During the National League Championship Series, as Machado drew criticism for not running hard while playing for the Dodgers, the infielder said: “Obviously I’m not going to change, I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,’ and run down the line and slide to first base and … you know, whatever can happen. That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.”
At the Major League Baseball owners’ meetings on Wednesday, Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner acknowledged that Machado’s comments to The Athletic about his approach to the game were “troubling” and would have to be reconciled if the Yankees are to sign him.
“If it’s a $300 million guy or a $10 million guy, clearly those comments are troubling,” Steinbrenner told a small group of reporters. “But that’s really [general manager Brian Cashman’s] job. If we’re interested in any player, sit down with him face to face and ask him, ‘Where did this come from? What was the context around the entire interview? Was there a point you were trying to [make]? How do you justify it?
“Because that ain’t gonna sell where we play baseball. That conversation will happen no matter who it is.”
There is an actual debate on whether or not the Yankees should sign a guy who hit .297 with 37 home runs and 107 RBIs because he doesn’t always sprint to first base. What are we doing here? Who gives a shit if Machado doesn’t run to first?
Here’s a fun fact: You don’t have to run to first when you’re hitting close to 40 homers a year. Another fun fact: if you batting close to .300 then not running to first clearly isn’t affecting your ability to get hits.
You know who has to run to first base? Guys like Greg Bird, who are fortunate to still be in the major leagues, should be running to first.
Didi Gregorius will be out for a majority of the 2019 season. The Yankees need a shortstop. You know who’s one of the best shortstops in the league? Manny Machado. There shouldn’t be much discussion after that.
Now, if you are conflicted on whether or not you want to sign Manny Machado long term because once Didi gets back, Machado would play third base and you think Miguel Andujar could be the Yankees third baseman for the next decade, I’m willing to have that conversation.
But if you don’t want to sign Machado simply because you wish he ‘hustled’ more than you are a loser. I want my favorite team to have the best players on their roster so that they can win the World Series. I know, weird right? I’m not worried about the fact that sometimes they jog on a random Wednesday game against the White Sox.
Also, let’s not forget that prior to this past season, Manny Machado had only played in 7 postseason games. Those Baltimore Orioles teams were trash. Would you sprint to first base knowing that Chris Davis is batting behind you and is about to ground out into a double play for the 4,524th straight time?
I guarantee if you put Machado is high pressure, meaningful games, he would run to first. It would be impossible for him not to. When he sees Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton busting their ass down the first base line, he’s 1000% going to follow suit in front of a wild Yankee Stadium crowd.
Give. Manny. The Bagioli.
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