Let’s get this straight. I don’t expect Manny Machado to move Didi Gregorius off of shortstop so he could join the Yankees.
During the past off season, the Yankees were linked to Machado in speculative deals but that was when he was listed as a third baseman. Now that he’s become a full time shortstop with the Orioles, that speculation has waned a bit but there are still those who believe the Yankees will sign Machado and possibly trade Didi Gregorius, or move him to third base. I don’t buy that at all, nor should the Yankees. If Machado ever does join the Yankees, he would have to be willing to go back to third base.
Gregorius has done the near impossible. He has made an incredibly smooth transition in replacing a Yankee legend in Derek Jeter. The Netherlands born shortstop is fulfilling the star potential thrust on him when he signed with the Cincinnati Reds as an 18 year old in 2008.
The scouts were sold on his defense but his offense was the question mark. Could Didi, a left handed swinger, hit left handed pitching on a consistent basis? He was pretty good against the right handers but in order to be an everyday shortstop, he had to be able to hit the southpaws.
Gregorius has put those fears to rest, especially in the past two seasons. Like his predecessor, Didi has shown an ability to thrive in big moments as evidenced by last season’s playoff run and like his predecessor, he is beloved by the fan base.
Chants of “Di-Di” “Di-Di” have become commonplace at this current Yankee Stadium. It reminds me of the passion that New York Rangers’ fans had for Eddie Giacomin when chants of “Ed-die” “Ed-die” would reverberate around Madison Square Garden. Can you imagine the pressure that Machado would be under if he signs with the Yankees as the replacement for Didi? That could turn into the most pressure packed free agent signing in Yankee history.
So the Yankees have an enviable dilemma. Do they, as some have suggested, shell out big money to sign Machado and deal Gregorius to fill a need, or do they commit a long term extension to Didi.
Gregorius is arbitration eligible next season and is a free agent after the 2020 season, at which time he will be 30 years old. Machado will be 28 years old in 2020. The Yankees are going to have ante up big time if they plan to sign Machado. I don’t think anything less than six years would get it done.
The Yankees have C.C. Sabathia’s $10 million dollar contract coming off the books next season along with David Robertson’s $13 million. Additionally, Jacoby Ellsbury will have one less year on his deal and maybe (depending on his health) they can eventually move him by offering to pick up a portion of the $42 million dollars that would be left after this season. (I know about the “no-trade” clause but how he can continue to feel he has a role here is beyond me)
A four year deal with an option for a fifth would not be out of the question in 2019 for a 29-year old shortstop named Didi who is in the prime of his career.
Look for the debut of my podcast, “Karpin’s Korner” which will stream live Sunday at 10 PM, eastern time with episode #1. I’ll be discussing baseball with an emphasis on official scoring. You’ll be able to chat with me by registering on my web page https://www.365sportscast.com/karpinskorner