Yankees could be eyeing superstar upgrade at third base

manny machado, yankees
Oct 22, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado (13) hits a home run in the first inning during game four of the NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have a ton of money coming off the books in 2024 and plenty of young prospects climbing the ranks, preparing to take over starting jobs. Their big deals include Aaron Judge, Carlos Rodon, Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton, and DJ LeMahieu. All the other contracts on the roster are for minimal years and shouldn’t hold the team back significantly from making any big splashes in the future.

Next off-season should be interesting, considering Shohei Ohtani will hit the open market, and now superstar third baseman, Manny Machado, will also be looking for a new home.

Machado stated last week that he would be opting out of his 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres to become a free agent after the upcoming season.

At just 30 years old, Machado is in the middle of his prime, coming off a truly dominant 2022 season. He’s looking for a substantial deal, but he’s worth a fair contract, having hit .298 with a .366 OBP, 32 homers, and 102 RBIs last year. He posted a 152 wRC+ and 7.4 WAR. He’s not slowing down by any means and could continue dominating for the next 5+ years before he hits the inevitable wall.

The Yankees could pair their youth agenda with a superstar like Manny Machado:

Suppose the Yankees want to upgrade the infield substantially, plugging shortstop and second base with Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe, two cheap solutions. In that case, they could spend big on a player like Machado to take them to another level.

If the Padres don’t pay it, well, don’t think for a second that someone like the New York Mets or Yankees or San Francisco Giants or the Chicago Cubs will hesitate. 

Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Of course, the Yankees will have plenty of competition if they want to go down that road, but they may be more willing to spend that type of money on Ohtani, who can pitch and provide an elite bat. The problem is Stanton serves as the team’s everyday designated hitter, so Ohtani would be an interesting variable to add to the mix. However, when you have a chance to secure a player like Shohei, you worry about the consequences afterward.

Machado is looking for a deal worth $40 million per season over ten years, even more than the contract Judge landed at the same age. Obviously, that is a tremendous amount of money and is unlikely, despite his quality.

With Josh Donaldson coming off the books next year, though, that opens up a significant amount of financial flexibility to go and replace him at third base. A long-term option like Machado makes sense, especially since the team’s projected total payroll lands at $194.6 million next year after arbitration.

Of course, there will be additional needs to address, but the Yankees have plenty of money to make a big move if they see fit. The question is, would they rather splash the cash on Ohtani or Machado?