The prospect of adding Manny Machado is intriguing for the New York Yankees despite their reported "lukewarm" interest earlier this offseason. Still, the All-Star infielder's polarizing nature appears to be causing some hesitation in the Bronx, despite an obvious on-field fit.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner took notice of Machado's various controversial antics during the postseason, and was particularly caught off-guard by the 26-year-old's now-infamous comments that hustling isn't his "cup of tea."
If Machado's going to don pinstripes in 2019 and beyond, Steinbrenner wants to hear from the man himself on exactly why he said that.
"If it's a $300-million guy or a $10-million guy, clearly those comments are troubling," Steinbrenner told reporters Wednesday, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. "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."
When asked if it's necessary to resolve Machado's comments, Steinbrenner added: "It's essential. It’s not (just) important. It’s going to happen."
Meanwhile, Cashman all but admitted his team's interest in Machado during a separate interview with WFAN's "Boomer and Gio" on Wednesday, and confirmed he'd do plenty of due diligence on the infielder before bringing him into the fold.
"We are obviously looking through all of those things," Cashman replied when asked about Machado's potential fit with the Yankees' culture. "Manny Machado's a terrific baseball player. ... And yes, we've got to assess obviously, does he fit our world and at what cost? And we are gonna go through that process with him, as well as (with) every available free agent and potential trade partner as well, to see what is the best course of action."
Machado put up a .905 OPS and slugged 37 homers over 162 games split between the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018, and is expected to score one of the largest free-agent contracts this offseason. The Yankees seem like a perfect fit thanks to their current hole at shortstop, as Didi Gregorius is expected to miss a large portion of 2019 following Tommy John surgery.
At least one report this offseason has suggested the Yankees' pursuit of Machado could come down to his price tag.