The New York Yankees have been considered the favorites to land Manny Machado this winter for quite some time now, but they may not be willing to break the bank for the free agent slugger the way some other teams are.
With both Machado and Bryce Harper still weighing their options, Bob Nightengale of USA Today noted on Monday that it does not seem like the Yankees are pursuing Machado all that aggressively.
The #Yankees are either playing it coy, trying to gauge the Andujar trade market, or simply have no intention of offering Manny Machado a $200 million-plus contract. The Chicago #WhiteSox and Philadelphia #Phillies remain the most aggressive teams for the prized infielder.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 7, 2019
The Yankees have probably been listening to all the reports that Machado would prefer to sign with them, so they could be confident the 26-year-old is going to give them a chance to match any offer he gets from another team. If Machado is going to come to them before he signs, there’s really no need for the Yankees to set the market.
For what it’s worth, executives reportedly believe one team is going to make the biggest offer to Machado and Harper, and that team is not the Yankees. While New York could try to trade third baseman Miguel Andujar for a top starting pitcher and then sign Machado, they probably don’t have much interest in a bidding war.
The Philadelphia Phillies have been very active on the trade and free agent markets this offseason, but they are still all-in on both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. In fact, there is a belief that either player would have to take less money if they end up any place other than Philly.
After Philadelphia signed veteran reliever David Robertson to a two-year deal on Thursday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that rival teams believe the Phillies will make a bigger offer to Machado and Harper than any other club.
Now, of course, the #Phillies will be focused on Bryce Harper/Manny Machado. Rival teams believe the Phillies will make the highest offer to each of the marquee free agents.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 3, 2019
Harper is said to have already received 10-year offers, and it would be a surprise if Machado hasn’t gotten the same. We’ve already been given reason to believe the Chicago White Sox weren’t the team that made that offer, so it certainly may have been the Phillies.
There were rumblings during the offseason that the Phillies might want to sign both Machado and Harper, but that is farfetched and they may prefer one over the other.
The Chicago White Sox are one of the teams that are believed to be in the running to sign Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, but they may not be willing to come close to meeting the contractual demands of either player.
Both Machado and Harper are said to be seeking 10-year contracts, and Bruce Levine of 670 The Score in Chicago reports that the White Sox have no plans to offer more than seven.
Reports of the White Sox offering ten plus years for Manny Machado or Bryce Harper are ”Without any substance and flat out wrong “ according to high ranking industry sources . Wh Sox will not be giving offer of more than 7 years for either player.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) January 2, 2019
Assuming the White Sox are still in the running, we can only assume one of two things to be true — Chicago is bluffing, or they are willing to offer a higher enough average annual salary that their seven-year offers are worth considering for Machado and/or Harper.
For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Jeff Passan — one of the most respected MLB insiders — reported on Wednesday that the White Sox are willing to go 10 years. Levine’s report seemed to be a response to that, so time will tell which is accurate.
Machado has potentially already made up his mind about where he will sign, and this is not the first time we have heard the White Sox are unwilling to make a record-breaking offer to either superstar free agent. Unless that is merely posturing, it sounds unlikely that Machado or Harper ends up in Chicago.
The top two free agents on the MLB free agent market are waiting until January to sign, and it appears that one is going to go first.
Outfielder Bryce Harper remains in limbo, according to Michael J. Duarte of NBC LA, as he is likely to sign only after Manny Machado does. Machado is expected to sign in January, with some considering the New York Yankees the frontrunner.
If Machado joins the Yankees, Duarte reports that the Philadelphia Phillies will likely increase their efforts to land Harper.
Anything on Bryce Harper is not expected to come until after the New Year, and likely after Manny Machado contract details are announced. IF Machado does sign with #Yankees, expect #Phillies to increase their pursuit of Harper. #Dodgers
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) December 28, 2018
In other words, this will drag on for at least another week. The Phillies have been linked to both Harper and Machado, but haven’t appeared close on either. They have a lot of money to spend and a desire to land a big name, so while reports indicate that their interest up until now has been overblown, that may well change if he becomes the only game in town.
Manny Machado met with several teams this week as he gets closer to signing what could be a record-breaking contract, but the slugger apparently has his sights set on one destination in particular.
According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, Machado has been telling those close to him that he prefers to sign with the New York Yankees. He may even be willing to take slightly less from the Yankees, as Bowden reports that Machado has told friends he will sign with New York “if the money is close.”
Machado’s affinity for the Yankees has been well documented, but he has also said he would prefer to continue playing shortstop. New York already has its shortstop of the future in place in Didi Gregorius, though he will miss the start of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The Yankees don’t really have an opening at third base, either, as 23-year-old Miguel Andujar is coming off a breakout season in which he hit .297 with 27 home runs and 92 RBI. If they end up signing Machado, there’s a good chance the Yankees will trade Andujar. In fact, that is something rival teams believe they are eager to do.
Machado may have had to address some character concerns in his meeting with New York earlier this week, but the 26-year-old seems like the type of signing GM Brian Cashman would make. While the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox will give Machado plenty to think about, the Yankees are clearly the favorite to land him.
The New York Yankees are one of the favorites to sign Manny Machado this offseason, and one pitcher who has faced him many times in the AL East is operating under the assumption that the slugger will return to the division.
On Thursday, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman predicted that it is only a matter of time before Machado signs with the Yankees.
Machado is going to the Yankees. Yankees go out and get everyone. Red Sox are lethal. Rays are dangerous. Can never sleep on the Orioles. I’m going to the gym. Gonna be in my zone all year. Excited to compete in the best division in baseball! #ALEast
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) December 20, 2018
Stroman then sent a series of tweets about how difficult it is to pitch in the AL East but how much he enjoys it.
“Pitching in the AL East be stressful man. Lol,” Stroman wrote. “All pitchers be avoiding the AL East for a reason. I honestly love being in it. Gotta bring your legit A+ game every single day. That s— excites me!”
If the Blue Jays want to keep pace in what could be baseball’s toughest division, they will need Stroman to improve upon his disappointing 2018 season. The left-hander went 4-9 with a 5.54 ERA in 19 appearances. He was much more dominant in 33 appearances in 2017, posting a 13-9 record with a 3.09 ERA.
The Yankees met with Machado for quite a while on Wednesday, and they reportedly had some concerns about his character that they wanted to speak with him about. If Machado does sign with New York, he’ll have to accept moving from shortstop back to third base. That is something he is apparently open to if the money is right.
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The New York Yankees may end up being the team that invests a historic amount of money in Manny Machado, but they apparently have the same character concerns that many others have expressed about him.
Machado’s reputation took a big hit during the postseason because of some dirty antics and his admission that he doesn’t always hustle. The slugger met with the Yankees for over an hour on Wednesday, and team officials reportedly wanted to speak with him about all of that.
Yankees wanted Machado to explain postseason antics, including "Johnny Hustle" comment. But given his affinity for them, probably didn't need to sell him on NY/the Yankee Experience. He's likely to get full red-carpet sales pitch from #Phillies tomorrow.https://t.co/efWMtJrFbB
— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) December 19, 2018
Machado appeared to spike first basemen on multiple occasions during the postseason. He also admitted in an interview that he has never been big on hustling and will probably never be known as “Johnny Hustle.” You can understand why teams like the Yankees would want assurances that that isn’t going to continue and/or was blown out of proportion.
While the character concerns are not going to prevent Machado from landing a huge contract, a report from last month claimed one team had already ruled out signing him because of them. That team obviously is not the Yankees.