The New York Yankees have always been linked to big-time players. The Giancarlo Stanton trade last winter is a big proof that Brian Cashman always gets what he wants, no matter how lucrative and controversial the acquisition would be.
With Manny Machado viewed as a prime trade candidate this season, all eyes will be once again on the Yankees as they try to move heaven and earth in their quest of bringing yet another superstar slugger into the fold.
However, Jack Margaros of FanSided blog site Yanks Go Yard opined that the Yankees actually don’t need Machado anymore because Didi Gregorius is proving to be a valuable piece of the team’s present and future.
While he understands a trade for Machado would add more firepower to an already formidable batting corps, Margaros thinks a trade for the Baltimore Orioles star would just dislodge Gregorius from his shortstop duties, severely affecting his development as a multi-tool star.
“Since Machado wants to play shortstop, the Yanks would have to either trade Didi Gregorius or make him move to another position. The outfield is packed, so the only other viable option would be second base.”
Gregorius, who batted 0.287 with 25 homers, 87 RBIs, and 157 hits last season, is off to a strong start this year, as he’s batting 0.397 with a crisp slugging percentage of 0.957 in 23 at-bats. The 28-year-old shortstop had a sensational performance this week, recording two homers, four hits, and eight RBIs in the series-opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.
After stints with the Cincinnati Reds and the Arizona Diamondbacks, Gregorius has established himself as a fan favorite among Bronx Bombers fans, and the idea of shipping him elsewhere to facilitate the arrival of a big-name player like Machado would be a major PR blunder.
Of course, the Yankees could just trade for Machado in July and figure out their positions later. But even so, there won’t be enough money left for Gregorius once the Yankees absorb another big earner who will possibly get a new contract worth at least $27 million per year.
Mike Calendrillo, who also writes for Yanks Go Yard, wants the Yankees to re-sign Gregorius now before he becomes too expensive for them to retain. Gregorius is already the ninth highest paid shortstop in the MLB at $8.5 million per year after settling the price in his third-arbitration eligible season.
He’s set to become a free agent in 2020, and many teams are expected to pursue the blooming slugger from the Netherlands. According to Spotrac, Gregorius’ current market value stands at $86.5 million over five years or $17.3 million per season. Calendrillo has little doubt the Yankees shortstop can pocket at least $15 million per year or even $17 million per season if he continues to put up strong numbers in the next two seasons.