Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
PORT ST. LUCIE - In recent days, talk of Manny Machado and the Yankees would not quite die, but that had nothing to do with the team.
Right up until the end, when Machado joined the San Diego Padres on the megadeal he had always sought, some in the player's camp were urging him to consider a shorter-term deal with the Yankees. But word all throughout Machado's free agency was that he would chase the highest offer, and that's what ended up happening.
Here is the full history of the Yanks' very half-hearted pursuit of Machado: As reported last fall, the team came out of its annual pro scouting meetings lukewarm on the idea of signing him, and all but ruling out pursuing Bryce Harper.
The club's evaluators liked Machado as a player more than Harper, but had no appetite for another huge contract. They are already paying Giancarlo Stanton and Jacoby Ellsbury, and must soon pay Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and others.
When Machado visited New York in December, the Yanks were ready to talk money, but got the vibe from the player's camp that a short-term or creative deal was unlikely. The Yanks then signed Troy Tulowitzki and promised him first crack at shortstop, Machado's favorite position. That made a Machado signing unlikely; the subsequent signing of D.J. LeMehieu rendered it all but impossible.
Still, there was some level of communication between the sides over the past few months, but with the understanding that the Yanks would never be the high bidder. Machado and the Yankees never even entered into real negotiations.
With the Yankees shrugging at the Machado-to-Padres news, there is a silver lining for the Mets. Philadelphia went hard after Machado, and would have been dramatically improved had they signed him. Machado is a platinum-glove third baseman and one of the best hitters in baseball.
Now the Phillies are left to push for Harper, a former MVP whose inconsistency and defensive decline has scared off many suitors, including the Yankees. The Mets have been competing against Bryce Harper in the division all along, anyway.
And there's no guarantee that the Phillies will reel in Harper. Although their pursuit of him is serious, word around Harper is that he remains unsure if he wants to play in Philadelphia. The Phils, whose owner talked about spending "stupid money," must convince him if they want to save face.