New York Yankees: Manny Machado would be pure luxury

SARASOTA, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Manny Machado (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
SARASOTA, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Manny Machado (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The New York Yankees will have plenty of money to spend on Manny Machado next offseason, but based on their current roster, he would be pure luxury.

The New York Yankees have stayed under the $197 million luxury tax threshold this season so they can go after next year’s star-studded free agent class. The top free agents include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, and Dallas Keuchel. Machado is at the top of most Yankees fans’ wish lists, but the Bronx Bombers don’t really need him.

Machado is a great player. He’s proven that this series, going 5-for-13 (.385) with two home runs and four RBI in the first three games. He’s also continued to play Gold Glove-caliber defense after moving from third base to shortstop. Machado’s move to shortstop, however, has put up another roadblock in his path to the Bronx.

As good as Manny Machado is, the Yankees already have one of the game’s best shortstops in Didi Gregorius. Didi is hitting .367 with three home runs and 10 RBI in the first nine games of the season. Of Gregorius’s 11 hits, nine of them are for extra bases and he’s scored 10 runs. He also plays great defense at short.

New York could always ask Machado to go back to third base, right? It’s conceivable that Machado would make that sacrifice to play for the Yankees, especially if there’s more money involved. However, the Yankees just traded for Brandon Drury this offseason. New York sees big-time potential in Drury and they have him under control through 2021.

The Yankees also have third base prospect Miguel Andujar who has dominated minor league pitching and is looking to get things going at the major league level this season after going 3-4 with four RBI in his big league debut last year. Andujar should be getting regular at-bats while Drury is on the disabled list and he’s under control through 2023.

Andujar’s defense is suspect and Drury was the starting second baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks last year. So Andujar could be a DH/pinch hitter and Drury could play second while Machado holds down the hot corner, right? Well, the second base depth chart is a bit of a logjam as well.

Neil Walker is playing on a one-year deal so he is not in Machado’s way. He’ll likely be gone next year regardless. However, the New York Yankees really believe in Tyler Wade. Wade struggled in the big leagues last season but the Yankees don’t think that was the true Wade. His bat has not come around quite yet this year but he does have a pair of doubles and three RBI so far. He’s also very good defensively and can use his speed to cause problems on the base paths. Wade is under control through 2023.

The Yankees have been moving Wade around defensively, though, to turn him into more of a utility player. He can play second, third, short, and all three outfield spots. He’s being turned into a utility player to make room for Machado, right? Actually, Wade is doing that to make room for top prospect Gleyber Torres.

Torres is the Yankees’ top prospect and was the top prospect in all of baseball last year before needing Tommy John surgery. Had he been healthy, he likely would have been manning the hot corner in the Bronx down the stretch last season. Torres is a natural shortstop but won’t unseat Gregorius at the major league level. He’s been transitioning to second and third base, with second base seeming like the better fit after the Yankees traded Starlin Castro this offseason. Torres has not even started his service time clock yet but he’s definitely a long-term piece for New York.

Also, let’s not forget Ronald Torreyes who plays quality defense no matter where you put him and can hit even without regular at-bats. Torreyes is a fan favorite and although his ceiling is not as high as anyone else we’ve mentioned, he’ll be a tough guy to take a roster spot away from.

Next: New York Yankees lineup is scary deep

So with Gregorius, Drury, Andujar, Wade, Torres, and Torreyes all fighting for three starting spots and a bench spot or two, where do you put Machado? Machado has more natural talent than most of these guys, but he’ll also come at a much higher price.

Manny Machado would certainly look good in pinstripes, but he’d be a luxury for the New York Yankees. Then again, the Bronx Bombers sure do love their luxuries.