Analysis

The Yankees Must Avoid Signing Manny Machado

While we are just a few days away from the start of free agency, the Yankees should avoid signing Manny Machado and direct their interest elsewhere.

It’s no secret the Yankees have been saving up to spend big free agent money over the next few seasons. With players like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Patrick Corbin, and potentially Clayton Kershaw (if he opts out) available this year and Madison Bumgarner and Chris Sale free agents in 2020, the Yankees are poised to spend. However, Manny Machado is one player they should not pursue, for multiple reasons.

The Numbers

Offense

We’ve been hearing it all year and especially since Machado was traded to LA: Manny benefited from the small park in Baltimore. Machado is a career .295/.352/.534 hitter in Camden, which amounts to a respectable .888 OPS.

Very good for a superstar shortstop, however, these numbers only represent half of his career. Away from home, his numbers are merely average, amounting to a .761 OPS. Do the Yankees really want to pay a player like a superstar when he’s merely average half of his at-bats?

Defense

Machado was once considered an elite defensive third baseman, and indeed, this season he’s performed very well at the hot corner, though in limited innings. He was horrible at shortstop this year, however.

Although he did see an uptick when he moved to the Dodgers, some have suggested that the Orioles are so far behind the times with player positioning, that Machado performed so poorly at shortstop because the team had no idea how to position him. Although, that merely begs the question of whether these defensive statistics measure the quality of player, or how the team positions the player.

Manny Being Manny

Machado has had a penchant for getting into questionable situations, especially on the base paths. Until this postseason, however, many chalked it up to his competitiveness. And then he took the national stage.

Johnny Hustle

In Game One of the NLCS against the Brewers, Manny Machado failed to run out a ground ball in the hole between SS and 3B. Orlando Arcia fielded the ball expecting to have to hurry to throw out Manny, but when he realized he had time, he took his time and threw out Machado.

It was a stark example of what those of us watching Manny in the AL East have seen. Then, to make matters worse, Machado plainly stated he’s not going to be “Johnny Hustle.” You know what superstar I remember running out EVERY ground ball? Derek Jeter. Manny Machado is not a superstar. If he cannot think to run out a ground ball that he could potentially beat out IN THE PLAYOFFS, what will he do over the course of 162 games under the microscope in New York? Heck, what would he do in the World Series, baseball’s biggest stage?

Oh. I’m sure this would go over well in New York.

Dirty Player

In Game Four of the NLCS, Manny seemingly tried to…? What exactly was he trying to do here? He is running on the left side of the foul line, where Jesus Aguilar is firmly planted. It’s a routine ground ball and Aguilar is expecting to receive the throw at first base. Here’s the play from another angle:

Is Manny thinking he will purposefully collide with Aguilar? What exactly is the BASEBALL purpose of Machado dragging his foot across the bag? Not only is he putting Aguilar in danger, but he’s also putting himself in danger as well. The probably NL MVP summed the play up nicely:

This incident put the Dustin Pedroia injury into a new light for a lot of people. Maybe Manny really is trying to injure other players. After coming under such scrutiny in the NLCS, where he performed very well at the plate, you would think Manny would not attempt another stunt like this in the World Series. You would be wrong.

Not only did Machado blow a bubble while running to first base, but he thought it prudent to step on Pearce’s foot, once again putting his opponent and himself in danger of injury. Machado’s dirty play and lack of hustle have reached meme status.

Imagine what this type of distraction does to a clubhouse.

It’s interesting to look back to the beginning of the season when almost everyone expected Manny to receive huge payday going into 2019. At his age and ability, surely Machado would demand a contract similar to Giancarlo Stanton’s.

However, for even casual fans of the sport, Machado’s postseason demeanor has most likely seriously hurt his value.

We can only hope the Yankees don’t sign this player, both because of his statistical track record and his attitude. Bryce Harper would be a much better fit if the Yankees can land him.

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