Red Sox Rumors: Manny Machado heading back to the AL East
By Sean Penney
Rumors that free agent infielder Manny Machado is heading back to the AL East could present the Red Sox with a stiffer challenge winning the division.
The last time we saw Manny Machado he struck out chasing a slider from Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale to end the World Series. The next time we see him, Machado may be wearing the uniform of a division rival.
Toronto Blue Jay pitcher Marcus Stroman set social media ablaze Saturday morning with a not-so-subtle tweet about a certain Gold Glove award-winning third baseman/shortstop joining the AL East. It’s clear he was talking about Machado.
It’s also clear that Stroman is no ace reporter. Sure, he could have connections with Machado or someone close to him who told him about the star infielder’s plans but it’s doubtful he would spoil the negotiating leverage of a fellow MLB player by leaking the information.
The Blue Jays aren’t a suitor for Machado. They aren’t close enough to contending to make that move, plus they have top prospects Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette in the pipeline. If Toronto were to surprise us with a stealth play for Machado, the front office would surely frown on Stroman tweeting about it.
It turns out Stroman has no inside source. He admitted that he was speculating based on rumors, just like the rest of us. Hey, Stroman may have a future as a blogger if his pitching career doesn’t recover from a disastrous 2018 season!
Rumors have to start somewhere though and where there’s smoke there’s fire. Shortly after Stroman’s tweet went viral, a Sports Illustrated report revealed a new rumor that the New York Yankees had offered Machado a 7 or 8 year deal in the range of $220 million.
This is hardly confirmation that Machado is on the verge of wearing pinstripes. The offer is well short of what Machado initially expected but spring training is about to begin and this is the largest contract any team has reportedly presented to the star free agent. The same report mentions that the Chicago White Sox haven’t budged from their $175 million offer.
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The Philadelphia Phillies remain interested and could be more inclined to make a splash after pulling off a trade for All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto. There’s always a mystery team lurking somewhere. The race for Machado isn’t over yet but the Yankees appear to be in the lead if this $220 million offer is on the table.
New York seemed as if they would be sitting out the Machado sweepstakes, content to wait for Nolan Arenado to hit the market next year. But when reports surfaced that the Colorado Rockies are working on a long-term extension with their star third baseman, the news may have spurred the Yankees to act now.
The rumor mill will keep churning until Machado finally makes a decision. More rumors are bound to pop up in the meantime but one destination we can cross of the list is Boston. The front office is so concerned about the luxury tax that they’ve been reluctant to bring back closer Craig Kimbrel. There’s no chance that they spend more than double Kimbrel’s asking price to lock up Machado – a player who hasn’t exactly endeared himself to Red Sox Nation over the years.
For all his talents, Boston would find it difficult to embrace Machado as a hero. He’s better suited as the villain in these parts, which means a return to the AL East wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. He certainly would improve the roster of a rival but injecting Machado into the mix would make the division race that much more interesting.