The 2018 World Series ended on Sunday night, as the Boston Red Sox dispatched the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games to claim their fourth championship since 2004. The Red Sox’s fiercest rivals, the New York Yankees, were paying attention. In fact, the Yankees have been paying attention all postseason — to the extent that they have reportedly grown “lukewarm” to the idea of signing free-agent infielder Manny Machado due to his October antics.
That’s the word per SNY’s Andy Martino. Here’s the juice:
But as the team watched this postseason, and weighed it against what they already feared about Machado — that he didn’t always run out ground balls, that opponents thought he was a dirty player — they became even more wary of committing to him for the better part of a decade.
Martino adds that the Yankees still intend to monitor the Machado market. They’re just less inclined to go all-out for him, the way they did for CC Sabathia a decade ago.
Machado was involved in a handful of controversies throughout the month. He failed to hustle on a ground ball, and later watched a “home run” that ended up a long single; he explained the earlier act in an interview by stating that he’s not “Johnny Hustle”; he stepped on a pair of first basemen (though at least one of those appeared unintentional); and he made a few questionable slides. (That Machado once threw his at bat an opponent always seems to go unmentioned when listing his sins.)
The Yankees aren’t the only team who seem to be having second thoughts about committing long-term to Machado. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported last week the Dodgers have “seen the warts and blemishes that have been exposed underneath the infielder’s worldly talent” and are unlikely to re-sign him this winter. The Philadelphia Phillies, the oddsmakers’ favorite to land Machado, were also said to have reservations given their fan base’s predilections.
Will any of this matter? Probably not.
Machado is a 26-year-old who can at least fake it at shortstop. He just posted a 146 OPS+ — the best mark of his career — and he’s homered 30-plus times four years running. Would teams find him more desirable if he ran harder or was viewed as a clean player? Sure. Are they going to pass on an MVP-caliber talent because of the aforementioned flaws? Nah. Machado is going to get paid. And it might just be by the Yankees or Phillies or one of these other teams who are perhaps not-so-secretly hoping that Machado’s October causes his price to drop a little.
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