It’s been another active offseason for New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
Things got started early, with Cashman pulling the trigger in late November on a deal to acquire left-hander James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners for three prospects, including highly touted pitching prospect Justus Sheffield.
Cashman kicked things into high gear this week. On Friday, the Yankees signed free-agent second baseman D.J. LeMahieu to a two-year, $24 million deal and finalized a new three-year $39 million contract for left-handed reliever Zach Britton. In a minor move, the Yankees also signed free agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
But the Yankees are all about making a splash and there is still one player available that New York may really want to sign: Manny Machado.
There seem to be rumblings that with the recent additions, the Yankees are likely out of the Machado sweepstakes. The former Baltimore Orioles superstar is expecting to command something in the neighborhood of $300 million. Jack Curry of the YES Network noted on Twitter: “With the addition of LeMahieu, it’s another indication that the Yankees appear unlikely to sign Machado.”
According to the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Machado’s agent Dan Lozano would have to lower the asking price because “the Yankees’ party line is they will not pay him anywhere near $300 million.”
A highly lucrative contract doesn’t bode well for New York’s chances of signing the 26-year-old, who in December visited the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies. Phillies owner John Middleton told USA Today in November that he is looking to spend big in the offseason “and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it.”
One encouraging note about the Yankees’ pursuit of Machado is that he received the endorsement of Britton, his former Orioles teammate. In a conference call, Britton described Machado as a “special player” and a “good teammate.” The positive words are important considering Machado received some criticism for his uneven play and questionable attitude in his stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.
Also, Cashman may simply ignore conventional wisdom and just spend big to sign Machado. Didi Gregorius is recovering from Tommy John surgery and young star Miguel Andujar could move to first base, leaving an opening for Machado.
Meanwhile, Cashman may entertain offers for Sonny Gray. According to baseball insider Jon Heyman, the Cincinnati Reds are interested in the left-hander, while the Yankees are interested in Reds’ pitching prospects Tony Santillan, Vladimir Gutierrez and Keury Mella.