Free-agent slugger Manny Machado did himself no favors during the 2018 MLB playoffs. He repeatedly displayed poor judgment and a questionable work ethic during the Los Angeles’ Dodgers run to the World Series.
Despite his transgressions, the Yankees are expected to consider signing Machado, especially with shortstop Didi Gregorius out after having Tommy John surgery.
Those close to Machado say he wants to play for the Yankees, and part of that is because of Alex Rodriguez, who is an adviser to team ownership.
Machado grew up idolizing Rodriguez, whose opinion will carry weight during the offseason. It looks like Rodriguez is giving Machado two thumbs up, per
Rodriguez, who was in London on Monday as part of MLB’s promotional tour for next year’s series between the Yankees and the Red Sox at London Stadium, said he hasn’t been approached by the Yanks or Machado. But Rodriguez did endorse Machado’s talent and character, according to the New York Post.
“I haven’t had a chance to talk to [owner] Hal [Steinbrenner] or [GM Brian] Cashman, but I know ownership is as hungry as ever to put a great product and winner on the field,” Rodriguez said. “And he’s a great player.
“No one has asked me for advice. I do wish Manny well. He’s a fine young man. It’s a fun part of his career. I would just tell him to eliminate the white noise and focus on the game.”
“Any time you’re going after a player, due diligence is a part of it,” Rodriguez said. “He’s a great player and he’s young and has played well in the AL East. But Hal and Cashman would be right to do a deep dive on any player, whether it’s someone making the minimum [salary] or if it’s a big free agent like Manny.”
As a refresher, here’s a quick rundown of Machado’s postseason problems:
- In the fourth inning of Game 2 of the National League Championship Series against the Milwaukee Brewers, Machado didn’t hustle down the linein a groundout to shortstop, then told The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, “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.”
- In the 10th inning of Game 4 of the NLCS, Machado caught the back leg of Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar while running out a ground ball. That prompted Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich to say, “It was a dirty play by a dirty player.” MLB fined Machado an undisclosed amount.
- Following Game 2 of the World Series at Fenway Park in Boston, Bleacher Reportposted a story which said Machado was caught trying to steal signs.
- In Game 3 of the World Series, Machado dogged it out of the batter’s boxon a drive to left field, thinking he had a home run. But the ball hit the outfield wall and Machado was held to a single.
- In Game 4 of the World Series, Machado appeared to spike Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce.