Manny Machado has been one of the game's best players since debuting in 2012, and he is set to cash in as a first-time free agent this offseason.
Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the infielder.
Reggie Jackson weighs in on Machado-Yankees
Nov. 18: Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said earlier in the week that free agent superstar Manny Machado's comments during the postseason regarding his lack of hustle were "troubling."
Hall of Fame slugger Reggie Jackson, whom the Yankees signed as a free agent back in 1976, spoke to Wallace Matthews of the New York Daily News, saying that Machado's lack of hustle "ain't gonna play here [in New York]."
"I was a pretty good player and I ran hard every single at-bat," Jackson continued. "It takes talent to run fast, but it doesn't take talent to run hard. Effort is the least we can ask of ourselves."
Video: Cashman discusses how to evaluate free agent Machado
Machado is expected to command a contract somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 years and $300 million or more. The Yankees will open the 2019 season without their starting shortstop, Didi Gregorius, out of action as he recovers from offseason Tommy John surgery. That puts Machado in play for the vacancy, especially considering New York won 100 games in '18 but still lost to the eventual World Series champion Red Sox in the American League Division Series.
Will offseason end with neither Harper nor Machado in Philadelphia?
Nov. 18: The Phillies have long been connected to free-agent superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, with many expecting the club to land at least one of them. But what are the chances that Philadelphia comes away with neither player?
That was the most-selected option in a recent MLB Trade Rumors poll, with nearly a third of people (as of Sunday night) voting -- and perhaps hoping, if they are fans of other teams -- that Philadelphia won't sign either Harper or Machado.
Of course, if that scenario happens, it might be because the Phillies decide to take a different route. MLB Network insider Joel Sherman argued Saturday in an article for the New York Post that Philadelphia would be better off signing three or four big-name free agents instead of pouring all of its resources into Harper or Machado.
Are the Phillies facing a choice between Machado now and Trout later?
Nov. 17: The Phillies are considered the favorite to sign at least one of Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. They have the funds. They have the need. They make a lot of sense. But is there a reason to avoid splurging on a free-agent superstar now?
Machado immediately would make the Phillies better. But in a story for the New York Post, MLB Network insider Joel Sherman wonders if Philadelphia really is ready for the next step toward contention -- not to mention, the hype and expectations -- that comes with inking such a star.
It's a fair question after an up-and-down 2018 campaign in Philly. Through early August, the Phillies led the National League East and looked like certain postseason contenders, only to post an NL-worst 16-33 record after Aug. 7. The youngsters who were expected to make up the core of the franchise's next contender have struggled to develop at the Major League level, aside from NL Cy Young Award finalist Aaron Nola and slugger Rhys Hoskins.
"Wouldn't the Phillies be better off spending $300 million-ish on Patrick Corbin, Craig Kimbrel, Michael Brantley and Josh Donaldson -- or multiple players of that ilk -- to address a roster in need of upgrading in many spots?" Sherman argues. "That at least keeps them out of the ultra-long-term, big-buck risk that would come with Harper or Machado. And the Phillies have to think a little about future financial flexibility for many reasons, none bigger than that Mike Trout -- who grew up a Phillies fan -- is a free agent in two years."
It's an interesting idea, particularly if Phillies execs don't think the club is one star player away right now and would prefer to enhance multiple areas while also taking more time to evaluate players like Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco, Scott Kingery, J.P. Crawford, Nick Pivetta, Nick Williams and Zach Eflin.
In theory, then, a few of those would improve in 2019 alongside the multiple free-agent reinforcements, and the franchise would be in perfect position for a run at Trout -- at a time when both he and the Phillies could be in their primes together.
Girardi weighs in on Machado and the Yankees
Nov. 17: Former Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he's "not sure from a financial standpoint where Manny [Machado] is going to be and how it fits within [the Yankees'] plans," according to NJ Advanced Media's Brendan Kuty. "There's no doubt that Manny's a great player, but there's a lot of great players that are out there. This is a pretty strong free agent class."
