Although Manny Machado said he won’t announce who he’s signing with until after the new year, there’s still a lot of chatter about where he’ll end up. The latest development comes as Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported a few days ago that a baseball executive claims the superstar wants to return to the AL East — preferably to the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees.
“I think he ends up in New York,” one rival exec says. “He wanted to be with the Yankees or Red Sox. We’ve known that for a while. And it’s not going to be Boston.”
This isn’t completely out of the blue as the Red Sox were reportedly in discussions with the Baltimore Orioles last offseason about a trade that would bring Machado to Boston. The discussions could have taken place in part because Boston’s Dave Dombrowski and Dan Duquette (who was Baltimore’s GM at the time) have a relationship that dates back to their time with the Montreal Expos three decades ago, but even that relationship didn’t allow them to amount to anything in the long run.
With that being said, it’s fairly obvious that Machado can scratch Boston off his list of potential destinations. Not only have the Red Sox shown little interest in him this offseason and weren’t among the three finalists he met with, but he’s had some public spats with Boston’s players and fans.
He got a lot of heat, for instance, for sliding hard into Dustin Pedroia at second base during a game down in Baltimore back in April of 2017. Pedroia brushed it off and said “it’s baseball, man” in a postgame interview, but folks like manager John Farrell had a much stronger reaction to the move. The situation didn’t get any better when he went off on the Red Sox the next month during a postgame interview with a media scrum that had to be bleeped several times when it aired on TV and the radio.
Machado further added to the feud when he spiked first baseman Steve Pearce during the bottom of the ninth in game four of the 2018 World Series (this was one of the few times he decided to be “Johnny Hustle” and run down the first baseline). He claimed it was unintentional and that he’s “almost best friends” with Pearce, but the move definitely stirred up a lot of emotion among both fans and players.
On the other side of things, the Yankees appear to be a real possibility for Machado. They had a 90 minute meeting with him on Wednesday (and reportedly took his family out to dinner that night), can afford to pay the huge contract he’ll demand, and have consistently been among the teams wanting to sign him. On top of that, Machado grew up a Yankees fan and managing partner Hal Steinbrenner was quick to say questions about his attitude could be easily be settled with a simple conversation during the interview process.
A lot of pundits were already saying Machado was leaning towards going to New York and this new tidbit of information seems to lend credibility to those claims. As Robert Bradford of WEEI recently pointed out, him going to New York would have the benefit of giving Red Sox fans someone to hate on the Yankees. So with all that in mind, smart money is on him joining the Evil Empire and Red Sox fans should be perfectly content with it.