Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said last week it would be "essential" for free agent Manny Machado to explain his anti-hustling comments if the Yanks chose to pursue him.
Machado may be a back-burner item for the Yankees at the moment. But they have sought out background information on him, and SNY's Andy Martino has reported the Yanks are "ready to pounce" if Machado's market doesn't get out of hand.
And if they pursue him, you can add Reggie Jackson to those in Yankee-land who would want Machado to explain himself.
"I can't understand a player saying that. That ain't going to play here," Jackson told Wallace Matthews of the New York Daily News. "I was a pretty good player and I ran hard every single at-bat. It takes talent to run fast, but it doesn't take talent to run hard. Effort is the least we can ask of ourselves."
Jackson also compared Machado to Robinson Cano, adding that he talked to Joe Girardi about Cano's lack of hustle, but it didn't go any further. The team then allowed Cano to leave for the Mariners when he hit free agency.
"They respected the fact that he played every day," Jackson said. "They were very tolerant of Robbie not running out ground balls."
The 26-year-old Machado, who is expected to seek a deal that could eclipse $300 million over 10 years, said during the postseason that he would never be "Johnny Hustle."
"I'm not going to change,'' Machado said. "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.''
While he was getting blowback for not hustling at times and the comments he made about it, Machado was also catching deserved flak for playing dirty in the postseason. Those plays included a dirty slide at second base and stepping on the first baseman's ankle while running down the line.