Once SNY's Andy Martino described the Yankees' feelings about Manny Machado as being "lukewarm," everything about the pursuit, or lack thereof, rang true to those beliefs. The Yankees did not believe Machado was a difference maker at his terms and price, shifted gears and never sniffed near his desires.
It's actually easy to debate both sides of the question as to whether the Yankees were right or wrong to pass on Machado. I'll say this, the Yankees might have become better in the short term with Machado aboard, but they will not suffer because he is not. Moreover, failing to sign him will not come back to haunt the club.
It's difficult to take the stance that the Yankees would not have become a better team with Machado manning shortstop or third base. However, it's also cringeworthy to suggest that the Yankees are going to pay the consequences for passing on a 10-year, $300 million deal, knowing all too well how these deals can crumble long before they wind down.
The Yankees are loaded with talent, with many preseason prediction models placing the club at or near the top of the league in projected wins. Machado would have clearly added to that number, but the Yankees could not fathom adding a deal like his while preferring to keep its own core in the fold long-term.
Many fans don't want to hear any of this, believing the Yankees are rolling in revenue that would allow them to bump payroll well above the maximum luxury tax threshold and still turn a profit. That is probably true, but the Yankees have been extremely vocal about using said revenues in an effort to potentially sign extensions with players - some stars in their own right mind you - already on the roster.
The Yankees might believe that it can wrap up players like Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge, maybe even Gary Sanchez if he rebounds, to extensions in the near future. The club made good on one such deal when it signed Luis Severino to a four-year deal for $40 million with a $15 million option for a fifth year. Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres could be stars right now at bargain basement prices.
Another factor is that the Yankees maintain plenty of flexibility to add to their payroll this season, something that might have been more or less lost with the addition of Machado. Think of it this way, if the Yanks added Machado at $30 million AAV, they would shoot beyond the maximum luxury tax threshold.
Clubs vying for postseason berths are continuously adding players at the trade deadline, sometimes significantly increasing payroll in the process. Would the Yankees have been more reluctant to make necessary improvements on the roster, knowing that every dollar they took on in payroll was going to be factored at close to twice the cost?
Finally, it might be wise to look at the Yankees passing on Machado this way. Machado was never going to be the face of this franchise, so why consider paying him as such? There are far too many incidents in Machado's past that may have swayed the Yankees to contemplate this and contributed to the lukewarm feelings.
The Yankees have created a methodology for roster building that starts with young, cost-controlled stars and is supplemented by veteran deals which require shorter terms and possess less risk at the backend.
Despite being a generational talent, Machado's allure was never going to be enough to walk away from building the next core. In the end, the Yankees might be banking that such a collection will produce a great deal more than any one player.