“We have been in contact with the Yankees,” MLB said in a statement (via the New York Daily News). “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.”
“Adding him to our lineup that we’ve already got would be something special,” Judge said. Machado, a three-time all-star in his six seasons with the Orioles, is set to become a highly coveted free agent after this season, and the Yankees, as generally happens with the team, are considered likely to be very much in the bidding for his services.
Until then, of course, neither the Yankees nor any other team can specifically discuss bringing him aboard. That’s what happened before Wednesday’s game, though, as Judge and the Baltimore star were chatting.
“We talked a little bit, and I just asked him how his offseason was, how everything was going,” Judge said. “I asked him how he liked short and said, ‘You’d look pretty good in pinstripes, too.’ ”
Machado “just kind of laughed it off” according to Judge, and did not offer much comment on the sales pitch. Judge added (per the Daily News) that he’d said much the same thing to former Marlin Giancarlo Stanton at last year’s All-Star Game; Stanton was traded by Miami to the Yankees in the offseason.
Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said he didn’t think Judge had actually had that exchange with Stanton, but he noted that the latter did look “very good in pinstripes.” The major league leader in home runs last year with 59, Stanton now joins Judge (second with 52) and the likes of Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius in what should be one of MLB’s most dangerous lineups.
Machado, who has hit 105 homers over the previous three seasons, could make that lineup even more imposing next year if he hits free agency. The Yankees certainly would have the ability to meet what would undoubtedly be astronomical salary demands, but they would also have to figure out where to play him, as the longtime third baseman is shifting to short this year, and if they’d rather just stick with some promising prospects.
“This is probably the best spring he’s had so far,” Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said of Machado on Wednesday (via the New York Post). “He’s really excited about getting back to his normal position. All the stars are lined up for him on a lot of fronts — the very last one is impending free agency. It’s about the team and the position we need him to play.”
Judge described Machado as “one heck of a player” who has been “doing it for quite a few years at the best level.” He added of the Orioles’ star, “He’s one of the best — if not the best — defensive third basemen in the game, and now he’s probably going to be one of the best defensive shortstops. With what he brings on the offensive side of it, he’s the complete package.
“He’s going to be a happy man when it comes to free agency, and picking where he wants to go.”
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