Aaron Judge is trying to woo impending free agent Manny Machado to the Yankees
MLB was not fond of Judge's comments
Wednesday afternoon, the Baltimore Orioles bested the AL East rival New York Yankees in their meaningless Grapefruit League matchup (BAL 7, NYY 4). The two teams will meet again in the second week of the regular season.
Prior to Wednesday's game, Aaron Judge caught up Manny Machado, and somewhat jokingly tried to woo him to the Yankees when he becomes a free agent after the season. NJ.com's Randy Miller has the details:
"Before the game, I asked him how his offseason was, how everything was going," Judge said. "I asked him how he liked (moving from third base to short)."
And then Judge dropped in this:
"I told him, 'You'd look pretty good in pinstripes, too.' "
"He just kind of laughed it off," Judge said. "He didn't really say much."
Not surprisingly, MLB did not like Judge's comments about Machado looking good in pinstripes. Talking about players under contract with another team is generally frowned upon. MLB issued a statement to the New York Daily News:
"We have been in contact with the Yankees. They communicated to us that Mr. Judge's off the cuff comments were not appropriate and not authorized by the club. They will speak to him to make sure that this does not happen again."
There have been rumors circulating for weeks -- for years, really -- that Machado wants to sign with the Yankees when he becomes a free agent. Assuming the Yankees succeed in getting under the $197 million luxury tax threshold this season, they'll be in great shape to spend big on Machado (or Bryce Harper!) after the season.
Machado will play shortstop full-time in 2018 and the Yankees do already have a quality shortstop in Didi Gregorius, so when the time comes next winter, it'll be interesting to see whether Machado is open to moving back to third base to join New York. Here's some more from Judge, via Miller:
"To add him to our lineup that we've already got ... it would be something special," he said. "He's one heck of a player. He's been doing it quite a few years at the best level. He's one of the best, if not the best, defensive third basemen. Now he's probably going to be one of the best defensive shortstops.
"And what he brings in the offensive side of it, he's the complete package. So he's going to be a happy man when it comes to free agency wherever he wants to go."
The Yankees already have one of the best lineups in baseball -- they scored the second most runs in baseball last year, then added reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton over the winter -- and if they're able to bring in Machado, they might make a run at becoming the first 1,000 run offense since the 1999 Cleveland Indians scored 1,009 runs.
Of course, there is still an entire season to be played before free agency, and other big-market clubs such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and especially the Philadelphia Phillies figure to make a series run at Machado. If nothing else, Judge has already started the recruiting pitch, even if he was only joking around.
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