Red Sox shouldn’t be concerned if Manny Machado joins Yankees
By Sean Penney
Upgrading the lineup
The Yankees led the majors in home runs and trailed only the Red Sox in runs scored this year. Machado’s most desirable traits are what the Yankees already do best. I suppose it can’t hurt to upgrade an already lethal lineup but a bat wasn’t exactly New York’s biggest priority.
Machado hit .297 with a .905 OPS, 37 home runs, 107 RBI, and 141 wRC+ this season. Those numbers aren’t quite in the same tier as MVP winners Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich but they may have put Machado in the conversation if he hadn’t switched leagues mid-season.
A career year in a contract season can often be viewed with a fair amount of skepticism. That’s probably not the case with Machado, who has several elite seasons on his resume and has blasted 33+ home runs in four consecutive years. He has shown a relatively low floor though, as recently as 2017 when he hit .259 with a .782 OPS and a barely above-average 103 wRC+ in Baltimore.
A lineup featuring Machado, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez seems imposing on paper but is far less formidable if the Yankees get the 2017 version of Manny. Stanton’s debut season in the Bronx was a big step back from his MVP campaign in Miami, so we can’t assume that joining the Yankees lineup will be a boon for Machado’s bat.
We saw a noticeable drop in Machado’s production after he was traded to Los Angeles. He hit .273 with a .825 OPS in 66 games wearing Dodger blue. Granted, the Dodgers play in a pitcher-friendly park but they also have a lineup that is arguably deeper and more formidable than what the Yankees would surround Machado with.
Let’s not forget that the postseason is what matters most. Machado is a career .213/.268/.382 hitter in 23 career postseason games. He was a pitiful 4-for-22 (.182) without an extra-base hit against the Red Sox in the World Series, the lasting impression of which was Machado falling to one knee chasing a Chris Sale slider for strike three to record the series-sealing out.