COMMENTARY: Manny Machado is just who the Yankees need


Machado brings a swagger that the Yankees could use. Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license.

Nicolo Manzo

If you told me last year at this time that Yankee fans would be discussing whether or not the organization should sign Manny Machado instead of what the team should do to sign him, I wouldn’t have believed you.

But, sure enough, that conversation is taking place.

The ultra-talented Machado has come under fire, and rightfully so, for some shocking and cringeworthy comments.

After failing to run out a ground ball, Machado was asked about his hustle.

His response, per The Athletic and USA Today, was nothing short of astonishing.

In part, Machado said that hustling wasn’t his “cup of tea.”

Those words don’t sit well with me, and I can’t imagine anyone having a positive reaction to them.

So, why on Earth would the Yankees want a guy like that on their team?

Well, the first reason is Machado is a really good player. He is going to give you 30+ home runs and somewhere around 90 RBIs even in a bad year by his standards.

Machado also has something the Yankees desperately need — the ability to situationally hit. According to Yahoo! Sports, this season Machado hit .331 with runners in scoring position (RISP) and .298 with RISP and two outs.

The biggest reason the Red Sox won 108 games this year is because their lineup can hit for power, but also dial it back when necessary.

The next reason why Machado makes a ton of sense for the Yankees is the recent injury to Didi Gregorius. Gregorius undergoing Tommy John surgery leaves a Machado-sized hole in the Yankee infield. While Machado may not be as good a defensive shortstop as Gregorius, he is certainly capable and is an elite third baseman as well.

The last reason why the Yankees need Machado may be the reason some people don’t want him. He brings a controversial edge to the team.

Of course, every Yankees fan wants Machado to hustle and play hard. If he doesn’t, then they have a right to complain. But every team needs that guy the other teams don’t like who brings some buzz to a clubhouse.

This current Yankees team may be too nice for its own good. Sometimes, it’s good to flip a bat and let the other team know you have some swagger or let a pitcher know how you feel when he goes up and in on you. I think Machado can add that edge to the team while still letting his play on the field speak louder than his words.

Guys like Aaron Judge are the epitome of class, and that is a great thing. Judge is reminiscent of Derek Jeter. Despite the fact that Jeter was a team leader for many championships, guys like Paul O’Neill helped let other teams know you weren’t to be messed with.

Machado is simply a talent that the Yankees cannot pass on. The Yankees and their fans will regret it more if Machado is doing Machado things for another team than if he doesn’t sprint to first base every ground ball.

Jon Heyman has long reported that Machado’s preferred destination is the Yankees. They should oblige him.

Fortifying the pitching staff has to be priority number one, but adding Machado is a move that must be made.

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Twitter: @NManzoTWW