The Yankees announced last week shortstop Didi Gregorius needs Tommy John surgery and will miss the beginning of the 2019 season.
Naturally, talk quickly turned to Manny Machado, and if general manager Brian Cashman will make a run at the Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop in free agency.
But here’s one reason why Cashman should think twice.
The Dodgers are down, 2-1, in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series to the Milwaukee Brewers.
In the fourth inning of Game 2, a 4-3 Dodgers victory, Machado didn’t hustle down the line in a groundout to shortstop.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal asked Machado about what happened. Machado’s response should give all Yankees fans pause.
Rosenthal: Whenever I see you and ask you how you’re doing, you say, ‘I’m chillin.’ I know that’s your personality, that’s how you are. But there was a ball the other night, and you didn’t run hard. Manny, you know this, at this time of year people notice that kind of thing, so how would you explain it? What happened?
Machado: “Uhhh … (pause) … I’ve been thinking about it and it happens every time, there’s no excuse for it honestly. I’ve never given excuses for not running. I’m not hurt, there’s no excuse but I’ve been the same player … I’ve been doing this for eight years, I’m in The Show for eight years, I’ve done the same thing for eight years, I’ve been the same player. (Machado actually just completed his seventh season.)
“Obviously I’m not going to change, I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,’ and run down the line and slide to first base and … you know, whatever can happen. That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.
“Should I have run on that pitch? Yeah … but I didn’t and I gotta pay the consequences for it. It does look bad. It looks terrible. I look back at the video and I’m like, ‘Woah, what was I doing?’ You know, just the emotions of the game … I’m the type of player that has stayed in the zone, I’m playing and I’m just in the zone.
“On 3-0, I’m trying to drive one out. I hit a 100 mph groundball (actually 76 mph) right into the shift, right to the shortstop … before I even step out of the box, I look to the shortstop, he has the ball in his hands and I’m like, ‘I’m out.’ … I mean, what am I going to do?
“Should I have given it a little more effort? One hundred percent. (It’s) my fault like always, I mean that’s just my mentality when I’m in the game. (There are) things that you learn, things that you gotta change. I’ve tried changing it for eight years and I still can’t figure it out but, one of these days I will.”
Wow. Machado could receive a $400 million contract in free agency. Should the Yankees really pay that much for a guy who is not going to be “Johnny Hustle” because that’s not his “cup of tea”?