As the Yankees embark on what is expected to be a very busy offseason in 2019, the intrigue of signing 26-year-old All-Star Manny Machado has always been on the table.
But the prospect of playing in the Big Apple comes with loads of responsibility. If the Yankees' championship-or-bust mentality wasn't enough, the rabid fanbase and media that surrounds a New York athlete is sometimes too much to deal with.
No one knows this better than former Yankees manager and Mets player Joe Torre. The two-time Manager of the Year recipient knows what it takes to win in New York, and during that span, has seen certain players thrive or fall off the deep end during their time here.
So does he think Machado has what it takes to flourish with the brightest lights in the game on him at all times?
"We all know he's talented," Torre told SNY's Anthony McCarron during the 16th annual New York City Gala that benefitted Torre's Safe At Home Foundation on Thursday night. "Playing in NY is something different. It is something different. We've seen players change who they were when they came to New York and you really don't know until you get there. But there's no question about his ability. He's a young guy, strong and runs. He's very talented. Unfortunately, he had a couple of hiccups that didn't sit well in the postseason, but it had nothing to do with his ability."
We all know Machado is one of the great young talents in the game right now. However, he has caught some serious flak for his lack-of-hustle comments this postseason.
"I'm not going to change,'' Machado said during the playoffs. "I'm not the type of player that's going to be 'Johnny Hustle,' and run down the line and slide to first base … and you know, whatever can happen. That's just not my personality. That's not my cup of tea. That's not who I am.''
And those comments have clearly made its way up the Yankees food chain, with managing general partner Hal Steinbreener saying it's "essential" he clears them up if he ever wishes to see his megadeal come from the Bronx.
But Torre, who serves as MLB's Chief Baseball Officer, didn't look into Machado's comments as much as others.
"I didn't read any of that," he explained. "I don't know. I haven't heard that. I'm not sure I could've played in these days with social media and the whole thing. I think things are a little tougher on players and managers alike."
It will be interesting to see what the Yankees decide to do with Machado once Winter Meeting roll around. On one hand, players like Dellin Betances would love to have Machado to "put us over the top." But SNY's Andy Martino has been reporting the Yankees appear to be "lukewarm" on him at the moment.
Torre seems to be in that realm as well, saying the Yankees offense is high-octane to begin with. They don't necessarily need Machado, which is why he touched on pitching, and how that's what he focused on in the past.
"They're going to score runs, Manny Machado or no Manny Machado," Torre said. "We concentrated on so often was pitching - you've got to get the outs. And their bullpen is dynamite. But they're strong."
Torre -- like most others -- believes Machado has the skill to succeed wherever he lands. Whether or not it will be in pinstripes is the real question.