Off Seasons like 2018 don’t come around very often, especially with two stars hitting the market at the age of 26. The giants of this year’s free agent market, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are both poised for enormous payouts within the coming weeks.
Even before this offseason, it had been rumored that Harper and Machado had expressed interest in playing in New York. According to NY Post’s Joel Sherman, both Harper and Machado were not impressed by the Phillies offers (who have money to spend) and would prefer New York.
Filling a Need
After the Yankees meeting with
If the rumors are true then the Yanks may have filled their hole at shortstop. With Didi Gregorius out until at least mid-summer of 2019, the team will be without one of their best hitters.
Chemistry in the Clubhouse
Some may argue that Machado could possibly alter or ruin the Yankees clubhouse chemistry. However, this likely won’t be the case as there is a history of the Yankees and Machado.
In March, Aaron Judge attempted to do some of his own recruiting to bring Machado to the Big Apple. Machado will unquestionably have some growing up to do before he arrives in New York, but a big pay-day and a change of scenery could help that. It also appears any questions regarding his personality were addressed and put to bed by Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman.
The Case for Harper
The Yankees have expressed little interest in Harper so far this off-season, but don’t let that fool you. Back in 2008 when the Yankees had stated that they didn’t have interest in former first baseman Mark Teixeira, they later inked him to an 8 year, $180 million deal.
Harper had made it known earlier during 2018 that he would be open to a potential position change, to first base. This obviously was directed at the Yankees who have struggled mightily in that position since Teixeira left back in 2016. Luke Voit provided a perfect flash in the pan fix this season when Greg Bird was injured and continued to struggle in pinstripes.
Bryce Harper has “the skill to certainly adapt to first base,” says agent Scott Boras. With Didi Gregorius recovering from Tommy John surgery, could this be the next Yankees infield? https://t.co/5LXU9Ijo2u pic.twitter.com/MRz0uPnmdL— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 6, 2018
While Voit was outstanding in the second half and the playoffs, he is not the permanent solution. Harper is a phenomenal athlete and could swiftly make the transition from right field to first base if the team goes that route. As it currently stands the Yankees lineup is extremely right-handed without a true left-handed power bat that is typically a staple in a Yankees lineup. A potential lineup could go as follows.
- Brett Gardner LF (L)
- Aaron Judge RF
- Manny Machado SS
- Giancarlo Stanton DH
- Aaron Hicks CF (S)
- Miguel Andujar 3B
- Gary Sanchez C
- Luke Voit 1B
- Gleyber Torres 2B
The only lefty in the lineup in 2019, is Brett Gardner and he severely declined this past season. If Gardner doesn’t produce, Clint Frazier could be a possible replacement to see more playing time, leaving not a single lefty in the lineup.
Harper can provide that much-needed lefty bat in the lineup
According to a source, Carlos Beltran is expected to join the Yankees as a special advisor to GM Brian Cashman. Beltran was repped by Dan Lozano of MVP Sports Group, who also reps Manny Machado. Will be interesting to see if Beltran is part of the Machado recruiting process.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 18, 2018
Signing Harper and Machado would cost an arm and a leg but if you provide both
With such a righty dominated lineup Harper is the perfect man for the job to mash righties for years to come and Machado will easily fill Didi’s hole and can eventually slide over to third