Did Padres signing Xander Bogaerts turn Manny Machado into Yankees target?

Adam Weinrib
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 28: Manny Machado #13 of the San Diego Padres looks on before a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 28, 2019 in New York City. The Padres defeated the Yankees 5-4. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 28: Manny Machado #13 of the San Diego Padres looks on before a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 28, 2019 in New York City. The Padres defeated the Yankees 5-4. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Outside of the obvious benefits (Red Sox getting worse = Good!), the New York Yankees might’ve celebrated Xander Bogaerts’ 11-year, $280 million contract with the San Diego Padres a little harder than most MLB franchises.

While the Yankees’ budget will be a little more restricted after losing the luxury of paying Aaron Judge year-to-year, Hal Steinbrenner and the front office has acknowledged in recent days that they’re not done building a championship-level team. Adding players like Manny Machado, on a similar aging timeline to Judge, Gerrit Cole, and Giancarlo Stanton, will be a significant part of rounding the whole roster out.

Machado, armed with an opt-out in his contract following the 2023 season, was probably already considering rejoining the market before this offseason commenced. Now, after watching Bogaerts inch towards his territory and eat up his team’s payroll with the kind of contract he’ll clearly still be able to get at the age of 31, why wouldn’t he trust the process?

Back in the 2018-19 offseason, the Yankees were reportedly Machado’s preferred destination after the team had balked at sending Justus Sheffield to the Orioles months prior to complete a deadline trade.

Though Padres guru AJ Preller believes his third baseman would prefer to stay in San Diego — and might be right — will that be financially viable? And will the Yankees step in, given a second shot at love?

Padres signing Xander Bogaerts turns Manny Machado into Yankees possibility?

Recall what was written about Machado at the All-Star Game this past summer, when his failed 2018 trade to the Yankees became the topic of the day:

"The Bronx is where Machado wanted to go. The Yankees were his team when he was a kid growing up close to Miami and Alex Rodriguez was his favorite player. When he made it to the big leagues at age 20, one of his first roadtrips was to Yankee Stadium. He loved coming in as a visiting player. The big passionate crowds fired him up.“Me and New York go back a long time,” Machado said. “I played there (for Baltimore) and fans always showed me love. It’s a special place.” He paused, then again said, “I thought I was going there and then it didn’t happen.”"

Machado might’ve found it hard to beat the five years and $150 million he’ll have due to him on his current deal from 2024-2028 … before the new collective bargaining agreement changed the environment.

The last time he hit free agency, he had to wait all the way into Spring Training before signing his new deal with a surprising suitor — and, by all accounts, learned to love San Diego.

This time, he’d be walking into a far more comforting environment, and while he likely would not be able to match Bogaerts’ 11 years, it stands to reason he could sign an eight- or-nine-year pact, unthinkable just a few winters ago.

Machado’s talent is likely a safer bet to age well than Bogaerts’ bat, too, making the Padres’ latest splurge all the more curious.

If the left side of the Padres infield shakes hands and sticks around San Diego long-term, then AJ Preller wins again. But if Bogaerts, who’ll age into third base anyway, shoves Machado onto the open market, the Yankees could prosper.

…after already prospering the second Bogaerts left the AL East.

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