The idea that the Yankees ever needed a meet-and-greet with Manny Machado, just as a way of taking his measure, was such a funny notion from the start that I thought it should have come with its own laugh track. Anybody, and especially anybody from the American League East, who doesn't know exactly what to expect from Machado at this point in his career hasn't been paying very close attention. And if the Yankees, knowing what they already know and having seen what they've seen from him as an opponent, want Machado, they should make sure they get him before the White Sox or Phillies do.
"You know what you're getting," Buck Showalter, who managed every game of Machado's big league career until he was traded from the Orioles to the Dodgers in July, said on Tuesday afternoon.
Showalter watched Machado come up and grow up, at least to a point. He knows Machado and understands him as well as any manager can understand any young gifted player put in his charge. Buck knows his strengths and his weaknesses, and when I asked him whether he'd want Machado on his team if he were still managing he said, "I'd take him."
Then he laughed and said, "And if the Yankees wanted to be even more hated by Boston than they already are, then they should go ahead and sign Manny if they can. Because I can tell you from personal experience, they don't like him much over there."
I asked him whether he would play Machado at third base or shortstop and Showalter said, "I know he wants to play shortstop, but in my opinion he's more impactful at third."
I have no idea if the Yankees really are set on getting Machado or how much money it would take to sign him. I have no idea how many years it is going to take. I just know that the people in charge of the Yankees aren't merely fixated on beating the Red Sox. They are obsessed with beating the Red Sox. I also know, having had a front-row seat to the business of the Yankees for a very long time, that Yankee fans don't want to hear about how much money the Yankees are and aren't willing to spend these days. Want to know why? Because those Yankee fans saw the Red Sox go out and get J.D. Martinez last winter and then win their fourth World Series in 15 years. The Yankees have won one over that period.