Girardi, who managed the Yankees for a decade from 2008-17, sounded as though he didn't feel New York necessarily needed to add the superstar infielder, though there is a vacancy at shortstop to open the season as Didi Gregorius recovers from Tommy John surgery. Machado is expected to command more than $300 million on this offseason's free-agent market. Girardi went on to say there are a lot of other good options to augment the Yankees' roster after a 100-win season in 2018.
"There are some pretty good bullpen arms that have experience. There are some pretty good outfielders, good infielders," Girardi said. "That's something that they have to decide."
How likely is it Machado stays at SS when he signs?
Nov. 17: Among the many big questions surrounding Manny Machado's free agency -- where will he sign? how much money will he get? -- is whether or not the the former third baseman will remain at shortstop after switching to that position in 2018.
MLB.com's Andrew Simon examines Machado's defensive performance as a shortstop in 2018. In a nutshell?
"Not satisfied with being a two-time Gold Glove Award winner at third base, where he was widely recognized as one of the game's best defenders, Machado took a chance moving back to his natural position in 2018," Simon writes. "He had started just 49 games there since his big league debut in 2012, and the transition did not go smoothly. Advanced metrics weren't kind to Machado's performance at short, although his numbers improved considerably after his mid-July trade to the Dodgers."
The likely outcome to all of this, then, may be determined by the biggest question about Machado: Where will he sign? If he were to go to, say, the Yankees, there's a chance he would handle shortstop while Didi Gregorius is sidelined in the wake of Tommy John surgery and then shift to third base upon Gregorius' return. If Machado were to head to, say, the Phillies, maybe he stays at shortstop ahead of youngsters Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford.
In other words, while Machado clearly is superior at the hot corner, he should be capable of playing either position on the left side of the infield, at least while he's still in his prime years. But if his new team has a bigger need at one spot over the other, expect him to fill that.
Phils are ready to spend for Machado, other big free agents
Nov. 16: If the Phillies are going to seriously pursue Machado, Bryce Harper and other top free agents, they'll have to be willing to seriously open their wallets. And they're prepared to do just that.
"We're going into this expecting to spend money. And maybe even be a little bit stupid about it," owner John Middleton told USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale at the MLB Owners Meetings.
"It's exciting to contemplate what we may be able to do this offseason. We know the free-agent class this year is really, really good."
Both Machado and Harper could command contracts in the 10-plus year and $300-plus million range. But the Phillies currently have less than $70 million on their payroll for 2019, and only about $50 million committed for 2020 and $15 million for 2021.
They can afford to make a major play in the free-agent market, and it looks like they plan to do it, as they look to make the leap to a playoff contender after fading down the stretch in 2018. In addition to being linked to Machado and Harper, Philadelphia could make a play for a top starter like Patrick Corbin or a reliever like Craig Kimbrel.
Middleton wouldn't refer to Machado or Harper by name, "But," he told Nightengale, "we will be spending."
Playing the blind resume game with Machado and Brantley
Nov. 16: Manny Machado and Michael Brantley are both free agents this offseason. The latter is going to get a fraction of the contract that the former does, for a number of reasons related to age, durability, potential, position value, etc. That is understandable.
What might be surprising, however, is just how close these two have been from a statistical standpoint in recent years. In fact, there's a legitimate argument that Brantley has been (gasp!) a better offensive player than Machado, at least by certain metrics. Hmmm.
MLB Network's Hot Stove Live show made this comparison across the past five seasons in a game of blind resumes:
Machado: .283 AVG, .343 OBP, .502 SLG, 127 OPS+
Brantley: .311 AVG, .371 OBP, .475 SLG, 127 OPS+
Again, none of this is to say that Machado isn't the better free-agent option this winter -- he's five years younger than Brantley, has proved to be more durable and plays a much more valuable defensive position -- but it does go to show how underappreciated Brantley has been.
