Reports: Yankees Not Expected to Pursue Bryce Harper, ‘Lukewarm’ on Manny Machado

The hot stove has only been going for a few hours, but it appears as though one of the biggest logs may not be thrown in. If, that is, you believe the reports about the Yankees possibly being out on both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Removing one of the biggest players from what figures to be a limited market is interesting, but it’s also a little dubious at this early stage.

According to SNY’s Andy Martino, “the Yankees’ early feeling is that Harper simply doesn’t fit” on a roster in which the outfield and DH spots are already ably occupied. The Yankees reportedly determined during their recently-concluded pro scouting meetings that a pursuit of Harper would not be part of their offseason strategy.

Martino also reported that those same meetings yielded a “lukewarm” feeling about going after Machado, an opinion fueled by the shortstop’s antics in the postseason. Therein lies the dubious part, since Machado spent his entire career prior to his mid-season trade to LA playing in the Yankees’ division. Which is to say they knew darn well who he was prior to this year’s playoffs.

If anything, New York should be lukewarm on Machado due to the wealth of talented young infielders they already boast. And you’d think stating it from that perspective would make more sense all the way around. But the way it’s phrased here makes it sound like the Yankees are simply trying not to show their hand while creating a little leverage.

Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweeted very early Monday morning that one GM’s estimate put Machado’s next contract at $225-230 million, or about $100 million less than some previous estimates. Call me crazy, but it seems like front offices are much more concerned with how they can leverage those “antics” to drive Machado’s price down than they are about his actual character and behavior moving forward.

The Harper stuff checks out a little more easily, though it’s still hard to imagine the Yanks being totally out on him. Unless they know Harper’s mind is already made up and he’s going elsewhere (it was a joke, but still), in which case their pursuit would be in vain. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

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