Here we are. The offseason to end all offseasons. Perhaps the single most talented free agent class in the history of the game. True superstars are there on the board. And naturally, all eyes first turn to the New York Yankees.
The Bombers certainly have the deepest pockets in Major League Baseball. Brian Cashman can essentially pay any price for any player that wanders onto the market. However, the question is of course should he.
Thanks to Cashman’s wizardry the past year, the Yankees are well short of the luxury tax. In fact, New York only has a little short of $96 million dollars in guaranteed contracts on the books for 2019. Now you still need to throw in all the arbitration and pre-arbitration players, which includes all the young stars that are set to anchor the Yankee future.
However, there are no Yankees on the docket for arbitration this season, and if you estimate the average cost for pre-arbitration players like Aaron Judge, who earned all of $622,000 last season, the total amount on the books for Brian Cashman?
A little short of $111 million dollars. That would put the Yankees $86 million short of the luxury tax.
So yeah, Cashman has some money to toss around.
And there is one name everyone has become convinced is Bronx-bound: Manny Machado.
Machado was already a favorite to be targeted. Then the news broke Didi Gregorius was having Tommy John Surgery this offseason, meaning he will be unavailable for at least the first half of 2019. Suddenly there is a gaping hole at shortstop waiting to be filled.
So the natural conclusion is give Machado his big deal and put him in. But let’s slow things down.
Yes Gregorius will be out at least half of next year, when he does return will be coming off major surgery, has shown inconsistencies at the plate over his career, and is headed for free agency himself next offseason. But Gregorius is a fan favorite, and a left-handed bat. Machado would bring another right-handed bat to a lineup that come postseason only had two lefties and one switch hitter available, Gregorius and Brett Gardner the lefties and Aaron Hicks the switch hitter.
Short porch aside, having a left handed bat is vital to be able to prevent opposing managers from just pitching to matchups. Not to mention extending Gregorius would certainly come at a cheaper price than signing Machado.
Also let’s not forget the issues of hustling and questionable actions that Machado demonstrated in the Postseason.
Undoubtedly Machado is a generational talent, but is he really what the Yankees want? Right now, I think not.