Yankees fans have obsessed about the possibility of adding Manny Machado for months, but it’s possible D.J. LeMahieu has taken his spot in the Bronx.
Manny Machado may have missed his chance to play for the Yankees. Brian Cashman’s recent decision to sign both Troy Tulowitzki and D.J. LeMahieu could take New York out of the running for the superstar slugger.
Then again, it’s also possible both moves are calculated efforts by Cashman and company to exert pressure on Machado and his representatives. When free agency first began the Yankees had serious holes to fill in their infield. Didi Gregorius’ elbow injury left Cashman looking for a starting shortstop capable of holding down the position for roughly half a season. Miguel Andujar’s highly questionable at third base made upgrading the hot corner a distinct possibility as well.
The needs at both third and short provided Machado’s representatives with an excellent chance to demand a small fortune from the Yankees. Not only is he an elite superstar just entering the prime of his career, but he also plays multiple positions of intense need from Aaron Boone. Machado is still a great player by anyone’s definition, but now the Yankees have legitimate options if he chooses to go elsewhere.
It’s also possible that Friday’s decision to sign LeMahieu sends a clear signal to Machado’s camp that the Yankees are no longer interested in his services. The former Rockies’ ability to play second, third and first gives New York a ton of options. The organization hopes Tulowitzki can start the season at short, but if he succumbs to injury Gleyber Torres can slide over. In that scenario, LeMahieu would take over for Torres at second.
Don’t expect the Yankees to give up on Machado quite yet. Instead, look for Cashman and the front office to take one last swing at bringing him to the Bronx. The idea of Cashman presenting Machado with a concrete final offer with a deadline attached makes a lot of sense for the Yankees. Signing LeMahieu doesn’t end Machado’s chances of becoming a Yankee, but it will force him to make a decision sooner rather than later.