Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Yankees Should Not Sign Manny Machado

I said it in my offseason plan, which you can read here, but I feel like I need to reiterate one of the points...

The Yankees should sign Bryce Harper instead of Manny Machado.

Let's face it, the Yankees are not going to sign both men. It isn't so much my belief that they don't want to spend that much money, it's that they don't need to. The Yankees scored more runs than all but one team in Major League Baseball, set a record for most team home runs in the history of the game, had the second highest OPS in the league, and were second in wRC+. And they accomplished all of that while Gary Sanchez played just 89 games (and not to the level we know he can), Aaron Judge missed 45 games, and Didi Gregorius missed 16 games.

But when a team has the chance to sign a player as good as Harper or Machado, and before those players may have even hit their primes, then you can't pass it up.

It's been said that when it comes to acquiring such a player you find room for the guy. Which makes total sense. I mean, the Yankees didn't need an outfielder last offseason, but when they had the chance to trade for the reigning National League Most Valuable Player they took it. But you have to face facts, and those facts are Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Miguel Andujar, and Didi Gregorius.

Those four players I just mentioned are not guys you just push around. We're not talking about replacing a "nice" player such as Brett Gardner. Stanton and Judge are already among the league's elite, Andujar had a rookie season that makes many think he could be on that level soon, and Gregorius is a very good player that's loved by the Yankees fanbase.

The issue now is that Didi is hurt, and will miss about half of this coming season. And once he returns Aaron Boone is going to want him back in the lineup. So let's say the Yankees sign Manny Machado, and Manny is the regular shortstop for the first half of the season. What happens when Didi returns?

Some say just move Andujar to first base. First of all, and I can't say this enough, changing positions is not easy. There are so many things that go into being a good first baseman, and they go well beyond just being able to field ground balls... which is the only thing we know Andujar can do well.

Take a look at this highlight video of Mark Teixeira from 2015...

credit: Dapose Sports

While we know Miguel could do all the offensive things you saw Teixeira do in that video, I don't think he pulls off a single one of those defensive plays without a whole lotta luck. And before you think of saying the infield was different then, you may want to take a closer look at the shortstop in that video. Not to mention that Chase Headley was supposedly a good to very good defender before coming to New York, as well.

And all of that doesn't take into account all the work we've seen Miguel put into his defense this offseason. A while ago Daniel pointed out how Adrian Beltre went from being a poor defender at third to being a very good one, and lo and behold who is helping Andujar with his defense now?

Therefore, I don't want to see the Yankees sign Manny Machado. While it may cost them a bit more, particularly in the length of the contract, I believe Cashman and Company should take aim at Bryce Harper.

Recently Cashman said that the team already has six outfielders, but let's be real. Three of those outfielders sure as hell should not get in the way of bringing Harper aboard.

Remember what I said earlier about making room for elite players like Bryce? Unlike bringing in Machado, who would shake things up quite a bit, acquiring Harper simply means there's less playing time for Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, and Jacoby Ellsbury. Hell, bringing in Harper likely means there's one less 40-man roster spot for one of those players (I think you know which one). And those are not bad things.

To be honest, part of me believes that Clint Frazier will go on to have a nice MLB career. I wouldn't be shocked if he was the starting left fielder for the Yanks on Opening Day. But that isn't going to stop me from signing Bryce freakin' Harper.

I like Brett Gardner, and appreciate everything he's done for the Yankees, but the fact is he's no better than an average player these days. Heck, just look at what happened last season, when the Yankees traded for Andrew McCutchen and he became the regular starter in left field instead of Gardy.

Oh, and why is Jacoby Ellsbury still on this team? Sorry to be mean, as Jacoby seems like a good guy and all, but there's no reason to keep him around.

Even without Bryce Harper, there's little to no room on the 2019 Yankees for Ellsbury.

Speaking of Ellsbury, not only do I believe the Yankees should sign Bryce Harper over Manny Machado for the reasons listed above, but in doing so Scott Boras may be willing to help convince Jacoby to waive his no-trade clause so the Yankees don't have to settle on a lesser deal for a particular team (see what happened to the Marlins when dealing Stanton last offseason). I've never been a sports agent, so maybe that idea is ridiculous for someone like Boras to read (he does read The Greedy Pinstripes, right?), but it's a logical thought.

I didn't even bring up the fact that Bryce is a left-handed hitter in a very right-hand heavy lineup. The guy may not fit perfectly on the team, but he fits a lot better than Machado does.

If Brian Cashman does sign Manny Machado over Bryce Harper I won't be mad. I will be disappointed, but not mad. Manny is an extremely talented player, and any team would be lucky to have him on their roster. I just don't like seeing Andujar work so hard, and with future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre, just to be moved to first base later this season and possibly beyond. The offensive upgrade over there will be very welcome, but otherwise, it's not what I believe is best.