Video: Blind resumes of MLB's high-profile free agents
Belle weighs in on Harper and Machado
Nov. 15: The White Sox signed Albert Belle to what was, at the time, the largest contract in baseball history, at five years and $55 million in 1996. Belle joined NBC Sports Chicago's White Sox Talk podcast on Thursday to talk about the club, and one of the topics of discussion was whether Chicago would try to sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, given they are expected to land contracts in the range of $300 million-$400 million.
"I guess [fans] should be skeptical until it actually happens," said the five-time All-Star. "If they're willing to spend the big money on Harper or Machado ... that means they're willing to go for it again, and win a pennant. ... If I were an owner, I wouldn't give anyone more than a five-year deal. I'm just trying to figure out all the guys who signed big deals that are hurt now. Look at Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols ... Robinson Cano isn't gonna pan out on his [deal]."
Are Yankees gearing up for serious pursuit of Machado? Will A-Rod play a part?
Nov. 15: Count MLB Network insider Jon Heyman among those who expect the Yankees to make a serious run at free-agent infielder Manny Machado, despite team owner Hal Steinbrenner saying that he found Machado's comments on his lack of hustle "troubling."
"I think [ownership loves] the guys that want to play for the Yankees," Heyman said Thursday on WFAN. "And Machado, they know that he wants to be a Yankee, or have heard that."
Heyman pointed to Alex Rodriguez's relationship with Machado as a potential factor that could sway the Yankees toward the 26-year-old. Rodriguez, who maintains an advisor role in the organization, has known Machado since the latter was a teenager, with both players having a connection through the Miami baseball scene.
Steinbrenner expressed some reservations about Machado on Wednesday, stemming from the shortstop's controversial interview with Ken Rosenthal during the postseason about not being a "Johnny Hustle" type of player.
"If it's a $300 million guy or a $10 million guy, clearly those comments are troubling," Steinbrenner said. "That's really [general manager Brian Cashman's] job, if we're interested in any player, to sit down with them face-to-face and ask them, 'Where did this come from? What was the context around the entire interview? Was there a point? How do you justify it?'
"Because that ain't going to sell where we play baseball."
But Heyman thinks Steinbrenner's comments were merely a case of the owner "saying the right thing."
"If you say that you don't mind that he didn't hustle, then you're not really doing the right thing," Heyman said. "Publicly, you've gotta take a big stand on pro hustling, it's not a difficult concept. So I think [Steinbrenner] just said the right thing."
Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay shared similar thoughts on his radio show Wednesday about the club's interest in Machado.
"The feeling I get, is that the Yankees are in, in a serious way, on Manny Machado," Kay said. "Now, Brian Cashman has said ... 'he's on the radar.' I think he's more than on the radar."
Why the Braves should consider signing Machado
Nov. 15: Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos is on record saying he doesn't foresee the club handing out any 10-year deals this offseason, but The Athletic's Jim Bowden thinks he should reconsider for Manny Machado.
In his story (subscription required) looking at one move each 2018 postseason team needs to make to get back to October, Bowden points out that Machado will likely want opt-out clauses in his contract, so a 10-year deal might end up being a short-term commitment that considerably increases the Braves' chances of winning a World Series in the next three years.
And even if Machado did stay with the Braves for a decade, he would be 36 by the end of the contract and may still be contributing at a high level.
Adding Machado to Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies would give Atlanta an outstanding nucleus, with more talent on the way via the farm system.
Betances wants the Yankees to sign Machado
Nov. 14: As the Yankees consider whether to make a run at free-agent infielder Manny Machado, one New York player gave the potential move his full endorsement Tuesday.
"I think he'll put us over the top," Yankees reliever Dellin Betances said. "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 and Machado were teammates for the Dominican Republic in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, and they have plenty of experience as opponents from Machado's years with the Orioles.
"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."
What would a Yankees spending spree look like?
Nov. 13: Picture Manny Machado, Patrick Corbin and Corey Kluber in pinstripes. MLB Network insider Joel Sherman does just that in a column for the New York Post.
