Manny Machado is still a year away from free agency, but that hasn't stopped Aaron Judge from trying to recruit the star Baltimore Orioles shortstop to join him with the New York Yankees.
Judge and Machado spoke before their teams played a spring exhibition Wednesday. During the conversation, Judge couldn't help but sneak in a quick pitch for Machado to join him and Giancarlo Stanton in the Bronx.
"We talked a little bit, and I just asked him how his offseason was, how everything was going," Judge added. "I asked him how he liked (shortstop) and said you'd look pretty good in pinstripes, too."
How did Machado react?
"He just kind of laughed it off and didn't really say much," Judge said.
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While Machado appears to have shrugged the comments off, Major League Baseball took notice. The league released a statement Wednesday addressing what Judge said.
"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," MLB wrote in its statement. "They will speak to him to make sure that this does not happen again."
Judge also joked that he told Stanton at last year's All-Star Game in Miami that he would look good in pinstripes.
Machado is expected to be one of the top free agents in a potentially loaded class next offseason. Prior to acquiring Stanton, the Yankees were often linked to Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, the crown jewel of the class, but now having two corner outfielders in Judge and Stanton has turned Machado into the ideal target for New York.
Machado is moving back to shortstop for the Orioles this season after several years playing third base. The 25-year-old would most logically fit on the Yankees at the hot corner, with Didi Gregorius occupying shortstop, but Machado won't come cheap after three top-10 MVP finishes and All-Star selections in the past five years.
With Machado, the Yankees could build a juggernaut offense, which Judge took note of.
"Adding him to our lineup that we already got would be something special," he said.
"He's one heck of a player, and he's been doing it for quite a few years at the best level," Judge added. "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."
--Field Level Media