NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Manny Machado sweepstakes is about to heat up.
According to several reports, the superstar infielder will visit the Yankees on Wednesday and the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday.
Considered the co-jewel of this year’s free agent class, along with outfielder Bryce Harper, Machado has long been linked to the Yankees. Fans started drooling over the prospect of the 26-year-old slugger joining New York’s lineup since it became evident that he would not re-sign with Baltimore, the team with which he spent his first six MLB seasons. He started the 2018 season with the Orioles, but was traded before the deadline in July to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The belief is Machado, a career .282 hitter with 175 home runs and 513 RBIs, is looking for a 10-year deal worth north of $300 million, but reports have suggested the Yankees may not make that high of an offer. New York may not want to have such a massive contract on the books considering it traded for former NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton last winter, inheriting the remaining 10 years and around $250 million of the 13-year, $325 million deal the slugger accepted from the Miami Marlins back in 2014.
Still, many insiders believe Machado wants to play for the Yankees and may accept less to do so. General manager Brian Cashman made it clear recently that he wants to sign Machado and has been in regular contact with his agent, Dan Lozano.
Of course, Machado will need to talk to Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner about the “Johnny Hustle” comments he made during the postseason. He basically admitted that he’s not necessarily the player who will run out every ground ball. Machado tried to clarify his words during an interview with MLB.com last month.
“When I was asked that question, I was definitely on the defensive, and I was wrong to answer it the way that I did, because looking back, it doesn’t come across how I meant it,” Machado said. “For me, I was trying to talk about how I’m not the guy who is eye wash. There’s a difference between fake hustle for show and being someone who tries hard to win. I’ve always been the guy who does whatever he can to win for his team.”
The Yankees have not appeared in a World Series since winning the championship in 2009. Their lineup already features sluggers Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres and 2018 AL Rookie of the Year finalist Miguel Andujar. The addition of Machado would temporarily fill the void left by injured Didi Gregorius, who had Tommy John surgery right after the season ended and is not expected back until June at the earliest.
One of the best defensive infielders in the sport, Machado can play either shortstop or third base.
The Yankees are trying to solidify a team that won 100 games last season, but was knocked out of the AL Division Series in four games by the eventual world champion Boston Red Sox. So far, New York has bolstered its rotation with the trade for left-hander James Paxton and by agreeing to a two-year deal with lefty J.A. Happ. Cashman is also expected to revamp the bullpen and may try to add a left-handed bat.
For his part, Machado is no fan of the Red Sox. He was at the center of some heated incidents during the early part of the 2017 season after sliding hard into Dustin Pedroia at second base during an April game in Baltimore. The Red Sox never forgot about the play and threw at Machado more than once in games that followed. The situation prompted Machado to blast the Boston organization in an expletive-laced tirade.