Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Scouting the Free Agent Market: Manny Machado

Manny Machado is the other elite free agent in this year's class.  Like Bryce Harper, he is 26 years old and has accumulated an fWAR of 30.2 to Harper's 30.7.  Machado has played more 3B in his career than SS, but has played mostly SS this year.  While Harper had that one season of 9.3 fWAR, Machado's peak season was 6.6 in 2015 but has put up 2 others of more than 6.0 and another of 5.0.  Given is age and WAR record, you have to think that Machado can expect to receive every bit as much in free agency as Harper, which will likely be much more than any free agent has received in the past.  So, let's break it down:

Hitting:  Machado bats RH.  He has averaged 35 HR's over the past 4 seasons, 3 more than Harper.  His BA has ranged from .259 to .297.  If you look at his spray chart, he's a pull hitter with the vast majority of his HR's coming between the LF foul pole and the middle of the L-CF power alley, which could play quite well in AT&T Park.

Fielding:  Machado is a better defensive 3B than SS, but he's not a disaster at SS and he gets extra WAR points for playing the tougher position.  How much longer he is passable at SS is questionable and he will almost certainly move to 3B before his contract is up.(He grades out significantly better at SS by UZR and fWAR then dWAR).

Baserunning:  Machado stole 20 bases in 2015, 0 in 2016, 9 in 2017 and 14 in 2018.  Stealing is not likely to be a significant part of his game going forward, but he should still be an asset on the basepaths.

Intangibles:  I don't know much about Machado's reputation in the clubhouse.  He did demand to play SS this season even though he is a better defender at 3B, which may indicate he is more interested in himself than the team.  On the other hand, it was the Orioles he demanded it of.  Machado has his own injury history with identical ligament tears repaired by surgery in each knee early in his career.  He has been mostly healthy for the past 4 seasons.

Price:  By the numbers, Manny Machado should be right there with Bryce Harper who is rumored to be seeking over $500 M.  For some reason, there has not been quite as much buzz about Machado's free agency as Harper's.  If Machado signs for significantly less than Harper, that would make him a relative bargain.  He also profiles as a much better fit for AT&T Park than Harper.  The Giants may not be as inclined to go after Machado because they already have players signed longterm for SS and 3B.  On the other hand, if you really think Machado is enough of a game-changer and franchise player to invest a half-billion dollars in, you should not let Brandon Crawford or Evan Longoria get in the way of a deal.  Machado would be a better fit at 3B for the Giants because they would want to keep Crawfords's defense at SS.  I believe Machado is a long shot to sign with the Giants for all the same reasons as Harper is, but I think he would be a better signing for the Giants than Harper, much as I am a Bryce fan.


  1. Sign Machado, trade Belt, move Longoria to 1B........get rid of Sandoval is an option. I prefer trading Belt, Crawford, Panik releasing Sandoval. Stocking up the Farm and playing Shaw, Aramis, Avelino, Hansen, Duggar, Slater......which requires a new GM and MANAGER.

    1. So, what do you think Machado's reaction would be if the Giants told him they would trade Belt, Crawford and Panik, move Longoria to 1B and play Shaw, Aramis, Avelino, Hansen, Duggar, Slater? "Yeah, no thanks. There are other, better teams who want to sign me."

    2. Alex Rodriguez was a GG SS when he was traded to NY but moved to 3B because Derek Jeter was the SS.
      If the Giants can make themselves look good enough to attract Machado, would moving one of the left side IFers to 2B be viable, keeping Belt because he's part of the Giants being able, somehow, to look good.
      Without making some sort of power showing in the OF, making the Giants look "good enough" might be difficult, if not impossible.
      The more $$ allocated to Machado leaves less to sign anyone else: do the Giants have resources to trade for an appropriate OFer?

  2. I too prefer Machado to Harper, and finding out if Crawford might move to 2B, which in these days of the shift may have changed in defensive difficulty from what it one was. As to the OF, I have wondered if teams just eliminated from the playoffs—NY, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago—mightn’t right now be persuaded to overpay for Bumgarner, to display a major move to their chagrined fans for 2019 PR. From trading Bum we might get a very promising outfielder plus as promising a young pitcher as TINSTAAPP permits, and look for 2019’s version of Derek Holland to join the 2018 Holland, D-Rod, Suarez, and Samardzija? Stratton? The wraith of Christy Mathewson? in the rotation.

    If Crawford were manning a position on either side of Machado, any concern about Machado’s UZR would be diminished, wouldn’t it, given how much ground Crawford covers?

    1. I do think there would be competition for Bumgarner if the Giants put him on the trading block.

      I guess I wouldn't care about Machado's UZR as long as the plays are being made by someone.

  3. Is Brandon Belt for Aaron Hicks out of the question?
    Seems both teams would benefit from this. In addition, the Giants get some financial space.
    It seems that the Yankees and Giants have some things to talk about.
    Besides Bumgarner, would the Yankees need another CFer? Gorkys is slightly positive CFer (dWAR, not UZR) and he might hit 25 HRs in Yankee Stadium.

  4. We get the Yankee broadcasts here, and i thought the Yankees should have overpaid for Madbum. They have a great lineup led by Judge, Stanton, Sanchez, great bullpen led by Chapman, but a rotation led by Tanaka, Severino who's getting there and he's young, along with pitchers they've traded for like JA Happ, Lance Lynn, and Sonny Gray who pitched ok but struggled at times. CC Sabathia is getting old too. The Yankees can sign all the Bats they want, but maybe they need to upgrade the rotation with a pitcher like Madbum to compete for the ring.