The New York Yankees had to suffer and watch the Boston Red Sox win another World Series less than two months ago, made even more painful by the fact that they were eliminated in the Divisional Round by their hated rivals. Sitting and having to watch Boston celebrate is one thing, but sitting back and doing nothing in retaliation is not the New York way. Sure, the Yankees swung a big trade with the Seattle Mariners to acquire starting pitcher James Paxton, and they also brought back J.A. Happ, who pitched quite well for New York after having been acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays, but if anyone thinks that the team is content going into 2019, then you haven’t been paying attention to this rivarlry.
The yankees are not done wheeling and dealing. Not even close. Whether they are ready to admit it or not, the current roster is still not good enough to defeat the Red Sox in a five or seven games series. It is not opinion. It is a matter of fact. The Yankees struggled to manufacture runs in the postseason, and the starting rotation is still a question mark, at best. That is why it appears to be a foregone conclusion that New York is going to make a major splash within the next week or two. Or three. Either way, it is coming.
So, what does that mean? Bryce Harper? Doubtful. Brian Cashman was not just blowing smoke when he rattled off the Yankees’ outfielders like the fans in the bleachers shouting out roll call at the start of each game. Harper is not likely to join the Yankees this offseason. As feared a hitter as he is, the fit just does not seem to be there, at least not right now.
That leads me to the “Free Agent Prize 1A,” which is well thought to be Manny Machado. How many years have the Yankees been linked to Machado for now? It seems like since he broke out with the Baltimore Orioles years ago, once it was realized that he would not be signing a long-term deal to remain with the team. So, what exactly is blocking this from finally happening?
The short answer? Nothing insurmountable.
Money? Please. The Yankees have done well to cut payroll over the past few years. They are ready to spend. What about the incumbent starting third baseman in the Bronx, Miguel Andujar, who is coming off of a phenomenal rookie campaign? It is already a poorly-kept secret that the team is less than enamored with his defense, and would be more than happy to part with him, in the right deal. Well, Machado could play third base, or start out at shortstop, until Didi Gregorious is ready to return at some point this season. Andujar could fetch a decent haul, whether for more prospects to replenish the system after dealing for Paxton, or for a starting pitcher who could join the rotation now, especially after the team also likely jettisons Sonny Gray.
The bottom line is that this is happening. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But, soon. Machado will sign with the Yankees, and Andujar will be used to help improve other areas of the roster. Mark it down.