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The Wrong Reason To Acquire Manny Machado

I’ve read about a dozen articles stating that the injury to Didi Gregorius means that the Yankees should acquire Manny Machado. There may be a good reason to acquire Manny Machado but this is not it. Agreeing to spend over $300 million for a player so that you don’t lose an additional 1-2 games in 2019 while your shortstop recovers from surgery is beyond preposterous.

My personal opinion is that the Yankees should not and will not acquire Machado. Here are the reasons:

Money. The Yankees have about $50 million to spend and they need 2 starting pitchers and likely another reliever (Robertson and Britton are free agents). A free agent starting pitcher like Corbin or Dallas Keuchel will cost them $20-$25 million. Two pitchers would be $40-$50 million. Even a costly trade for James Paxton would cost the Yankees about $9 million in annual salary.

If the Yankees sign Machado for $30 million per year and only have $20 million to spend, there are no realistic trade options that would enable them to get 2 front end starters even if they trade the now expendable Miguel Andujar.

Miguel Andújar was a 2.7 win above replacement player in his rookie season. That includes his notoriously wretched defense. The Yankees already have a player who can produce at at least a league average level and who could certainly improve over his 2018 performance. He will be under team control for five years at an average cost of well under ten million dollars per year.

Machado is almost certainly a third baseman. For the prime of his career (roughly another 5 years) he will be earning at least twenty million dollars a year more than Andújar. Is that extra twenty million plus per year really the best use of Yankee payroll to get another 3 wins per year? Let’s recall that in 2024 when Andújar will be a free agent Machado will be entering the last five years of his projected ten year contract and will be in decline.

We’ve seen this movie before. The last years of these 8-10 year contracts can be absolutely brutal. Your team is spending $20-$30 million per year for a replacement level player who is often injured. I’m personally counting the days until Ellsbury is gone (2 more years).

The only way it makes sense for the Yankees to break the bank for Machado is if they think that Andújar is a lost cause at third because of his awful defense. They have to believe that he can’t improve from awful to merely below average. In that case, you could sign Machado and either move Andújar to first or trade him for a starter. The Yankees will likely need to trade him because they won’t be able to afford a solid starter who is a free agent.

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