As the MLB Hot Stove season begins to heat up, many fans and organizations alike are waiting for the first major domino to fall. All eyes will especially be on Manny Machado, who is one of the more interesting cases to follow this winter.
While there’s no doubting the 26-year-old’s talent, his market hasn’t been as active as one might have expected thus far. Some teams have waned on the idea of pursuing him because of his poor postseason showing and on-field antics.
The St. Louis Cardinals, in search of another infield corner bat, are reportedly cool on the idea of pursuing Machado. Ditto for the New York Yankees, who are expected to primarily focus on upgrading their pitching staff this offseason.
That hasn’t stopped the Yankees from doing their homework on Machado, however, in preparation of a potential pursuit, according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic:
The #Yankees have downplayed their interest in Manny Machado. But they've spent a lot of time already trying to find out as much about him as possible. And he's definitely interested in them!
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) November 12, 2018
The Yankees have long been a speculated suitor for Machado since the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, when the club expressed interest in acquiring him before the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a trade with the Baltimore Orioles.
With starting shortstop Didi Gregorious shelved for the time being after undergoing offseason Tommy John surgery, talk of the Yankees making a play for Machado has only grown.
But based on general manager Brian Cashman’s desire to remain under the luxury tax threshold going forward, there has been skepticism that the Yankees will break the bank this offseason for a top free agent such as Bryce Harper or Machado.
On the contrary, the Philadelphia Phillies are expected to be a major player in free agency and have the aforementioned Machado and Harper at the top of their wish list.
The Dodgers haven’t been strongly connected to Machado to this point, given the contract he will command and the fact that shortstop Corey Seager is progressing well from respective Tommy John and hip surgeries.