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Phillies Rumors: Machado open to Phillies, but they aren’t his No. 1 pick

Manny Machado is a Dodger currently, but for how long? (Ian D’Andrea/Wikimedia Commons)

The Philadelphia Phillies weren’t able to acquire superstar shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles this summer. Instead, the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team with perhaps more of a sense of urgency to win a World Series in 2018, landed Machado. But the four-time All-Star will be a free-agent this offseason, and while the Phillies would have liked to have him for the stretch run of the 2018 season, general manager Matt Klentak’s No. 1 goal was to have Machado for 2019 and beyond.

According to Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports, while the Phillies are certainly one of the teams that Machado will consider this offseason, they aren’t No. 1 on his list of potential suitors:

Machado is said by friends to be open to going to the Phillies, whose top executives including president Andy MacPhail and GM Matt Klentak originally drafted him to Baltimore.

However, the word is Philly isn’t his first choice.

What would Machado’s dream destination be? Heyman says it’s the New York Yankees:

But there are hints, and people close to Machado suggest the Yankees might just be his first choice. One Machado friend went so far as to say that Machado — who has professed his love for shortstop — would easily give up shortstop to play for the Yankees.

Machado’s desire to play for the Yankees is hardly news. Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported shortly after Machado’s trade to the Dodgers that the 26-year-old hoped to play on the East Coast long-term. He also added that Machado has “a thing” for the Yankees. Prior to the Home Run Derby, Machado’s nephew, with him at his side, told Pedro Martinez on MLB Network that if his uncle was traded, he wanted his uncle to be traded to the Yankees. That obviously didn’t happen, though it may have been a slip-up from someone too young to know any better.

Joel Sherman of The New York Post reported in July that the Yankees were high on Machado both as a hitter and a fielder “as long as he was willing to play third base.” The Yankees have a very productive 23-year-old at third base in Miguel Andujar, but if Machado, who was an all-time great fielder at third, is willing to return to third, it would certainly increase the Yankees interest. Between Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres, it would seem to make much less sense for the Yankees to issue a mega-contract to Machado as a shortstop, where he’s graded out as the worst fielder among qualified shortstops.

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Heyman reported in June that the Phillies are willing to accommodate Machado’s desire to play shortstop. When he visited Philadelphia while still playing with the Orioles in early July, he said that any team signing him this offseason would need to promise him that he would be their shortstop. Perhaps he’s willing to bend that to play for the Yankees, but that offer presumably will only stand for the Yankees.

Though some seem to have assumed managing partner John Middleton’s money (which is expected to be as much or more than any other suitor) will lure Machado to Philadelphia, it may not be that simple. It’s apparent that Machado is interested in playing for the Yankees. Maybe he simply will go to the highest bidder. But if the Yankees give Machado a competitive offer, even if a team like the Phillies offers him the most overall money, he may accept it.

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