MLB: The Yankees need Harper and Machado

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 Machado they were reportedly “enamored” with the shortstop/3rd basemen.. Machado has stated that he will not make his decision of where he will sign until the new year. Consequently, it has been rumored that he’s made a choice.

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.

Gregorious had a successful 2018 campaign that ended with a stat line of a .268 batting average, 27 homers and .494 slugging percentage. With such a strong hitter missing for more than half the season,  Machado is needed to help fill not only an offensive void but a defensive one too.

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.

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.

  1. Brett Gardner LF (L)
  2. Aaron Judge RF
  3. Manny Machado SS
  4. Giancarlo Stanton DH
  5. Aaron Hicks CF (S)
  6. Miguel Andujar 3B
  7. Gary Sanchez C
  8. Luke Voit 1B
  9. 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 immediately, while playing an outfield position if necessary or sliding to first base. The lineup would be immensely stronger with Harper right in the middle to help break up the slew of righties.

Signing Harper and Machado would cost an arm and a leg but if you provide both guy’s an opt-out after five or six years it is unquestionably worth it. The Yankees have plenty of money to spend, as they haven’t truly opened up the checkbook since the 2015 offseason where guys like Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Masahiro Tanaka were signed.

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. It’s never a bad thing to have a surplus of superstars.

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