Tag: Manny Machado

Patrick Corbin, not Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, looks like the Yankees’ biggest offseason regret

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In the next three weeks, odds are that the Yankees will have a new pitcher in the rotation. Perhaps it will be Marcus Stroman or Matt Boyd. Either way, the Yankees might not have been in a pitching predicament had they signed Patrick Corbin in the winter. Many, including yours truly, lamented the Yankees not getting Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, more so than Corbin. Lately though, Corbin looks like the one that got away.

The 29 year-old lefty has been excellent for Washington. In 113 innings and 18 starts, Corbin has a matching 3.34 ERA and FIP. He probably wouldn’t pitch quite as well in the American League, but that’s no matter. He’d be an upgrade to a rotation that currently ranks 12th in ERA and 20th in FIP. Now, in order to buoy the rotation, the team probably will have to part with young talent like Clint Frazier.

(MLB GIF Hub)

Meanwhile, the Yankees have been fine where Machado and Harper would have played. The team’s third basemen have a 127 wRC+, sixth-best in baseball. Bombers’ right and left fielders have a 126 wRC+, fifth-best in the majors. Those marks are better than Machado (116 wRC+) and Harper (118 wRC+). Does that justify the Yankees’ decision? Not exactly. They’ve had some very good fortune, particularly with players like Gio Urshela and Cameron Maybin. Luck or not, there have been far fewer complaints about Machado and Harper. That sentiment could change in the future, but for 2019, it’s not looking like a missed opportunity.

Back to Corbin. Instead of him, the Yankees re-signed JA Happ and traded for James Paxton. The former has not worked out, and although Paxton has had his ups and downs this season, he looks like a sound acquisition. Happ, who is guaranteed $34 million dollars for two seasons, was a much cheaper option compared to Corbin’s $140 million over six seasons.

Happ has pitched a little better of late, but he’s definitely looking like a penny-wise, pound-foolish signing. The Yankees saved $6 million towards their luxury tax payroll (based on average annual value of the contract) and avoided a long-term commitment, but that’s now come back to harm them in the present.

Would the Yankees still pursue another starter before the deadline if Corbin was here instead of Happ? I think so. However, the team likely wouldn’t go big fish hunting. A back-end innings eater who wouldn’t be needed in the playoffs could have been enough to get through the rest of the regular season, assuming Luis Severino does indeed return (a big if, of course).

Had the Yankees signed Corbin, the organization would have maximized its title chances today and tomorrow. First and foremost, the 2019 rotation (and beyond!) would have been better. But furthermore, the team would have felt less pressure to trade young talent. Corbin would have been a win now and later move, but instead, the Yankees settled for less.

Booing Manny Machado wasn’t a great look

If you thought about it for more than a second, you could see it coming. Still, I didn’t expect Yankee fans to roundly boo Manny Machado as he returns as a Padre.

It’s not like Machado slighted the Yankees. At 26 years old, with prime years presumably ahead of him, the former Orioles and Dodgers third baseman entered free agency as a hot ticket item. He demanded a record-setting deal — as anyone in his position would — and he was willing to wait for it.

The Yankees’ interest in Machado this offseason is unclear. They brought him to the Bronx and had dinner with him while bogus rumors floated that he was close to signing shortly after New Year’s Day. From all appearances, the Bombers didn’t actually come close to meeting Machado’s price tag, even if they had a genuine desire to bring him aboard. Machado, on the other hand, seemingly wanted to join the Yankees but was rebuffed.

So Machado signed with the Padres for $300 million. That should be celebrated! He got the bag, made bank, etc. He’s a very rich man and will be part of an up-and-coming team, one that will only play the Yankees on a triennial basis (provided the teams don’t meet in the Fall Classic). Phew! This is a guy who has 22 homers against the Bombers, more than he has against any other franchise. Getting him out of the division and league as a whole is a relief.

Let’s be clear: Yankee fans don’t need to cheer Machado. He’s never played for the Yankees and likely never will (though New York has precedent for absorbing record-setting deals). His bat did torment the Bronx faithful for years.

But booing him just doesn’t pass the test to me. Maybe if it’s a “We didn’t want you anyway” jeer or a set of boos for him destroying the Yankees for years, but it’s not like he earned a chorus of boos in previous trips to the Bronx.

These boos reeked of the kind Yankees fans pay to Robinson Cano or Orioles fans dealt to Mark Teixeira for years. The voiced displeasure of a superstar not taking a discount to join your team and city, unearned scorn that does a disservice to the fanbase and player. Perhaps, in Cano’s case, the star may regret not joining the team, but the booing is still unnecessary.

Machado, for what it’s worth, was unphased by the Bronx welcome he received. “I get booed everywhere I go,” Machado said. “Great players get booed.” He was rightfully more focused on the loss San Diego took on Monday.

The Yankees have been fine thus far without Machado. D.J. LeMahieu has surpassed fans’ low expectations while Gio Urshela has caught fire. The franchise still has to settle third base in the long term unless the brass believes Urshela is a long-term fit at the hot corner.

Machado’s old teammate, Zack Britton, didn’t think the infielder would end up in the Bronx, but he would have enjoyed reuniting with the third baseman.

“I thought he was a perfect fit,’’ Britton told the New York Post. “He brings elite defense at third, his power in the Stadium would have played and he would have been good in the clubhouse where there are other big names, as well.”

Ultimately, the Bombers had an opportunity to lock up a star in Machado and passed. That’s their choice and, based on the early results, it’s been a perfectly OK one. The Yankees may regret it later on, but that’s no reason to boo Machado. He’s happy, the Yankees are happy; Why can’t we all get along?

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