Manny is money.
While Manny Machado may have found himself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons in the 2018 postseason, that won't deter teams from giving him a big-money payday. All 30 teams in MLB would love to have his services, no doubt about it. But certain teams are better fits than others.
Does that mean Machado will be heading into next year with a 10-year contract? Or a $300 million check? It's tough to say. Here are the five best teams for Machado's services, with cases for — and against — why a Machado signing makes sense.
New York Yankees
While third baseman Miguel Andújar put together an exceptional rookie year, it's hard to envision a world in which the Yankees don't at least entertain signing Manny Machado.
Given his familiarity and assumed comfort with AL East opponents, his ability to make contact, and the hole that opens up at shortstop while incumbent Didi Gregorius is recovering from Tommy John surgery, the scene is set for Machado to ditch the Dodger blues for the New York pinstripes come the springtime.
The case for: Machado is someone the Yankees need in their lineup: Though a righty, he's a .282 career hitter, doesn't strike out a ton and can be a 30/100 guy when healthy.
But more than that, a Machado signing gives the Yankees flexibility in the infield to move one or more players in a trade. Here are some potential options, if the Yankees want to get creative:
Option A: Sign Machado to play third base; move Gleyber Torres to shortstop while Gregorius is out; re-sign Neil Walker to play second/utility man; dangle Andújar for starting pitching help.
Option B: Sign Machado to play shortstop; move Andújar to first base; Torres stays at second; re-sign Neil Walker to play third base/utility man.
Option C: Sign Machado to play shortstop; trade Didi Gregorius for prospects or pitching help. Everyone else stays put.
There's no denying that Machado's actions in the 2018 postseason were un-Yankee-like at best and deplorable at hyperbolic worst, but money can change a man. Especially record-breaking money.
The case against: Machado isn't the Yankees' No. 1 need on this year's Christmas list. That priority, according to reports and the eye test, should be pitching, pitching, pitching and pitching.
The Yankees will target everything available on the free-agent and trade markets, starting with Patrick Corbin and then everyone else. Should Machado still be there when the Yankees solidify their pitching, he'll likely be a target.
The case for: Much like the Yankees, signing Machado would offer the Cubs some roster flexibility.
The Cubs could stick Machado at third base, move Kris Bryant to left field and dangle Kyle Schwarber for rotation help. Or you could play Machado at shortstop, find a taker for Addison Russell and leave the rest as is.
The past two seasons ended on a sour note on the North Side, and the Cubs' window might be closing a bit sooner than people expected. But Machado would help prop that window open and elongate the timeline.
The case against: It's harder to repeat in baseball than to avoid political debate at the Thanksgiving dinner table with distant relatives, but that's not to excuse the Cubs.
They began 2017 with a World Series hangover before a steamy second half, and they lost the division in Game 163 this year before being ousted from the playoffs in the wild-card game. Altogether, those results don't necessarily scream the Cubs' need for Manny Machado.
The tricky part there is discovering what Bryant would be as a long-term left fielder. Per Fangraphs, his UZR/150 in 2018 was -18.3. For those keeping score at home, that is not very good. In 496 big-league innings in left, Bryant's UZR/150 is 5.0. Mixed bag, generally.
Despite being immensely talented, Machado is an aggressive right-handed hitter, something the Cubs don't necessarily need.
Considering some of the payroll they have — Yu Darvish, Jason Heyward — and checks they'll have to cut — Kris Bryant — it's tough to see the Cubs justifying another big contract.
MORE: What is UZR?
The case for: If the rumors and gestures are true, the Phillies are ready to back up the Brinks truck to land one — or both — of Machado and Harper.
The Phillies finished two games under .500 in 2018, and for a large portion of the season looked to be legitimate NL East contenders. Then the young team broke down late in the season and faltered down the stretch, going 8-20 in September and being outscored 152-97 in that stretch.
The Phillies still have pieces to add — they need to shore up the pitching staff as a whole — but Machado would certainly help a Phillies team that ranked at or near the bottom of the NL in most major offensive categories, including runs (11th), hits (15th) and OPS (10th).
