Report: 'Yankees are the front-runners' to sign Manny Machado in free agency

Manny Machado has drawn ire this postseason, but where will he land in free agency?|Art or Photo Credit: AP

The former Baltimore Oriole and current Los Angeles Dodger battling it out in the World Series has drawn criticisms this October for his open aversion to running hard, as well as some of his dirty tactics on the bases.

Despite those demerits, Machado remains one of the most supremely talented players in the game today with elite skills on both sides of the ball and four All-Star selections in his last six seasons, and the Bronx Bombers could reportedly become his next club.

"There are only a few teams willing to spend at least $300 million for the mercurial star," Bob Nightengale of USA Today wrote Thursday. "The New York Yankees are the front-runners, while the Philadelphia Phillies also plan to be in the bidding."

The Yankees have notably reset their payroll under the $197 million luxury tax threshold this year, which could predict a big-time financial splash this offseason.

Fans have clamored for improvements and investments to be made to bolster the starting rotation, but adding the MVP-caliber bat of Machado into a lineup already featuring Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and a potentially resurgent Gary Sanchez could be an unbeatable force in the Bronx.

"I'm very, very bullish on long-term stock on Manny Machado," said longtime Yankees slugger (and Machado's childhood idol) Alex Rodriguez. "If owners or front offices try to judge his character by the handful of things that he's done, that's a huge mistake. Whoever signs him will win big. Real big."

Machado's ability to play both shortstop and third base would also check a major box for the Yankees, who will enter 2019 with question marks around Rookie of the Year candidate Miguel Andujar at third, and Didi Gregorius's availability after he recovers from his recent Tommy John surgery.

Machado has thrived this postseason for the Dodgers, and has notably voiced his distaste for the Red Sox organization following a series of back-and-forth incidents a season ago when Machado was an Oriole. Whether or not that history helps or hurts his free agency case this winter remains to be seen, but as Rodriguez pointed out, he's got plenty of passion for a ballplayer.

"The one thing overlooked is his passion. Tremendous passion for the game," Rodriguez said. "I would much rather have a player with passion that makes mistakes rather than a player with no passion that doesn't make mistakes.'"

There is no shortage of strong opinions among Yankees fans over which marquee player - if any - makes the most sense to add onto the Yankees roster for 2019, but Machado will surely be a contender.

Stay tuned for the latest news and developments on the Yankees as they charge into the 2019 offseason.