Manny Machado: 2024? (Part 3)
If Manny Machado opts-out, the Yankees should stay far away. Let's talk about it.
Why the Yankees Should NOT Get Involved:
They Missed Their Shot:
Brian Cashman and Co. are the kings of the "sunk cost fallacy". They are very slow to adapt and they constantly try to persuade the team and Yankees fans alike that things are going to change going forward, while at the same time making no changes. We saw this firsthand with their insistence on playing Isiah Kiner-Falefa at shortstop last year when other options (see: Oswald Peraza) were readily available. I'm also convinced we're going to see it again this year with Josh Donaldson. At a point in time, the team has to be willing to cut their own losses. This rarely- if ever- happens with the Yankees. They will stick with Donaldson no matter what because he's the one making good money. Even if IKF, or DJ LeMahieu, or someone else is playing better and should get the starting role.
It bothers me to my core that the Yankees refuse to make change when better options are out there. It's what bothers me so much about how they've continued to miss on superstars in free agency and make repeated motions to not get superstars at the trade deadline. They're content in their ways. All of this is my way of saying that the Yankees are a stubborn franchise. They'll continue to dig their same trenches that they always do.
And, while I can be frustrated with the Yankees inability to not make moves, I also think sometimes the best move is to not make a move at all. That's because when the Yankees Front Office does surprise us, they often make mistakes in doing so. And, I believe signing Manny Machado would be one of those surprises that would be a mistake.
The Yankees missed their chance on getting Manny Machado during the 2018-2019 offseason. They have missed out on his prime age-26 through age-30 seasons. Getting those years is the reason why a team is willing to pay large contracts. They know the great performance now will outweigh the poor performance years in the future. Consider that missing out on Machado 5 years ago to be the sunk-cost. It would be a mistake to go in now after him. His best years are behind him and he's going to be asking for a lot. Unless the Yankees seriously think that Machado would be the final missing piece in bringing home a World Series, it's not worth the risk.
If the Yankees go after Machado next offseason, they are buying only into post-traditional-peak years. And, while Manny Machado is likely on a Hall of Fame trajectory, no player has ever been able to beat father time.* (*Without the use of performance enhancing drugs and/or steroids.)
While Manny Machado has been able to reshape his image with the San Diego Padres, there was a long time that he was being considered the Alex Rodriguez of the mid-2010's. And this was for good reason too. Manny Machado is a Florida-born player, drafted early in the first round out of high school, had some knee surgeries, and who has played a bunch of shortstop and third base at the MLB level. Though not the same circumstances, this background was much like A-Rod. He also had a very similar personality and aura around the league as a young hot-shot with an attitude problem. Those issues are more-or-less gone for Machado (as with A-Rod in his post-playing career), but there was a time where their stories lined up very well.
Now, to continue to make those connections, it would seem the obvious place for Machado to go would be to the New York Yankees. But, the reasons I bring up A-Rod are for the same reasons why I'd like to avoid Manny Machado. Let's go back to the 2007 offseason and consider what things looked like:
Alex Rodriguez opted-out of the final 3-years of this 10-Year/$252 Million deal that he had signed with the Texas Rangers during the 2000-2001 offseason. As we all know, he was later traded to the Yankees ahead of the 2004 season, and thus had spent some time in the Bronx before exercising this option. At the time, Alex Rodriguez was set to enter his age-32 season in 2008. In the 5 years leading up to his opt-out (2003-2007), Alex Rodriguez had won 3 MVP awards (2003, 2005, 2007), 3 Silver Sluggers, 1 Gold Glove, and was a 5-time All-Star. He also hit to a combined:
790 Games, .302/.401/.578/.980 Quadruple Slash (152 OPS+), 896 Hits, 370 Extra Base Hits, 220 Home Runs, 631 RBI's, 105 Stolen Bases (21 times caught), +39.2 bWAR
Let's quickly compare these numbers I took during my article on Monday from what Manny Machado has done in his last 4 seasons with the San Diego Padres. They are:
519 Games, .280/.352/.504/.855 Quadruple Slash (136 OPS+), 547 Hits, 215 Extra Base Hits, 108 Home Runs, 340 RBI's, 32 Stolen Bases (10 times caught), +17.6 bWAR
The way I see it, Alex Rodriguez was a better hitter across the board. He was also a better base-stealer. He also had more accolades. Manny Machado's peak doesn't even come close to what Alex Rodriguez did during his. Now, to be fair, there is the element of A-Rod using PED's which definitely helped him accumulate these numbers. Even so, let's add another projected 6.5 WAR to Machado for 2023 (to match the same number of years), and he's still behind A-Rod by over a whopping 15 (!) bWAR. This isn't even a contest.
That offseason he opted-out, the Yankees signed Alex Rodriguez to a new 10-Year/$275 Million contract. Over the length of this contract, A-Rod would only play 8 seasons- missing one due to a PED suspension and being released before his final year. He would be just a 3-time All-Star and win one Silver Slugger during this time. His stat line was also the following from 2008 through 2016:
880 Games, .269/.359/.486/.845 Quadruple Slash (123 OPS+), 865 Hits, 336 Extra Base Hits, 178 Home Runs, 583 RBI's, 64 Stolen Bases (12 times caught), +23.1 bWAR
Let's be honest. Those last few years with A-Rod were torture. Yes, he did bring a World Series to the Yankees in 2009. (Still their last...) However, that team also heavily relied on the Yankees to open up their wallets to also bring in Mark Teixeria, CC Sabathia, and AJ Burnett.
Are the Yankees really willing to relive that experience again? Are you?
The Yankees "Operating Budget":
The cruel reality of this all is that the Yankees are not willing to play ball. They're willing and able to put together a baseball team that will win many games, but they are not willing to play ball as they can.
Next offseason, the Yankees only have a few contracts they could get rid of: Josh Donaldson (who'd still cost $6 Million with his buy-out), IKF, and both Luis Severino and Frankie Montas (who they'd need to find two starting pitcher to replace them). While this opens up $44,250,000 from contracts, which would be enough to sign Machado at what I'm guessing to be a new 10-Year/$300 Million deal (or $30 Million per year), this would give the Yankees just $14.25 Million to find 2 starting pitchers.
Unless the Yankees really showcase that they are willing to spend money (or they are able to get rid of an albatross contract like Aaron Hicks or Giancarlo Stanton), the operating budget cannot manage with adding in Manny Machado. It just isn't feasible.
I always want the Yankees to bring in superstars. I always want them to get the best players and to spend all their money to win. I always want to see the best wearing pinstripes.
But, the Yankees have also forced me to care more about this team as a business instead of a sport. The Yankees are so focused on their bottom line (which is still insanely profitable, even if they passed the luxury tax by millions and millions of dollars) that they've taken the fun out of free agency and speculations.
Manny Machado would be a fit, right now. He should've been a Yankee, right now. The Yankees should've signed him 4 years ago. They didn't, and next offseason is not the time to fix the mistake, but to continue to move-on further.
My advice? Don't get your hopes up, because I am not going to get mine.