Next year’s free agent class is so full that it might have had a tidal effect on this offseason’s class, depressing prices and pushing teams to consider long-term luxury tax ramifications if they want to splurge next year too.
One of the jewels of the class, barring a highly-improbably last-minute extension, is Orioles superstar Manny Machado. Machado will hit free agency at 26, and is likely to command a deservedly massive contract. When massive contracts are involved, the Yankees are involved, so it’s no surprise that they’re considered among the frontrunners for Machado’s services.
What is a surprise is that current Yankee Aaron Judge was so willing to talk about it now.
Via the New York Daily News:
Manny Machado won’t be a free agent until the offseason, but Aaron Judge is already making his pitch to the All-Star shortstop on why he should join the Yankees. And while it’s understandable why Judge would want the slugger to be part of an already fierce lineup, he committed a no-no in the eyes of MLB and was warned by the Yankees not to do it again.
“Adding him to our lineup that we’ve already got would be something special,” Judge said. “I told him he’d look good in pinstripes.”
Judge made his pitch to Machado before Wednesday’s spring training game. “He just kind of laughed it off and didn’t really say much,” Judge said.
If you’re wondering whether not that constitutes tampering, you’d be correct to wonder! In fact, the league has already warned the Yankees, who warned Judge in turn.
After being contacted by the Daily News, MLB issued a statement saying: “We have been in contact with the Yankees. They communicated to us that Mr. Judge’s off the cuff comments were not appropriate and not authorized by the club. They will speak to him to make sure that this does not happen again.”
Of course, this is mostly a lot ado about nothing; players talk like this all the time, either in person or via text. The NBA has been (in)famous for it for a while now; if pictures emerge of Judge and Machado together on a banana boat, maybe then baseball will have risen to basketball’s level on the subject. Regardless, what Judge and the Yankees are being warned about here is how obvious they’re being. The league has no power to demand player texts, and it’s not like they’re recording conversations.
Players chat on the field all the time. It’s not that big of a deal, and in fact it’s kind of refreshing to hear it addressed so openly; that the openness was swiftly rebuked by the league office was all too predictable.