Manny Machado hasn’t had the same amounts of ink spilled on his free agency as Bryce Harper ... yet. Right now the environment seems to be that Harper’s decision will get all the attention first (since more teams also appear to be in on him) and the Machado decision will fall into place after that with all the rumors that go with it.
But we’ve still got some rumors to look at! The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, citing his colleague Jayson Stark, says teams like the Yankees are taking an extra hard look at Machado after his postseason antics made headlines. This includes asking about his personality and taking some extra time before committing to him as an option. Which other teams might be doing the same thing, and which of them are making the decision to move forward?
I’d be very happy for him to continue his postseason fun with any team he lands on, because it was entertaining, and every team that remotely needs a shortstop (or maybe a third baseman) should be going after Manny with all the enthusiasm they can muster. But every fanbase, clubhouse, and front office is different so not every market would be a seamless fit for his particular brand of stardom. But just to be clear, it’s a wonderful brand of stardom.
Just a few weeks after they attempted to convince everyone they didn’t want Harper or Machado, the Yankees are now doing their due diligence to see how much they actually want the latter. But would he be a fit in New York? Oh hell yeah.
Put aside a minute the fact that the Yankees have a shortstop already in Didi Gregorius, who will be supposedly returning from Tommy John surgery around the All-Star Break. The Yankees are a powerful enough organization that they could presumably talk Machado into moving back to third after Didi is healthy again if it means a few hundred million dollars and playing in pinstripes.
His actual competitive behavior, if that’s how we’ll put it, would be incredible in New York. I’m shaking in anticipation just thinking about the Post or Daily News back pages if he does something either amazing or terrible. The fans would eat his heel behavior up (see: Aaron Judge trolling the Red Sox in the playoffs) ... with one caveat. He has to be good. We saw this a little during his time with the Dodgers, but if he’s not producing at the plate like a 26-year old superstar should then his schtick could get a little tired. Which is something New York fans jump all over as soon as they see blood in the water. But otherwise this would be great.
Right now, the Cubs have a problem. They have a bunch of young stars who are about to get paid, and they have some assholes. But they don’t have young stars who can be entertaining assholes. Before going further, let’s make sure Chicago has room for Machado.
Yeah, they 100 percent have room for Machado. It would make sense for them from a talent perspective but his specific brand of trash talk punkery (that’s not a word but I’m pretending it’s a word) would also balance out the wholesome brotherly love act that Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant have going on. That’s not a ding, but the dichotomy between those two cheery guys and Machado’s I’m-smiling-but-I-will-also-turn-on-you-in-an-instant would at least be interesting.
Surprise, the White Sox are also located in Chicago, so the same hunch that Chicago would love his absurdity applies here. With some exceptions (hello, Yoan Moncada) what they don’t have is a big personality that can not only draw crowds if they have a great 2019 but also make them entertaining on a national scale. They have the money, since they’re apparently going after Harper as well, and they have the need.
So, yeah, this would also work for Machado. It might work even better than the Cubs, since the South Side team needs a boost far more than their crosstown rivals.
This one might not be a perfect fit, I’ll admit that. But the Phillies are already in on him so let’s take a look and ... oh my god Gabe Kapler trying to manage Manny Machado would be the funniest thing anyone has ever seen and it might actually lead to a disbanding of the organization. There are so many paths for this to go wrong and I want to see them all play out at once and have my body overload like I just took the pill from Limitless.
Could you imagine their personalities together? Attempting to agree on nutritional advice or workout strategies. Kapler having to answer for Machado’s lack of hustle in a September game against the Braves. It would be beautiful.
Plus, the city of Philadelphia would latch onto Machado like Eagles fans to questionable alcoholic beverages, and the rest of the NL East would be so thoroughly up to the task of booing him, so we should all be rooting for this outcome.