We are now only days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training. Temperatures are thawing, at least in Florida and Arizona. Baseball is in the air.
Yet something is missing. This was supposed to be the big year. Massive contracts were due to be handed out. It was supposed to be the reason for last offseason’s silent winter. Everyone was holding out for this year.
Both players appear to be holding out for the $300 million deal, and for the other to sign so they can one-up him. But thus far no team has been willing to pay the price.
With the superstars still on the market, eyes remain turned to baseball’s biggest spender to perhaps make a move. But thus far, Brian Cashman has seemed disinterested in paying either piper.
Reports indicate Cashman has offered Machado a seven-year, $220 million deal, well short of the 10 years and $300 million Machado is looking for. Cashman has also made it clear he is not going to go much higher to get Machado, having already signed D.J. LeMahieu and Troy Tulowitzki to join an infield already crowded by Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and awaiting a midseason return from Didi Gregorius.
At present, it would appear there is neither room on the field or in the bank books for Machado.
As for Harper, there hasn’t even been a reported offer, despite the current face of the franchise, Aaron Judge, offering to play whatever position necessary to get the former MVP to the Bronx.
But the fact that Judge is offering to move illustrates the biggest problem in bringing in Harper. If the Yankee infield is a logjam, the outfield is a 50-car pileup. Besides Judge the Yankees still have Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner, plus Giancarlo Stanton, who is already spending most of his time as DH because of the blockade. And that is before you add in Clint Frazier and Jacoby Ellsbury, who are both set to return from injuries that kept them out virtually all of last year.
Basically the bottom line is while the Yankees may be one of the few teams with the funds to pay Machado or Harper, they don’t seem to believe the headache of finding a place to put them on the diamond is worth forking over the extra cash.