Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
We're not here, the morning after the Boston Red Sox won their fourth World Series championship since 2004, to tell you that the Yankees definitely will not sign Manny Machado. If you're a Yankee fan, you probably don't want to hear that today.
And they're the Yankees. They might end up with the superstar shortstop, after all.
But we are here to tell you that the baseball operations and scouting departments, which spent most of last week meeting to plot an offseason strategy, was not impressed by Machado's postseason antics, and are now "lukewarm" on pursuing the former Oriole and Dodger, according to major league sources.
Twice in the past calendar year, Brian Cashman tried to trade for Machado -- and that was before shortstop Didi Gregorius tore an elbow ligament and learned he would be out for most of the 2019 season.
But as the team watched this postseason, and weighed it against what they already feared about Machado -- that he didn't always run out ground balls, that opponents thought he was a dirty player -- they became even more wary of committing to him for the better part of a decade.
This month alone, Machado failed to run out ground balls in key spots, said in a FOX television interview that he wasn't "Johnny Hustle," and engaged in enough borderline plays on the basepaths to inspire Milwaukee's MVP candidate Christian Yelich to call him a "dirty player."
There is nuance to all of these situations. In the now-infamous interview, Machado was in fact engaged in an earnest effort to find the words to explain a purely physical and instinctual act. The so-called dirty plays were not great, but they certainly didn't show apathy.
And of course, Machado is one of the most talented ballplayers in the world. It's possible that because of that, and the need to address the Red Sox championship, Yankees ownership will mandate an all-out pursuit of Machado.
But that won't be the recommendation of baseball ops. That department would prefer to monitor the Machado market, see how it unfolds, but not go all-in, as they did for, say CC Sabathia after the 2008 season.
The 2018 playoffs might not ultimately cost Machado money, but they did cost him some enthusiasm in the offices at Yankee Stadium.