The New York Yankees are still very much in the race for superstar free agent Manny Machado’s contract, but the bottom line is that he will likely play third-base wherever he goes, despite an obvious need at shortstop in New York.
The Yankees recently signed Troy Tulowitzki as an insurance piece on a veteran minimum deal to help solidify the infield with the absence of Didi Gregorius.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman commented on the signing of Tulo and if it would influence the hunt for Machado:
“I can’t say what it would take us out of, but we’re going into this with a commitment level to try Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop.”
Brian Cashman, on if Troy Tulowitzki takes them out of the Manny Machado hunt:
"I can't say what it would take us out of, but we're going into this with a commitment level to try Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop."
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) January 4, 2019
Personally, I think this is far more about the Yankees having a stop-gap until Didi returns and nothing more. Placing Machado at short would be ill-advised, simply because the Bombers already have a defensive maestro in Gregorius and need a massive upgrade at third-base — in terms of defensive production.
Does the signing of Tulo question the future of Miguel Andujar?
This is the question I’m asking myself…if the Yankees are clearly interested in Machado but are committed to Tulo, could Andujar get caught in the mix? His 15 errors in the infield last season was simply unacceptable, and the fact that he has never played a different position other than third limits his defensive value considerably.
Although he hit .279 on the year and showed potential that’s difficult to let go, I’m under the assumption that the Yankees might bite on an ace pitcher if a team with hitting needs comes knocking on the door. My argument for trading Andujar would be that his value is sky-high. He’s coming off an impressive rookie season with no long-term consistency. If teams are willing to give up starting pitching value for a player that hasn’t even had two good seasons, than you can justify his departure.
However, retaining home-grown youth is essential to the future success of the team, and keeping a young player that’s liked in the club-house and by the fan-base certainly helps that cause. Cashman will likely never let him go unless the deal being offered blows him away. This thought alone questions my confidence in the Yankees signing Machado.
Cashman stated that he included Machado and his representation in the plan to sign Tulowitzki. If he’s to play third-base, things could get interesting in the next few weeks.