Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are absolute studs, but Brian Cashman didn’t love what they would bring to the locker room for the Yankees.
The New York Yankees were long thought to be favorites to sign either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado this past winter. But surprisingly, general manager Brian Cashman stayed far away from the mercurial superstars.
Of course, it’s hard to complain about the on-field production of either player. Both Harper and Machado are rocks in the middle of the lineup with MVP potential.
That being said, the Yankees were more concerned with Harper and Machado’s presence in the locker room. Bob Klapisch, co-author of “Inside The Empire: The True Power Behind the New York Yankees,” spoke with Sweeny Murti of WFANon the “30 With Murti” Podcast about Harper and Machado.
“I knew the Yankees weren’t going to be going after either one. Certainly, they just didn’t buy into Bryce Harper,” Bob Klapisch said. “Not for 10 years. Not for $300 million. Brian Cashman is no fool. If Harper cut his price or his years in half, the Yankees would have jumped on it, but not at that cost.
“Second of all, there was even less interest in Machado. The Yankees just did not want to put a player of that stature in a room without a guarantee that he would play hard every day. Because he would have been a threat to Aaron Boone’s authority…He would have also encroached on Aaron Judge’s leadership in the clubhouse, to have a superstar who didn’t play hard every day.
“And third, it would have had a corrosive effect on the young Latin players. Specifically, Gary Sanchez, who the Yankees are still trying to motivate. They’re still trying to find a way to spark him. Putting Machado in the next locker would have doomed him and that extends to Gleyber Torres and maybe [Miguel] Andujar.
“The dilemma here is that the Yankees analytics people loved both players.”
Cashman and the Yankees are often criticized for relying too heavily on analytics and numbers. This report shows that the organization still puts a premium on intangibles.
It’s clear that Cashman is looking to build around guys like Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Didi Gregorius, and Luis Severino. These are the types of guys the Yankees want in the locker room and they clearly believe they can build a championship contender around this core.
It couldn’t have been easy for Cashman to pass on the ridiculous production that Machado or Harper could have injected into the lineup. But it seems like Cashman has a plan in place and he’s sticking to it.