New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner reveals his love for Manny Machado circa the famous dinner meeting during the hot stove season.
How does Machado’s camp respond? What do the Yankees do about it? How do the other teams in the running feel about the bomb?
As a result of the team’s famous dinner meeting with Machado earlier in the offseason, Steinbrenner revealed his true feelings. Among his unveiled insight, he labeled Machado a “very good kid.”
Everybody thought he was great. Very down-to-earth, intelligent. Everybody loved his wife. She was great. My people have been around long enough that I have implicit trust in them and when Cashman and Randy tell me he’s a very good kid, then I’m going to believe them.”
The principles present at the dinner were Machado and his wife, Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman, president Randy Levine, and special assistant Carlos Beltran.
Machado, 26, is, of course, the best free agent on the market this side of Bryce Harper. In 2018 with two teams (the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers), he clubbed 37 home runs to go along with 137 runs batted in and a crisp .297 batting average.
It matters very little in terms of free-agent activity. Machado remains unsigned just days prior to pitchers and catchers reporting to Tampa, Florida. The free-agent dance has continued with several teams all offseason long.
Brian Cashman, when speaking about Machado, has always left himself and the franchise flexibility regarding the righty slugger.
“He’s obviously a tremendous player, but you don’t get the chance to break bread with players from opposing teams very much, so I got the chance to meet with Manny and his wife, and got to know them better and can report they are great people,” Cashman said. “I thought we had a good experience when they came to the Stadium and we had dinner together. That was a real positive experience from our perspective … it was an opportunity for the Machado family to get to know the potential future employers. It doesn’t mean it will lead to anything.”
Prevailing wisdom has Machado wanting to make the Bronx his next home. It also has the New York Yankees unsure if a long-term deal is the right fit—especially with such a heavy right-handed lineup in place.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s now all coming together at this very late stage. It sure feels like Hal Steinbrenner will sign off on the move.