The Yankees, already seen as one of the front-runners in the sweepstakes for superstar free agent Manny Machado, may have just added an ace in the hole to augment their pursuit.MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reports that the Yankees are expected to hire nine-time All-Star Carlos Beltran to be a special advisor
The Yankees, already seen as one of the front-runners in the sweepstakes for superstar free agent Manny Machado, may have just added an ace in the hole to augment their pursuit.
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reports that the Yankees are expected to hire nine-time All-Star Carlos Beltran to be a special advisor to general manager Brian Cashman. Beltran, who played for the Yankees from 2014-16, happens to share a common bond with Machado: Their agent, Dan Lozano of MVP Sports Group.
While Beltran, a highly respected former star of the game, will likely assist Cashman in multiple ways that might not directly involve Machado, the timing of his hire would make a lot of sense. The Yankees are set to meet with Machado and his representatives on Wednesday in New York, and if Beltran attends, he could help illuminate the experience of wearing the pinstripes and playing in the country's biggest market. It should be made clear, however, that Beltran's level of involvement in the Yanks' discussions with Machado is not defined at this point.
Machado met with the White Sox and toured the South Side of Chicago on Monday, and he is also scheduled to meet with the Phillies on Thursday at Citizens Bank Park.
The Yankees have been linked to Machado all offseason as the shortstop seeks what will likely be a record contract -- if it's not topped by fellow free agent Bryce Harper. Machado specifically has been connected to the Yanks after it was revealed that shortstop Didi Gregorius will miss significant time as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, seemingly opening a spot in New York's infield for the four-time All-Star.
But Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has held no reservations in expressing his concerns about Machado's work ethic and the comments he made in the postseason about his lack of hustle on the field. Beltran's addition could perhaps help Lozano convince Steinbrenner and the rest of the Yanks' brass that Machado will ultimately be worth the massive investment in both dollars and contract length.
In an exclusive interview with MLB.com last month, Machado took accountability for his postseason comments to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, most notably by saying, "I'm not the type of player that's going to be 'Johnny Hustle,'" wishing his point had been made more clearly in that moment.
"When I was asked that question, I was definitely on the defensive, and I was wrong to answer it the way that I did, because looking back, it doesn't come across how I meant it," Machado said. "For me, I was trying to talk about how I'm not the guy who is eye wash. There's a difference between fake hustle for show and being someone who tries hard to win. I've always been the guy who does whatever he can to win for his team.
"But I know how I said it and how that came across, and it's something I take responsibility for. I look forward to talking with each GM and owner that we meet with about that, or any other questions they have."
Beltran retired after helping the Astros capture their first World Series title in 2017, capping an outstanding career that included three Gold Glove Awards, two Silver Slugger Awards and the 1999 American League Rookie of the Year Award -- along with a large handful of memorable performances in the postseason. The outfielder and designated hitter finished parts of three seasons in the Bronx with a .270 average, a .797 OPS and 56 home runs, earning his final All-Star Game selection while wearing pinstripes in '16.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.