NEW YORK -- The sting from losing to the Red Sox in the American League Division Series is still fresh for Dellin Betances, but the Yankees' reliever has an idea how his team could claim the upper hand for 2019 -- by signing Manny Machado.
"I think he'll put us over the top," Betances said Tuesday. "We were short last year. Things could have gone our way, but they didn't. Adding a guy like that would help any team. Our lineup is already impactful, so adding a guy like that would be pretty crazy."
Betances delivered his public plea at the Polo Grounds Community Center in Harlem, where he took part in a Thanksgiving food drive in conjunction with The Rosemark Group, Whole Foods Market and the Police Athletic League.
Having shared a clubhouse with Machado during the 2017 World Baseball Classic -- when they both represented the Dominican Republic -- Betances is convinced that the free-agent slugger would be a perfect fit in pinstripes.
"I played with him in the Classic and got a chance to develop a good relationship with him over the years, playing against him," Betances said. "I'm hoping that we get him. I'm keeping close tabs on it. It's not my decision, but that would be a big piece for the team. We have a good team, but adding a guy like that, that can play at a high level and has played at a high level for quite some time, we would be great."
The 26-year-old Machado batted .297/.367/.538 with 35 doubles, 37 home runs and 107 RBIs in 162 regular season games for the Orioles and Dodgers this past season, joining Los Angeles after a July 18 trade.
Machado had an eventful postseason as the Dodgers advanced to the World Series, including two incidents that drew headlines, one in which he spiked Brewers first basemanJesus Aguilar, and another where Machado dismissed attention about not running hard out of the batter's box by saying, "I'm not Johnny Hustle."
"Some people had concerns over some of the stuff they saw, but a lot of stuff is more magnified in the playoffs," Betances said. "Getting a chance to play with him and getting to know him, he's a good person. He wants to win. That's the biggest thing. I think that's what he'd add to a team like this. He knows the playoff feel, playing with the Dodgers. He wants to win and that's what we want to do. Any time you can add a player like that, I think it will be beneficial."
Betances said that he believes the Yankees' winter is off to a good start. The club moved quickly to retain outfielder Brett Gardner and left-hander Carsten Sabathia, keeping both on one-year contracts.
"It's huge. Those are guys that have been here for a while," Betances said. "It would be weird not seeing them here. They're big contributors to our team and big-time leaders. To have them back with us, it's a huge step in the direction we want to go. I'm sure the front office will be busy in the next few weeks and months."
Especially with shortstop Didi Gregorius expected to be sidelined until at least June following Tommy John surgery, Betances believes that landing Machado would be the perfect move to disrupt Boston's ongoing celebration.
"He's a tough out, he's a guy that likes to study the pitchers well, tremendous defensively and on the offensive side, he can hit .300 and hit over 30 [homers]," Betances said of Machado. "Adding him to our team, he could use our ballpark to his advantage; he hits the ball all over the park. I think he's a fun guy as a teammate. He's a guy that loves to learn. I'm hopeful we get him."