Throughout the 2018 MLB Season, we have seen just how good the New York Yankees’ offense can be. They are currently third in runs scored, fifth in On-Base Percentage, tied for first (with Boston) in Slugging Percentage, and set a record for the most home runs by a team before the All-Star Break with 154, 24 home runs ahead of the second place Red Sox in that category. The offensive categories where the Yankees fall back more to the middle of the pack include hits (12th), and batting average (9th). It is no secret that the Yankees rely on the long-ball, and that’s great and produces plenty of runs. But, when we look at their main competitors in the American League like the Houston Astros and Red Sox, they hit a lot of homers but also get plenty more base hits. While the Yankees, as aforementioned, are 12th in hits, the Red Sox and Houston Astros are one and two in that category, respectively.
So, while many fans are clamoring that adding Machado would be unnecessary, due to the fact that the Yankees are apparently fine offensively and need starting pitching and a lefty reliever, adding Machado might just propel the Yankees into the very forefront of all of the offenses in the MLB. When you think about the importance of base hitting in the playoffs, as opposed to home runs which can be harder to do against teams’ best arms in the playoffs, a Yankees trade for Manny Machado seems to make a lot more sense. Though home runs are more “valuable” in the playoffs, or in the game in general, it’s still important to have a team that can flat out hit in October, or else teams will look around and see that they lost a series because they did not put the ball in play or get runners on. In October, it’s all about making the other team sweat, and base knocks and getting on-base are a big part of that. I am not saying that adding Machado will thrust them to the top of the league in batting average, that’d be nearly impossible at this point, but I am saying that a steady and elite bat like his, in comparison to Andujar’s (who by no means is an unsteady bat), balances the lineup in the way that a hitter like Andujar does not.
That is why I think it makes complete sense for the Yankees to go after Manny Machado, even if Miguel Andujar is having a great season. It would be an upgrade both offensively and defensively. Not to mention, the incalculable intimidation factor comes into play here too. Machado, Judge, and Stanton all in the same lineup? Wow. Machado is 12th in the league in batting average, 29th in OBP, 12th in SLG, 13th in wOBA, 13th in wRC+, and 13th in offensive WAR and 15th in WAR overall. Miguel Andujar, the current third baseman for the Yankees, is nowhere near Machado in any of these categories. Machado also becomes even more valuable when pinned as a third baseman. This season, as a shortstop, Machado has a -3.6 Def WAR. In 2016, as an everyday third baseman, he had a 12.3 Def WAR, elite level defensive talent. Andujar has a -6.3 Def WAR at third base and -6.8 UZR rating. At the end of the day, I do not need to convince you that Machado is a clear upgrade over Andujar.
What becomes tougher to sell is that Machado is actually worth giving up prospects for 40% of a season’s worth of him. The Yankees likely will have to trade from one of their biggest areas of need in starting pitching, and the offense is already one of the best in the league. At the end of the day, Machado probably adds just about 2-4 more wins than Andujar would for the remainder of the year, based on where both of their WAR stats sit right now. Nonetheless, those 2-4 games could be the difference between a wild-card game and an AL East Division crown. But, who’s to say that the Yankees can’t do that without Machado, or just with a bolstered starting rotation? In the end, it comes down to what Brian Cashman sees as the best deal that they can make to increase their chances of winning a championship. Plus, maybe the Yankees think that, if Machado wins a World Series in New York, that he will want to re-sign, and then they could trade Andujar for some pitching pieces, as there will be plenty of teams with interest in him. I guess, for now, all we can do is wait and see.