As the Yankees embark on what is expected to be a very busy offseason in 2019, the intrigue of signing 26-year-old All-Star Manny Machado always been at the table.
But the prospect of playing the Big Apple comes with a lot of responsibility. If the champion mentality or failure of the Yankees was not enough, the fanatical fan base and the media surrounding a New York athlete is sometimes too much to deal with.
No one knows that better than the former Yankees coach and Mets player Joe Torre. The Manager of the Year's two-time recipient knows what it takes to win in New York, and during that time he saw certain players thrive or fall from the bottom of the pit during their time here.
So he thinks Machado has what it takes to bloom with the brightest lights in the game at all times?
"We all know he's talented," said SNY's Anthony McCarron during the 16th annual New York Gala which benefited the Tower's Safe At Home Foundation late Thursday. "Playing in NY is something different, it's something different, we've already seen players change who they were when they came to New York and you do not really know until you get there, but there's no doubt about his skill. Unfortunately, he had a couple of sobs that did not feel good in the postseason, but it had nothing to do with his ability. "
We all know that Machado is one of the great young talents in the game right now. However, he caught some serious criticism for his lack of commentary in this post-season.
"I'm not going to change," Machado said during the playoffs. "I'm not the type of player who's going to be Johnny Hustle, and I run down and slide to first base … and you know, anything that can happen." This is not just my personality This is not my cup of tea, it's not who I am.
And those comments have clearly risen in the Yankees food chain, with Hal Steinbreener, managing partner, saying it's "essential," he clarifies them if he wants to see his megadelo come from the Bronx.
But Torre, who serves as MLB's Chief Baseball Officer, did not examine Machado's comments as much as the others.
"I have not read any of this," he explained. "I do not know, I did not hear that, I'm not sure I could have played these days with social media and the whole thing, I think things are a bit more difficult for players and managers."
It will be interesting to see what the Yankees decide to do with Machado when the Winter Encounter arrives. On the one hand, players like Dellin Betances I would love to have Ax to "put us on top". But SNY's Andy Martino has reported that the Yankees appear to be "lukewarm" with him at the moment.
Tower seems to be in that realm too, saying the Yankees' offense is high octane to begin with. They do not necessarily need Machado, and that's why he played pitching, and how that's where he focused on the past.
"They will score races, Manny Machado or not Manny Machado," Torre said. "We focused so often that I was pitching – you have to get the outs, and their bullpen is dynamite, but they're strong."
Torre – like most of the others – believes that Machado has the ability to succeed wherever he is. Whether or not it will be striped is the real issue.