Christian of NYYSportstalk wrote on Saturday:
Iâ€™d rather chase a guy like Britton to shut down games for me than a luxury like Machado.
â€” Christian (@Christian_NYYST) December 22, 2018
While I would agree that the Yankees need to pivot their attention to relief pitching now that they’ve courted Manny Machado, I don’t agree with Christian that acquiring Machado would be a luxury, whereas Zach Britton, relief pitcher extraordinaire, would be vital to the Yankees’ success in 2019.
Machado’s role with the Yankees would presumably include at the very least a stint at shortstop while Didi Gregorius is on the disabled list and beyond Gregorius’ return, a possible return to third base where he was a Platinum Glove winner in 2013.
The Yankees need to improve their infield defense from a year ago.Â While Machado had a poor season defensively at shortstop for the Orioles, he improved a bit with the Dodgers.
The optimal scenario would be to slide Machado over to third base once Gregorius returns, which of course leaves the question of where to play Miguel Anduar – or trade him at the deadline – but that’s fodder for another article, as are other possible acquisitions and scenarios to bolster the infield.
Ottavino put up stellar numbers in ’18: 2.43 ERA in 75 games with 6 saves, 112 strikeouts and a 0.991 WHIP. Â Britton, on the other hand, pitched to a 3.10 ERA in 41 games with 7 saves, 34 strikeouts and a 1.23 WHIP.
Although Ottavino’s career statistics are “uninspiring” (17-20, 3.68 ERA), according to MLB.com’s Mike Petriello, “OttavinoÂ was one of the five best regular relievers in the game in 2018.” Â For the Yankees and other teams vying for his services in ’19:
It’s not entirely about what he’s done; it’s about what teams think he might be able to do. That is, no team cares about Ottavino’s 4.56 ERA in 2012 at this point. What can he offer in ’19, ’20 and ’21?
Do not be surprised to see the Yankees acquire this up and coming star, who’s hails from Manhattan and grew up in Brooklyn. Â Ottavino has said about the Yankees:
â€œI grew up as a Yankee fan, and itâ€™s always been something that would be nice (to play there),â€ Ottavino said. â€œSo it would be cool…”
However, he went on to say that he wouldn’t allow this affinity to determine where he would ultimately choose to play. Â The Yankees need to step up and make Ottavino a Yankee.