Bleacher Report suggests that the New York Yankees’ decision to watch the Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sweepstakes from the sidelines this winter could be a big mistake that comes back to haunt them. Harper and Machado — who are considered two of the best players of their generation — signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for 13 years and $330 million and the San Diego Padres for 10 years and $300 million, respectively.
But the Yankees decided to stick to the sidelines and ended up scooping up left-hander James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners and made a few other ancillary moves.
The trouble, per Bleacher Report, is that the team’s players are dropping like flies. Shortstop Didi Gregorius is out until June or later due to Tommy John surgery; starting pitcher Luis Severino and relief pitcher Dellin Betances both have shoulder problems; outfielder Aaron Hicks is out with a back injury; slugger Giancarlo Stanton has a biceps strain; and Brett Gardner — supposedly the center field backup plan — is hitting just 0.143 with a 0.503 on-base plus slugging (OPS). In terms of outfield options, the Yankees might have to rely on 28-year-old Mike Tauchman, who only had 52 MLB games under his belt before this season.
According to Newsday, Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner said that the Yankee’s did meet with both players and even discussed signing Harper to play first base during the offseason — which MLB Network’s Jon Morosi called “unrealistic.” Regardless, nothing came of either talk.
“These are two incredibly talented players. We talked about it and discussed it and opinions varied on both players, but I really felt our need if we’re going to go out and spend hundreds of millions of dollars, our need was pitching.”
— Michael R. Plaisance (@MikeRPlaisance) March 31, 2019
Per Yahoo News, the Yankees lost their third game of the early season to the Detroit Tigers, losing 3-1. The team hit their lone score during the second inning thanks to a Clint Frazier sacrifice fly. But the Tigers ended up scoring in the sixth and ninth innings, with runs from Dustin Peterson, John Hicks, and Jordy Mercer.
The Yankees used to cut fat checks to big free agents before knowing where to put them — a quick look at 2009 and 2014 shows as much. So why didn’t they do that for Harper or Machado? It appears that the Yankees of today aren’t the same. Although the 2019 season is still young, the Yankees’ health problems don’t bode well for the team’s future and could likely be a sign that they will become spectators once the playoffs come around.