To be clear, Sherman is doing little more than speculating on such a scenario by harkening back to the days when the mercurial George Steinbrenner was the owner of the Yankees, not his more patient son, Hal. Still, it's fun at least to wonder whether there's any way this could play out, especially after New York just watched its bitter rival, the Red Sox, win their fourth title since 2000 -- compared to two for the Yankees.
"The Yankees are, at minimum, intrigued by Machado," Sherman writes, "and his signing would give them latitude to use Miguel Andujar as the central trade piece to obtain Kluber - taking a logical leap that the Indians like the AL Rookie of the Year runner-up enough to deal their ace. Imagine 10 years at $330 million for Machado, six years at $126 million for Corbin (the Yu Darvish pact from last offseason) and the assumption of Kluber's Indians contract, which, if his 2020-21 options are picked up, has three years at $52.5 million left, but costs just $11.3 million toward the luxury tax in 2019."
That would, in theory, address the Yankees' biggest need by bringing in not one, but two front-of-the-rotation arms, while also putting another foundation piece at the hot corner in Machado. It's still a little murky how strong the Yankees' pursuit of Machado will actually be. But they're definitely doing their due diligence, as The Athletic's Jayson Stark reports that the club is doing "particularly extensive" (subscription required) background work on Machado, even beyond the typical amount teams routinely seek for potential free-agent or trade targets.
Would the Yanks trade Andujar to make way for Machado?
Nov. 13: While it's unclear exactly where Manny Machado falls on the Yankees' offseason wish list, a big splash by New York can't be ruled out. The Yanks certainly have the money to afford the 26-year-old, and the club is doing "extensive" background work on him, according to a report from The Athletic (subscription required).
Of course, improving the starting rotation remains the Yankees' top priority. General manager Brian Cashman has made it known he's looking to add two starting pitchers, and signing Machado may lower New York's chances of inking one of the top hurlers on the free-agent market, such as Patrick Corbin.
Still, there is a way for Cashman to possibly acquire Machado and multiple high-end starters, as Joe Rivera of the Sporting News points out. The Yankees could do so by dangling third baseman Miguel Andujar in a trade for an ace, and then sign a mid-market free agent such as J.A. Happ.
Andujar finished second to Shohei Ohtani in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting after hitting .297 with 27 homers and 92 RBIs in 2018, but he struggled defensively to the point where there are questions about his long-term viability at the hot corner.
If New York trades Andujar, Machado could slot in as the club's starting third baseman, with Gleyber Torres shifting to shortstop until Didi Gregorius is ready to return from Tommy John surgery.
Granted, the Yanks wouldn't have to trade the 23-year-old Andujar to make room for Machado. They could play Machado at shortstop while Gregorius is out, leaving Andujar at third base and Torres at second, or move Andujar across the diamond to first. But dealing Andujar may be the best way for the Yankees to get Machado and still acquire the ace starting pitcher they covet.
A big gap between Harper and Machado?
Nov. 12: In a piece for The Athletic, Cliff Corcoran ranks the best under-28 free agents of all-time. It's interesting to see where the top two free agents on this year's market land. Manny Machado is ranked third, behind only Alex Rodriguez (2000) and Barry Bonds (1992). Bryce Harper is all the way down at 11th out of 13 players, ahead of Carlos Beltran (2004) and Goose Gossage (1977).
"The math projects [Machado] to be worth 5.2 bWAR in his age-26 season, but he has been a six-win player in four of the last six seasons (I'm counting his 5.7 bWAR this year given his uncharacteristic struggles in the field), so he could very well exceed that projection," writes Corcoran.
With respect to Harper, Corcoran cites his inconsistency at the plate and injury history, pointing out his 1.5 WAR (Baseball Reference) in 2016, and 1.3 WAR last season.
"What was supposed to be the monster free agency to end all free agencies is instead a confusing mixed bag of impressive accomplishment and confounding underperformance," Corcoran writes.