Thursday, January 11, 2018

My Thoughts On Trading For Manny Machado

What do you think when you see this batting lineup?

1. Brett Gardner LF
2. Aaron Judge RF
3. Manny Machado 3B
4. Giancarlo Stanton DH
5. Gary Sanchez C
6. Didi Gregorius SS
7. Greg Bird 1B
8. Aaron Hicks CF
9. Gleyber Torres 2B

Do you think about the 2018 Yankees taking down the team home run total record, the one currently held 1997 Seattle Mariners? Do you think about leading the league in runs scored... and by quite a bit? Do you think about opposing pitchers shaking in their cleats at facing that juggernaut?

Because I do.

That lineup would tear apart every single pitching staff in baseball. There's a very strong chance that four of those nine start the 2018 All Star Game. And three of those players could finish in the top five of American League Most Valuable Player voting.

And you know what? I don't want it.

Well, I should clarify that... I don't want that in 2018. See, a year from now I'm going to be all aboard the "Sign Manny Machado" train. But trading for Machado is not something I would do.

To start, acquiring Machado via trade would cost a lot in prospects. The Yankees were able to get Stanton for cheap due to the huge amount of money remaining on Giancarlo's contract, but that's not true with Machado. Not that Manny's going to make peanuts in arbitration this season (MLB Trade Rumors projects Manny will make $17.3 million), but it's a far cry from the $295 million remaining on Stanton's deal (which includes the buyout of a team option for 2028). Machado's large salary this season may reduce his price some, but he'd likely cost some big prospects such as Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, Chance Adams, and more.

Speaking of those big prospects that would have to be dealt to Baltimore to acquire Machado, do you really want them facing the Yankees? I don't mean to say the Orioles would be a threat to the Yankees, but just the idea of facing Chance Adams, while Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar bat against us, is a bit unsettling.

Secondly, while that lineup I posted to start this article is incredible, the Yankees offense is already going to be ridiculous this season. The Steamer projections (provided by Fangraphs) have the Yankees hitting 249 home runs this season, and seeing as how Judge is predicted to only hit 37, that prediction may be a little low. So while adding Manny Machado to the lineup would make any Yankees fan salivate, it's not at all necessary. Why trade such great prospects for a total luxury?

Not only would the Yankees lose great prospects in a trade for Machado, but there's no guarantee Manny would be a Yankee beyond 2018. I can't imagine Machado would pass up free agency, especially when another large payroll team in the Dodgers is primed to spend next offseason as well. I suppose if the Yankees are able to negotiate an extension per the terms of the trade then I could live with it, but this type of acquisition should be about the future... not just 2018.

And let's not forget that dealing away some of those big prospects for Machado could just open up questions about other positions in the future. For example, if the Yankees trade Clint Frazier as part of the deal, then what happens with left field in 2019? I've come to like the idea of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton filling the right field and designated hitter roles regularly, as I'm not convinced either man could handle left field well. Add in the fact that Brett Gardner will be a free agent, and turning 35 in August, I think his time in New York will come to an end after this year. Wouldn't it be great to have Clint Frazier around to step into that role? And who knows what the rotation may need, meaning having guys like Chance Adams that could step in could be huge.

Look, scoring runs is not going to be a problem for the 2018 Yankees. So why spend so big just to score a few more? On that note, the starting rotation as is looks pretty darn good to me, so why spend big on that? I know as well as anybody that this offseason has been incredibly boring, but let's not allow our desire for something to happen cloud our judgement.

The 2018 New York Yankees are legit contenders to win the World Series. The future of this team is blindingly bright. And that might lead to a boring offseason, and boring offseasons to come. But it's not about what happens between the last game of the World Series and Opening Day... it's about what happens between Opening Day and the last game of the World Series.