if that kind of pitcher will be available. So unless it’s for someone like Jacob deGrom, Madison Bumgarner or Blake Snell the Yankees should not include Andujar in any trade and keep him as their starting third basemen.

Not to mention if Machado was acquired he would likely want to re-sign with the Yankees for big money this offseason to play shortstop.

The Yankees already have a pretty good shortstop in Didi Gregorius who’s not going anywhere and he might sign an extension this offseason. Any extension Didi signed would be much cheaper than the $250-300 million deal it would take to re-sign Machado. Machado may be willing to slide back to third base to help a contender win this season, but long-term that’s no sure thing if he’s truly set on sticking at shortstop.

There’s no doubt adding Machado would improve the Yankees lineup but if it costs them Sheffield and means no more Andujar at third base I would pass if I’m Brian Cashman. It’d be a different story if they somehow traded Andujar (and others) for another ace like deGrom in addition to a Machado trade for Sheffield. However, the odds of that happening are extremely unlikely.

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The Yankees are good enough to win it all with the offense they have right now and the idea that Machado could help them just outslug their opponents come playoff time is easier said than done. They need more starting pitching now and in the future, not more offense. Sheffield will help them in that area, not Machado.