The Yankees began the offseason with talk of modest goals and keeping under the luxury tax threshold, but not everyone believes that they are going to sit out the big time free agents this winter. One suggestion that they might be bluffing is a report from Jayson Stark of The Athletic — referenced in Ken Rosenthal’s Monday column — that the Yankees are doing “extensive” background work on Manny Machado.
While the Yankees research almost everyone available, Stark and Rosenthal think it notable that everyone from manager Aaron Boone, to scouts to members of the front-office have been making calls. Likely to check up on Machado’s character and attitude and personality, all of which came into greater focus during the postseason when Machado was involved in some arguably dirty play and when his hustle and work ethic was brought into question.
Personally, I think that stuff was overblown a bit — anything that occurs during the postseason tends to get a spotlight put on it — but you can’t fault anyone for double or triple checking given that Machado is going to represent a substantial financial investment.
Assuming he passes this battery of tests the baseball merits for Machado make all kinds of sense for the Yankees, who will be without injured shortstop Didi Gregorius for a good chunk of next season and who have a huge defensive question mark at third base in Miguel Andjuar. Machado’s bat would obviously be a huge addition to the Yankees’ already potent offensive attack, but given where he plays, he’d fit in particularly well in the Bronx.