After a long-awaited decision by Manny Machado the 4-time All-Star signed a 10-year contract with the San Diego Padres worth $300 million. There were a few teams interested in the third baseman/short stop’s services but there was one team that has been linked to Machado for quite some time now.
The New York Yankees were rumoured to have interest in Machado as far back as 2016/17 when the long anticipated free agency of both he and Bryce Harper started to gain traction. The Yankees as usual with other big spenders like the Red Sox and Dodgers had always been linked as favourites to land either big-name player.
The Yankees however were rumoured to have interest in possibly working out a trade with their AL East rivals the Baltimore Orioles last season at the trade deadline. Every day it seemed like the Yankees were going to put together a package big enough to encourage the Orioles to pull the trigger but ultimately the Dodgers came out on top landing Machado in a 6-player trade.
Then came winter and the Yankees rumours resurfaced as the Evil Empire once again became favourites to land Machado. Much like the trade deadline, one day the Yankees were looking like they would come up with a good enough offer then the next they were out only to come back out as favourites once again.
Eventually after starting to dip into Spring Training Machado chose the Padres leaving the Yankees out once and for all. One question remains. Did the Yankees miss out on much? I mean their deep pocketbooks always allow them to come out on top in most situations but does their roster REALLY need Machado in it?
Sure, anytime you can add more power to your lineup you take it. But the Yankees went out and spent big last year for Giancarlo Stanton which panned out well for them in the regular season but in his first post-season action of his career, Stanton put up a .238 AVG with just one home run through five playoff games. Those numbers aren’t bad but for a guy making $25 million plus a year you would expect a bit more when it counts.
The Dodgers gave up a lot for Machado at the deadline last year in hopes of winning it all. They did end up in the World Series but lost the Red Sox in five games before losing Machado all together just a week ago. Like Stanton, Machado didn’t overly impress in the playoffs last year with an AVG of .227 and 3 home runs through 16 games.
Now I understand you can’t compare two players to each other so closely and you can’t judge a player’s entire career off of one postseason. But what it does allow is an example of why spending big money on a big name doesn’t always end in rings. The Yankees themselves were eliminated in the ALDS last year and it wasn’t just because of lack of hitting.
The one issue that usually plagues the Yankees became an issue for them last year and that’s pitching. They also saw a quick exit due to some questionable decisions made by rookie Manager Aaron Boone, especially regarding his starters. They did make moves to bolster that this offseason like acquiring James Paxton, locking up Luis Severino and JA Happ then grabbing Adam Ottavino in Free Agency.
But here’s why I don’t think missing out on Macahdo is a big deal for the Yanks. Their infield is actually pretty good already. Rookie sensations from last year, Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres hit a combined 51 home runs last year before also going quiet in the playoffs. But the postseason can be a scary place for young inexperienced bats, so I anticipate big things from them both in 2019.
At Short Stop the Yankees have a bit of hole with Didi Gregorius going through Tommy John surgery after the playoffs and is expected back in 2019 but an actual time frame is unknown for his return. A healthy Gregorius provides a tremendous amount of power from the SS position and in the meantime the additions of DJ LeMahieu and Troy Tulowitzki who won’t necessarily light it up in 2019 but could be solid stop gaps.
Luke Voit showed some flashes last year after being acquired in a trade with the Cardinals and hit 15 home runs in 39 games with the Yankees in 2019. Greg Bird has had up and down career so far after having a solid rookie season but playing 130 games over three seasons. I would have liked to see Brian Cashman look for more solid first base help before directing focus to Machado.
Regardless of what happened last year the Yankees will have a powerful lineup again in 2019 and while it’s always nice to add a piece like Machado I don’t see it as a necessity for this team. Rather than another $300 million on an overblown superstar I would much rather see them gather up more pitching help at the 2019 Trade Deadline for a playoff push, or perhaps more depth throughout their lineups in case of a crowded DL.
The Padres on the other hand landed one of the biggest signings in the history of their franchise and at 26-years old Machado will be their best player for the foreseeable future. Hopefully for them the investment pans out and doesn’t crash like we’ve seen with many big-name signings in baseball before.