The “Manny Machado to the Yankees” rumors have been running wild all offseason, but how would he actually perform in pinstripes?
Much has been made about the Yankees reported pursuit of star free agent Manny Machado. Initially, questions of whether the Yankees front office would even entertain the 26-year-old this offseason loomed. Shortly after owner Hal Steinbrenner proclaimed that GM Brian Cashman would need to sit down with Machado to address his controversial “Johnny-Hustle” comments, most of those questions were put to rest. It was clear the Yankees had at least some degree of interest.
With a variety of baseball insiders predicting the Yankees to land Machado, fans can only dream of what it would look like.
Of course, talented tech-savvy Yankee fans have eliminated some of the mystery already.
Is it time to bust out this image of Manny Machado liking an image of himself in a #Yankees uniform yet? #MLBWinterMeetings #MLBHotStove
— Trilogy_Sports (@trilogy_sports) December 12, 2018
Machado was apparently a fan of the doctored photo as well.
As for reality, we could be just three months away from seeing him in the real pinstripes & road greys. So let’s examine how Machado would perform in those classic Yankee uniforms IF signed this offseason.
Machado played six seasons in the AL East with the Baltimore Orioles before being traded to the Dodgers this past trade deadline. His comfort in the Yankees division is clearly no concern. Over the past three seasons, Machado has thrived in the division, racking up 41 homers, 104 RBIs, and a .802 OPS.
In addition to Machado being AL East tested, Machado has always been a thorn in the Yankees’ side, from an opponent standpoint. Just against the Yankees in the 2018 season, Machado hit .366 with six homers and 10 RBIs. Quite the audition.
In his career, Machado has hit 22 homers against the Yankees, his most against any other club. He couples that with 51 RBIs and a .515 slugging %. In the Yankees home park, Yankee Stadium, he’s batted .289 with eight home runs in just 45 games (Baseball Reference). That’s his second-highest total of homers at any ballpark, falling behind Camden Yards, which was his home park for six years.
He also has eight career home runs at two other ballparks. The first is Dodger Stadium, which was his home for the final three months of the 2018 season. It’s fair to say Machado would continue to produce in the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium and would take away a fearsome opponent in the same breath.
The second ballpark, much to the delight of Yankee fans, is Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox. Machado has had his fair share of run-ins with the Red Sox over the years, stemming from a collision with Dustin Pedroia at second base that Boston pitcher took exception to. The expected poor handling of the situation by the Red Sox led to a chip on Machado’s shoulder, pushing him to become a successful villain against the Red Sox.
With Machado’s most recent controversial play in the NLCS mixed with his history against the Sox, Machado received an all but warm welcome in the World Series from Beantown faithful. Machado’s Dodgers eventually lost the fall classic in a fairly uneventful five games to the Sox. What better way to avenge the loss than to join forces with the Red Sox archrivals in New York and terrorize them all season long?
Between his experience in the AL East, especially against the Red Sox, his yearning to overcome his newfound New England based kryptonite, his affirmation for the pinstripes and Yankee great Alex Rodriguez (Machado’s idol from his hometown of Miami), and the Yankees need for a middle infielder, this seems to be perfect match. Coming off a world series appearance and months in the spotlight after the trade, Machado has plenty of experience on a big stage.
Whether or not you believe he handled himself perfectly on that stage is for your interpretation, but undoubtedly, Machado shined on the field with his play, with a .825 OPS with 13 homers and 42 RBIs for Dodgers in the regular season, and 5 XBH in the playoffs including three dingers. He launched the Dodgers back into title contention and played a much better shortstop defensively after going to a team more hip to analytics. And the Yankees might eventually slide him back to third base, where he was a platinum glove winner.
The Yankees have the money to add the 26-year-old generational talent to a core of young budding stars, and many believe the outside controversy that might come with Machado would ultimately take pressure off and help the rest of the roster, specifically Giancarlo Stanton.
In all, Machado would undoubtedly make this Yankees team much improved on both ends. Perhaps the structure and tradition of the New York Yankees would prompt Machado to indulge in bit more classy play on the field, especially being that many insiders believe Machado has always wanted to play for the Yankees.
If the Yankees were to sign Machado, it certainly would be interesting to see how Yankee fans take to him when he’s on their side. Although, if he performs the way he has for 6+ years, and helps get this team over the hump– especially past the Red Sox– I’m sure fans in the Bronx will warm up to the new #13 rather quickly.