Manny Machado, his wife and his agent, Dan Lozano, dined with Yankees president Randy Levine, GM Brian Cashman, manager Aaron Boone and newly minted special adviser Carlos Beltran and his wife Wednesday night at a Manhattan restaurant after spending 90 minutes at Yankee Stadium earlier in the day.
Machado clearly wants to be a Yankee. The club has shown enough interest in that happening to the point that the very talented infielder was invited to see parts of the Stadium he didn’t as a visiting Oriole and meet staff members who would help with a possible transition from seven years in Baltimore and two months in LA to the Bronx.
Presumably, the Yankees paid the dinner bill. Now it will come down to what type of deal Machado will sign. Even before the 26-year-old became a free agent after the Red Sox dismantled Machado’s Dodgers in the World Series, there was talk of Machado commanding a 10-year contract worth at least $300 million. Now there is industry chatter that might be higher.
When discussing high-end talent and the Yankees, you are wise to avoid saying never. And they stayed under the luxury tax in 2018 to have money for this free-agent class. Yet they absorbed $230 million to get Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins last December and are looking at Didi Gregorius, Dellin Betances and Aaron Hicks becoming free agents following the 2019 season, when Aroldis Chapman can opt out of the final two seasons of a five-year deal worth $86 million that would have $30 million remaining.
At this point, it would be surprising if the Yankees commit 10 years and $300 million to Machado, who is among the top five players in the game but hurt himself in October, when he was accused of being a dirty player by the Brewers and stunningly admitted that hustling wasn’t part of his skill set.
There was a report that the Yankees want an answer from Machado soon, but an industry source believed the process will go into January. Machado visited the White Sox on Tuesday and had a meeting set up with the Phillies on Thursday.
Machado knows New York well, and his desire to become a Yankee is real. However, free agents generally go where the most money is available.
Free agent Patrick Corbin grew up near Syracuse a Yankees fan and wasn’t shy about someday pitching in the Bronx. Like Machado, the left-handed Corbin got the Stadium tour and the dinner. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild flew in from Florida to meet Corbin. The Yankees were willing to offer five years and around $100 million but never got that far because the Nationals secured Corbin with a six-year deal for a jaw-dropping $140 million.
If Machado is looking for the most money, the Phillies are the favorite because they have dollars burning holes in their pockets.
Before Corbin went to the Nationals, the Yankees acquired James Paxton from the Mariners. After Corbin shunned an opportunity to pitch for his boyhood team, the Yankees brought back J.A. Happ for two years at $34 million with an option that could stretch it to three years and $51 million.
As there were with starting pitching, there are options beyond Machado filling the void created by Gregorius requiring Tommy John surgery on the right (throwing) elbow. Of course, none of them are as talented as Machado, who hit a combined .297 with 37 homers, 107 RBIs and a .905 OPS in a combined 162 games for the Orioles and Dodgers.
The Yankees have shown interest in switch-hitting infielder Freddy Galvis and had a scout at Troy Tulowitzki’s workout at Long Beach State on Tuesday. Tulowitzki, 34, became a free agent when the Blue Jays released him despite owing him two years and a guaranteed $36 million. Due to injuries, Tulowitzki has been limited to 325 games in the past five seasons and didn’t play at all last year due to heel problems.
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