Yankees: Despite his lack of hustle, Yanks need Manny Machado
After Manny Machado failed to hustle in Game 2 of the NLCS, some Yankees fans expressed their disinterest in the 26-year-old superstar. Stop kidding yourselves, he’s a rare breed, and the Bronx Bombers need him.
By now you should know that Manny Machado is headlining the upcoming free agent class. Prior to the Los Angeles Dodgers acquiring the four-time All-Star before the trade deadline, many Yankees fans were hoping he would be a member of their team before the fall.
After all, Machado had hinted at wanting to play for the Yankees in the past. However, after his recent poor choice of words in response to the criticism of him not hustling, some think he blew that chance.
Do the Yanks have room for a 26-year-old two-time Gold Glove winner that also happens to be a career .282 hitter across seven seasons? Absolutely, and if you think otherwise, you’re blowing smoke.
Machado is one of the best players in the league. Is he a sports diva? Maybe, but Machado will get the Yanks closer to a title. He’s a great player, and he knows that, and he wants to win. Most of all, Manny wants to be in the Bronx.
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Let’s not be a pompous organization that denies excellent talent because of a poor choice of words. If Machado’s on the roster in 2019, he’ll be the Bombers’ best fielder and maybe our best all-around hitter.
Also, Machado knows he made a mistake. It’s not like he doesn’t care. Here’s a pair of his comments to Ken Rosenthal that proves he understands his boneheaded baserunning error:
"“Should I have run on that pitch? Yeah … but I didn’t and I gotta pay the consequences for it. It does look bad. It looks terrible. I look back at the video and I’m like, ‘Whoa, what was I doing?'”“I’ve been thinking about it, and it happens every time. There’s no excuse for it, honestly,” Machado told Rosenthal. “I’ve never given excuses for not running. I’m not hurt, there’s no excuse. But I’ve been the same player … I’ve been doing this for [seven] years, I’m in The Show for [seven] years, I’ve done the same thing for [seven] years, I’ve been the same player.”"
Now, I get it. You may be frustrated because Machado doesn’t hustle like Pete Rose or Paul O’Neil. Finding a player with zero flaws is extremely rare. Even Mike Trout strikes out a lot, but you’ll still want him on your team.
Aaron Judge will regularly strike out 200 times in a season, but you’ll still want him on your club. Yes, Machado has an attitude problem, but he’s a heck of a good player just now entering his prime.
But what about Miguel Andujar? I know that’s your question. With Didi out for most of 2019 recovering from Tommy John, Machado can be plugged in at shortstop. Thus, the Yankees can continue to let Andujar man the hot corner.
He may even learn a few crucial tips from the elite fielding, Machado. The reality of the situation is that 2019 is Didi’s final year under contract for the Yankees. Of course, he could be offered an extension, but first, Didi has to prove he’s healthy. If the Yanks want to win next year, they need to fill the unexpected gaping hole at shortstop.
But Chris: Gleyber Torres and Neil Walker can play the middle infield!
Stop it; you’re embarrassing yourselves. While Torres and free-agent-to-be, Walker, may be decent offensive contributors, how’s their fielding? The Yankees were putrid defensively last year, and it needs to be addressed ASAP.
The Boston Red Sox were a better all-around club, and that’s why the Yanks were defeated in the ALDS. Naturally, the Bombers need to become better in all aspects of the game.
Pitching must become a priority this offseason for the Yankees, but improving the defense is also a necessity. Adding Machado increases the legitimacy of the infield tremendously — and when Machado becomes a Yankee this winter and helps bring title No. 29 to the Bronx next fall, you’ll forget all about his silly hustling comment.