One year after attempting to woo Giancarlo Stanton to his New York Yankees, Aaron Judge is trying to recruit another one of baseball’s most feared hitters to add to his team’s already dangerous lineup.
Judge told reporters in Sarasota, Florida, that before Wednesday’s spring training game between the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, he pitched O’s shortstop Manny Machado on coming to the Bronx. The All-Star infielder will be a free agent next offseason.
“Adding him to our lineup that we already got would be something special,” Judge told reporters. “I told him he’d look good in pinstripes.”
Judge said Machado laughed off the recruiting pitch and didn’t really say anything in response.
“We talked a little bit, and I just asked him how his offseason was, how everything was going,” Judge said. “I asked him how he liked short and said, ‘You’d look pretty good in pinstripes, too.'”
Machado made the official move to shortstop this offseason after spending the bulk of his six-season career at third base. Although he has appeared in nearly 800 games, only 52 of them had been spent playing shortstop previous to this season. Machado has a .279 lifetime batting average with 138 career home runs. He has homer totals of 35, 37 and 33 in the past three seasons.
Due $16 million from the Orioles this season and possibly worth nearly double that amount on the open market next winter, Machado could be a costly addition for the Yankees. That potential addition also would have to take into account the Yankees’ feelings about promising young infield prospects Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, Keith Law’s No. 5-rated prospect in baseball.
Offensively, Machado would be a welcome addition to a lineup that already includes the big bats of Judge (52 home runs in 2017), Stanton (major league-leading 59 homers in 2017), Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius. New York’s current shortstop, Gregorius, is eligible to be a free agent after the 2019 season.
Judge joked that he told Stanton at last year’s All-Star Game in Miami he also would look good in pinstripes. In December, the Yankees traded with the Miami Marlins to land Stanton.
Although Judge would like to play with Machado, he’s confident the shortstop will ultimately land next offseason wherever he is happiest — even if that isn’t New York.
“He’s one heck of a player, and he’s been doing it for quite a few years at the best level,” Judge told reporters. “He’s one of the best — if not the best — defensive third basemen in the game, and now he’s probably going to be one of the best defensive shortstops. With what he brings on the offensive side of it, he’s the complete package. He’s going to be a happy man when it comes to free agency, and picking where he wants to go.”