TAMPA – As by karmic choreography, the entire 2019 Yankees group took the field en masse for the first time on Tuesday, while it was publicly revealed that Manny Machado had reached an agreement with the Padres.
Symbolism was hard to ignore. Machado – despite all the expectations and exhortations of the off season – was not taking the field next to Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez. Simultaneously, on February 19, at noon, confirmation came that there would be no 11-hour transaction, Hail Mary.
Machado's deal is $ 300 million over 10 years. This is the largest free trade agreement ever, exceeding $ 275 million over 10 years. The Yanks once lavished Alex Rodriguez. Bryce Harper will probably beat that soon, and the $ 325 million 13-year contract signed by Giancarlo Stanton with the Marlins in 2015 before he reaches the title of independent player is no longer worth it.
The Yanks have never been part of Harper and have made it clear to Machado camp that they never approached 10 years or the $ 300 million mandate. Over the seasons, we will learn if this is wise. But in real time, I think the Yankees have made the right choice.
Look, there is a voracious segment of Yankees fans who think that the team should have all the big players. There is no memory of yesterday or interest for tomorrow – nor do we understand that the rules only allow lists of 25 people.
Last season, the Yanks incorporated Stanton's contract. The next season you can imagine that they may have to buy a starter such as Chris Sale or Justin Verlander, or need Nolan Arenado if Miguel Andujar does not take a defensive step. Shortly after, they will have to deal with the rising prices of Judge, Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, etc.
Based on these considerations, Hal Steinbrenner has set a seasonal opening payroll of $ 220 million (for the luxury tax). That's what baseball operations had to work with, regardless of the arguments that the owner should have created a higher level. The Yanks had predicted that Didi Gregorius (Tommy John's operation) would miss two or three months and did not think you were going to resolve an absence of two months with a record 10-year contract. In addition, they saw office fortification and rotation as the main problem.
It was a headache: addressing as many areas and facing as many contingencies for $ 220 million. Machado could be added for a problem that the Yanks might not have – especially if Andujar advance to third place – but then subtract one and possibly two from JA Happ, Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino and replace them with something d & # 39; below. The list as a whole would be worse.
So they took a risky bet after worshiping Troy Tulowitzki's training that he could catch up with a few months earlier than Gregorius, then added DJ LeMahieu to create more options / depth. To convince the players to come, the Yanks promised Tulowitzki to play the short stop and LeMahieu would play every day. Baseball is a small world in which the breaking of promises has consequences. So, once the Yanks have given their word, Machado's slim opportunity is gone – long before Tuesday's news comes around Steinbrenner Field.
"The big advantage of entering the off-season is the lineup and the team we had was really good," Aaron Judge said of the team that did not land Machado and Harper . "We won 100 games. So we did not feel like we had to go get too much big chunks. We were already ready. … We were in a position where we had to add one or two key guys and bring some guys back to help us overcome the bump. I feel that we have done that. I am excited about our team and excited about the ones we added. ''
Aaron Boone, Dellin Betances and Brett Gardner echoed this claim, each claiming its alignment was better than last year. Would it be even better with Machado? Of course, if Steinbrenner was willing to expand to a payroll of $ 240 million. In a world where the owner must also forecast the wages of 2020, 2021, etc., and the 10-year risk, Steinbrenner was not going there, not when he was preparing a team of 100 wins rather than recasting a no -candidate.
"I've never thought about Harper so much, just because the outside field is pretty heavy," Betances said. "Machado, I did it. I thought that there was a possibility. We knew that Didi was going to miss about half of the season. As a player, you want them all. You want the best of the best. At the same time, [general manager Brian] Cashman did a great job adding quality parts to our club, which was already very good. I like the way we are structured right now.
The club that took the field under a bright sun while the world was learning where Machado was heading really can win a championship. The Yankees have handled the puzzle well.