If Mets owner Steve Cohen really wants to twist the knife, though, he can land the plane on the Great Yankees Signing That Never Was after the 2023 season and craft a disappointing reversal of fortune.
No, not Bryce Harper. The other one. No, not Corey Seager either. No, Correa, no.
Remember the 2018-19 offseason? When Manny Machado and Patrick Corbin felt like a fait accompli, only for neither of them to join the Yankees or even really come close? Ultimately, the Bombers course-corrected on Corbin with, uh, Gerrit Cole, but never quite plugged that Machado hole, even though we all got a good laugh and premature victory lap out of Gio Urshela’s 2019 season.
Machado’s strange second half in Los Angeles in 2018, which ended with him striking out and screwing himself into the dirt against Chris Sale, might’ve combined with his below-average 2019 (110 OPS+ in a pitcher-friendly park) to throw us off the scent. His shortened 2020 and 2021 were spectacular, though; he received MVP votes this year and finished third in the 60-gamer.
Now, there’s a chance Machado will reenter East Coasters’ lives. In the wake of Showalter’s hire in Queens, the ex-Oriole unabashedly praised his leadership and the way their relationship developed in Baltimore.
Oh, and wouldn’t you know it, Machado has an opt-out in his Padres contract following the 2023 season. He’ll be just 31 years old. Isn’t that interesting?
Could Manny Machado join the Mets and punk the Yankees?
Hate to tell you, but third base will likely be a place of need for the Bombers that offseason, too. Hate to tell you this even more, but considering defensive metrics have never loved Urshela, and he’s entering his age-30 season after posting a 96 OPS+ last year, it probably already is one.
The Showalter hire was only controversial among nit-pickers; objectively, he’s more “modern” than Tony La Russa and also more beloved. Always a bridesmaid and seemingly never a bride, he’s still most recently known for pulling the Orioles out of the doldrums and making them into AL East champions, even though the Twitterati will never let his Zack Britton non-maneuver go.
In an effort to make sure that didn’t define his baseball life, Machado spoke out this weekend (eagerly!) and announced, among paragraphs of praise, that he “wouldn’t hesitate” to play for Showalter again. What a coup that would be for a Mets team that clearly wants to run New York, and swept a manager right out of the YES Network broadcast booth this weekend.
Though you may not have paid him much attention since he stopped effortlessly plowing through the Yankees during his time in the AL East, Machado still has a lot to give in his Hall of Fame career.
If he picks New York but not the Yankees after 2023, that’ll be one hell of a way to ensure this rivalry develops as marketing execs have long envisioned.