BALTIMORE – The Manny Machado race is in full swing - and apparently No. 13 thinks he’d look good in a Yankee uniform.
On Wednesday, Machado “liked” an Instagram post from his verified account - “machados13” - that showed him wearing the Yankees’ gray road uniform.
Yeah, that actually happened.
The Bombers reportedly made what was described as a “serious offer” for the Orioles superstar shortstop, per baseball reporter Jon Heyman, though it smartly did not include the team’s top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield, according to MASN.
The Orioles asked for Sheffield and Estevan Florial, and have been interested in Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier, according to sources. But the Daily News reported that the Yankees aren’t interested in giving up any of their top prospects for what could be a two-plus month rental.
If Brian Cashman can pull off another steal, like he did for Giancarlo Stanton in the offseason, sacrificing lesser prospects in exchange for Machado, it would be impressive. A package could perhaps be built around the likes of pitching prospect Chance Adams and MLB-experienced infielder Brandon Drury, among others.
Machado, who can be a free agent at season’s end, is highly coveted. The 26-year-old shortstop has 23 homers, 63 RBI and a .957 OPS.
It would be surprising if he ends up in pinstripes by the July 31 trade deadline, however, mostly because Orioles owner Peter Angelos loathes the Yankees. But it could happen if the Yankees make the best offer, better than the likes of Milwaukee, the Dodgers and Philadelphia.
Machado hitting between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton would make Murderers’ Row 2.0 even more lethal than it already is. He grew up idolizing ex-Yankee Alex Rodriguez, and wears No. 13 because of A-Rod.
Machado has said he’ll only play shortstop for a contender - perhaps complicating matters - but A-Rod switched positions to play next to Derek Jeter, so maybe Machado will follow suit and go back to third.
That would allow Didi Gregorius, the better defender of the two, to remain at short, with Machado serving as an elite defender at the hot corner. Andujar, who has been terrific since being promoted, would likely need to go back to the minors or play some first base.
But Greg Bird has posted back-to-back four RBI games, an encouraging sign given how slowly he started coming back from right ankle surgery.
Bird belted his first-career grand slam in the Yankees’ 9-0 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards.
“All I can say is I know we’ll be active in trying to better our club,” Aaron Boone said before the game. “Whether that comes to fruition, it takes two parties to tango, so I know Brian (Cashman) is working overtime and exhausting every option. And if it makes sense for us not only in the short-term but the long-term I’m sure it’s something that we’ll potentially do. But I don’t think anything is for sure.”
The Yankees still need starting pitching more than anything – even after maligned starter Sonny Gray delivered six shutout innings against a terrible offensive team he usually pitches well against. Gray has a 2.00 ERA in three starts against the Orioles and a 7.59 ERA against .500-plus teams this season.
The Bombers have been interested in J.A. Happ, a No. 3-4 starter who may be the best available, given that difference-making ace-types like Jacob deGrom don’t figure to be traded to the Bronx, if at all.
That could make Sheffield, the 22-year-old lefty who has been pitching well of late at Triple-A Scranton, a key factor if he is promoted. Scouts say he’s big-league ready and has plus-stuff, even if the Yankees don’t feel that way just yet.
The Bombers have also shown interest in Baltimore closer Zach Britton and starter Kevin Gausman.
After splitting with the lowly Orioles, the Yankees are headed to Cleveland for a four-game series with the Indians before the All-Star break. Thursday night’s game will be a marquee matchup, Luis Severino versus Corey Kluber.
“I’m looking forward to Sevvy,” Boone said. “I don’t know about Kluber.”
The Yankees are 16-6 against teams currently in AL playoff position, but just 9-9 against all last-place clubs they’ve faced, according to YES Network research.
“Our guys I feel like have been really competitive against the best, and I think that’s a good trait that our guys have,” Boone said. “I think they relish the challenge of facing the best, and when you’re facing Kluber, that’s the case, so hopefully we can scratch some runs together for Sevvy.”
That game, though, may be overshadowed by Manny Machado and his apparent desire to wear pinstripes.