Usually, Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings belong to the New York Yankees, who have been known to wheel and deal this time of year. Just look at last year when they came away with Giancarlo Stanton.
They’re expected to be active in Las Vegas this year once again as the festivities began on Monday and sure enough, they continue to be major players in the Manny Machado sweepstakes.
The All-Star shortstop is one of the league’s top free agents alongside Bryce Harper, who has also been linked with the Yankees this offseason. The need for Machado might be greater though considering New York is without starting shortstop Didi Gregorius, who underwent Tommy John surgery in October and is expected to miss a majority of the 2019 season.
Machado couldn’t have posted a better year heading into free agency as well, mashing 37 home runs with a career-high 107 RBI and .367 on-base percentage with the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers. Yet questions about his commitment to the game after showing a lack of hustle in the postseason could very well have hurt his payday.
After all, the notion over the summer that both he and Harper would be making over $300 million on their next contracts, whomever that might be with.
While the Yankees are still interested, they seem hesitant to commit that much money to him.
Jon Heyman of Fancred reported that they will meet with Machado at the Winter Meetings but are unwilling to pay that $300 million price tag.
If the market slows for Machado and the right situation presents itself, the Yankees could pick him up for a discounted price. However, Heyman notes that the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox are expected to heavily pursue the 26-year-old. That most likely will result in a bidding war that the Yankees will want no part of.
New York still has to pick up one more quality arm for the starting rotation and overpaying for Machado would throw a sizeable wrench into those plans.
Had the shortstop’s postseason been less troubled, the Yankees’ outlook on him might have been much different. But adding another huge contract that could come with some character issues to pair with Stanton’s albatross of a deal could be a dangerous game to play in the Bronx.