It would also allow the Phillies to move on from Maikel Franco, who for, whatever reason, has been linked in trade talks for a few years, even as recently as 2018.
The case against: Alec Bohm, 2018 first-round pick for the Phillies, would be in limbo should Machado sign and play third base. Bohm has an ETA of 2021 per MLB Pipeline, and prospects are suspects until they prove otherwise, but it's hard seeing the Phillies moving on from a first-round pick (No. 3 overall) in such a short timeframe. In today's game, where young players and controllable contracts are the rage, that's a tough pill to swallow.
On the other side, should Machado supplant Scott Kingery for the shortstop spot, Kingery can be moved, as he's on a team-friendly contract. Kingery, 24, was a bit of a disappointment in 2018, but the team still seems high on him. Would they move on from a core piece to sign Machado? Tough to say, but it wouldn't surprise many.
Chicago White Sox
The case for: The White Sox are the dark horse here. The talent on the team has long been highly lauded, and at times in 2018 seemed poised to break through. While they went just 17-12 in August — the only month they were over .500 during the season — the Sox rattled off some impressive wins over division rivals, as well as against the Yankees and Red Sox.
While the Sox still need seasoning, they're not as far away as some may think, especially in a weakening AL Central. It's rumored that White Sox brass would be willing to open up the checkbook and take serious looks at both Bryce Harper and Machado, and that would be wise. Specifically for Machado, who would add power to a lineup desperately in need of it; Matt Davidson and José Abreu were the only two players in the everyday lineup with an OPS+ of over 100. That's not great.
Machado would also slot seamlessly into the field, whether it's supplanting speedy-but-light-hitting Tim Anderson at shortstop or Yolmer Sánchez at third base.
The case against: The White Sox still need a lot of work before diving into a big-time contract.
The common theme among teams trying to build now is as follows:
1. Solidify a young core.
2. Win with that core.
3. Supplement the core with free-agent signings.
As it stands, the White Sox are still developing that core: Yoan Moncada, former No. 1 overall prospect, is starting to round into form. Nicky Delmonico had a down year after a short but impactful debut season in 2017. Eloy Jiménez is ready to break through to the majors after a big year at Double- and Triple-A.
Meanwhile, Lucas Giolito is still figuring it out as a future/potential ace for the staff, as the rotation needs much work.
While Machado would add a lot to the South Siders, it's tough to say how he would impact the team immediately, given the questions surrounding their current talent.
New York Mets
The case for: If Brodie Van Wagenen wants to really cement this as his team, this would be a signature moment.
While the Mets have a shortstop of the future in Amed Rosario, incumbent third baseman Todd Frazier hit the DL twice during the season and would hardly pose a threat for the position if Machado was signed.
The Mets are in serious need of star power and signing Machado would be a step in the right direction for a franchise that has taken half-measures since its World Series appearance in 2015. While Yoenis Cespedes was a solid re-signing for the team at the time, the stench of his contract and injury issues are plaguing Mets fans.
A Machado signing would be a welcome palate-cleanser for the fan base.
The case against: Don't do it, because you're the Mets and things almost always end poorly for the Mets.
Listen, I don't mean to take a supernatural approach to this otherwise very serious analysis piece, but until the Mets can lift this voodoo curse off Citi Field in which all things wither, baseball fans likely want Machado playing elsewhere — because they would love to see him healthy and a good player for the rest of his career.
But the real case against would be that the Mets are such an uncertainty with no clear direction that it's hard to see Machado wanting to play for a franchise stuck in purgatory.
Will they trade Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard? What will Van Wagenen do as a GM? He hinted at both "sustained, long-term success" and winning now. It's hard to sell both at once, so which will it be? Will they spend money on other free agents?
It's tough to say. The Mets have opened up the checkbook in the past, most recently for Cespedes, but would they do it again for Machado? Unlikely, but it would be a massive get for the boys in Flushing.
Source : http://www.sportingnews.com/us/mlb/news/manny-machado-dodgers-yankees-news-rumors/13v9s4wkwr6w51dq572expkjib