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Manny Machado discusses free agency process, controversial comments on hustling

Manny Machado has been a fixture in MLB headlines from the moment he landed in Los Angeles at the deadline last year, and until his free agency destiny is fulfilled, he’ll likely remain in the headlines.

On Wednesday, in an interview with MLB Mark Feinsand, Machado discussed his offseason, his controversial comments regarding hustling, as well as what he’s looking for from a potential free agent suitor.

“At the end of the day, I’ll consider every situation carefully,” Machado said of the free agency frenzy surrounding him.

“I definitely want to be in a place where I can win long term and be a part of World Series teams for many years to come. It’s way too early to tell what else might play a part, but I’m excited and looking forward to it.”

A week ago to the day, Michael Kay said flat-out that, “the Yankees are in, in a serious way, on Manny Machado,” and just a day after that, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman addressed the ongoing Machado-to-the-Yankees rumors.

“I’ve seen [Machado] from afar do a lot of amazing things,” said Cashman. “Whether that takes him to the Bronx or somewhere else remains to be seen.”

It has been a years-long process for the Yankees to get to this point in the 2018-19 offseason. Back in 2016, the organization decided it would refocus efforts on the longterm future, which saw the team deal away several veteran assets that in return shaped the Yankees farm system into one of the best in baseball.

Now, with their payroll under the luxury tax threshold, will the Yankees cash in on their financial discipline and lavish Machado with a nine-figure contract offer for the next decade? Or will they stick to the script and stay thrifty, or perhaps save those funds for next offseason? Only time will tell.

There’s one major thing Machado hopes to change this winter, other than his team uniform: The perception of him as someone who doesn’t hustle.

“I was trying to talk about how I’m not the guy who is eye wash,” Machado told Feinsand. “There’s a difference between fake hustle for show and being someone who tries hard to win. I’ve always been the guy who does whatever he can to win for his team.”

Machado might be accused of an attempt at damage control after his postseason interview with Ken Rosenthal which produced the original “Johnny Hustle” comments, but as his former Orioles manager Buck Showalter confirmed last week, Manny just wants to win.

“He’s as talented a player as I’ve ever had,” Showalter told Michael Kay. “He’s a guy that plays every day.”

“I’ve prepared every offseason with the goal to be in the lineup every single day,” Machado told Feinsand. “It’s not a coincidence; for me, it’s a commitment. I’ve always taken that very seriously. Whatever I can do to help my team win. To me, it’s not a grind. It’s an honor to play every day. I’ve played 162 before, and I know I will again.”

Fans will likely be debating Machado’s comments, talent and commitment to hustle for the rest of his career, but where that career will take him next, be it New York City, Los Angeles or somewhere in between, Manny will stick to being Manny.

 

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