Update (9:18 PM ET): Judge’s comments could’ve been construed as tampering, so Major League Baseball had a word with the Yankees.
The Yankees and Orioles matched up for a Grapefruit League game on Monday, which gave reigning American League Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge a chance to make a pitch to Orioles shortstop Manny Machado, who can become a free agent after the season.
Per Mike Mazzeo of the New York Post, Judge said, “Adding him to our lineup that we’ve already got would be something special. I told him he’d look good in pinstripes.” Judge added, “He just kind of laughed it off and didn’t really say much. We talked a little bit, and I just asked him how his offseason was, how everything was going. I asked him how he liked short and said, ‘You’d look pretty good in pinstripes, too.'”
Judge continued to praise Machado, saying, “He’s one heck of a player, and he’s been doing it for quite a few years at the best level. He’s one of the best — if not the best — defensive third basemen in the game, and now he’s probably going to be one of the best defensive shortstops. With what he brings on the offensive side of it, he’s the complete package. He’s going to be a happy man when it comes to free agency, and picking where he wants to go.”
Along with another full season of Judge, who hit an AL-high 52 home runs last season, the Yankees acquired Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins during the offseason. Stanton led all of baseball with 59 home runs and 132 RBI in 2017. Machado, meanwhile, hit .259/.310/.471 with 33 home runs and 95 RBI across 156 games. Adding Machado (and/or Bryce Harper) to that lineup would likely create a historically great offense.
Right now, the Yankees have Didi Gregorius handling shortstop with Brandon Drury and Neil Walker poised to spend time at the hot corner. Prospect Miguel Andujar is believed to be the team’s third baseman of the future.