Free agent shortstop Manny Machado’s market is strong as we move toward the MLB Winter Meetings.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, six teams have registered their interest in Machado. Three of them — the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, and Philadelphia Phillies — are known commodities. Rosenthal adds, however, that at least three other teams have voiced their preliminary interest.
It’s not just the #Phillies, #WhiteSox and #Yankees that have interest in Manny Machado. One rival executive hears at least three other teams are in the mix and will meet with Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano, at the winter meetings.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 8, 2018
While some believe they know where Machado will land, they’re all just guesses, especially with so many unknown suitors lurking. He’s exceedingly likely to get one of the two biggest deals handed out this winter, rivaling only Bryce Harper’s.
- Manny Machado
The Philadelphia Phillies are on the verge of acquiring one of the better shortstops in baseball, and some are wondering if that means they are no longer interested in signing Manny Machado to a massive free agent contract. However, one thing does not necessarily have to do with the other.
According to numerous reports, the Phillies have a deal in place to acquire Mariners shortstop Jean Segura. First baseman Carlos Santana and former first-round pick JP Crawford are headed to Seattle as part of the trade.
#Mariners are in agreement pending physical review to send Jean Segura to the #Phillies for Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford. There will be other prospects involved. I believe @Ken_Rosenthal was 1st to say this was close to happening.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 3, 2018
While he played shortstop with the M’s, Segura has plenty of experience at second base. In fact, Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Daily News notes that the best season of Segura’s career was in 2016, when he played second for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Once again to clear up any confusion:
Another reason that a Jean Segura trade wouldn’t necessarily preclude #Phillies from signing Manny Machado: Segura played 1,170 innings (142 games) at 2B for Arizona in 2016 and finished 13th in NL MVP race. It was best season of his career.
— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) December 3, 2018
Segura hit .304 with 10 home runs and 63 RBI last season. If the Phillies paired him with Machado, they would have arguably the best middle infield in baseball. There are still other teams that will try to sign Machado, but a lot of what we have heard makes Philly sound like the favorite.
ESPN’s Buster Olney spoke with several MLB executives about the Harper and Machado sweepstakes, and the general consensus is that Machado will end up with the Philadelphia Phillies with Harper re-signing with the Washington Nationals.
Baseball execs are baseball fans at heart, and they wonder, too, about where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will sign. Most common guesses — informed speculation — that I’ve heard from folks within the game: Machado to the Phillies, Harper back to the Nationals.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 29, 2018
The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers all seem to be out on both Harper and Machado. We know how quickly that can change, but it greatly limits the market if it remains the case.
Harper has already reportedly turned down one massive offer from Washington, but there is room for that deal to be revised. The Phillies have made it known that they are willing to spend big this winter, though they seem to be proceeding as if they could miss out on Harper and Machado. It won’t be long before we have answers.
The Philadelphia Phillies are widely expected to be very aggressive in the free agent market this offseason, and not just when it comes to the top names.
The Phillies are likely to pursue at least one of Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, but according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the franchise won’t let those two players hold up the rest of the team’s plans. He reports that the Phillies may pursue and sign multiple free agents before either player makes a final decision on their future.
Among the names the Phillies may have interest in are pitcher Patrick Corbin, relievers Craig Kimbrel and Zach Britton, and outfielders Michael Brantley and A.J. Pollock. They may also be active in the trade market during that time, too.
In other words, Philadelphia may be the team to watch this offseason. They’re already being linked to some other big names in addition to their expected pursuits of Harper and Machado, and they could spend more money than anyone else at this rate.
Manny Machado has the potential to land the biggest free agent contract in MLB history this offseason, but he will likely have to first answer questions about his character from one or more interested teams. Many of those questions center around his reputation for not hustling, which is one that he perpetuated during the playoffs.
Machado infamously said in an interview last month that hustling down the first base line on a routine ground ball is “not my cup of tea.” He also said he will never be known as “Johnny Hustle” and can’t change the way he plays, but he tried to walk back those comments while speaking with Mark Feinsand of MLB.com this week.
“When I was asked that question, I was definitely on the defensive, and I was wrong to answer it the way that I did, because looking back, it doesn’t come across how I meant it,” Machado explained. “For me, I was trying to talk about how I’m not the guy who is eye wash. There’s a difference between fake hustle for show and being someone who tries hard to win. I’ve always been the guy who does whatever he can to win for his team.”
What Machado is trying to say, we think, is that he would never dog it on an important play. What he likely means by “eye wash” is that he simply doesn’t like hustling down the line when he knows he’s going to be thrown out, but isn’t that still a problem?
The point of hustling isn’t just to show fans you play hard. A bobble or errant throw can happen at any time, and giving 100 percent effort allows a player to maximize his chances of capitalizing on any potential mistake. If you choose not to run hard simply because there’s a high probability you’re going to be thrown out, you might not be in position to take advantage of an opponent’s misstep.
Of course, Machado hasn’t only been criticized for his lack of hustle. He also committed numerous dirty plays during the postseason, and interested teams will likely have plenty of questions about that as well.
- Manny Machado
The New York Yankees definitely seem interested in free agent infielder Manny Machado, but they have some very public concerns about how he’s handled himself.
Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner believes Machado needs to clarify comments he made during the playoffs in which he admitted he was never going to be a major hustle-type player.
Steinbrenner said he would need to hear more from Machado about his “no-hustle” comments.
"If it’s a $300 million guy, or a $10-million guy, clearly those comments are troubling,” said Hal. #Yankees
— David Lennon (@DPLennon) November 14, 2018
We had heard previously that the Yankees are “lukewarm” on Machado because of the controversies that followed him during the playoffs. That may be too strong, but they clearly have enough reservations that they’re voicing them publicly ahead of negotiations. It could be a ploy, and it remains to be seen how they handle it.
New reporting indicates that the New York Yankees remain very much a factor in the Manny Machado sweepstakes.
According to The Athletic’s Jayston Stark via colleague Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees are “doing particularly extensive work” on Machado. Manager Aaron Boone and members of the front office have been calling those who know Machado well to get a sense of his character and his reputation as a teammate.
Those are fair questions after a controversial postseason in which Machado attracted more attention for a lack of hustle and questionable on-field actions than any of his exploits at the plate. Previous reporting had indicated that all of that had caused the Yankees to cool their interest on him, but that may have been an attempt to manipulate the market, as this indicates they’re as interested as they’ve ever been.
Machado is still a 26-year-old fresh off a season in which he hit .297 with 37 home runs while playing in the middle infield. He’s going to get a ton of attention and a lot of money.