Machado is scheduled to visit the Phillies on Thursday, December 20th. This is one of the three known stops on Machado’s free-agent tour. The other two teams set to meet with him are the White Sox (Tuesday) and Yankees (Wednesday). I think almost everyone has expected Machado to sign with the Yankees this offseason. But I believe the Phillies have a good shot. This is how I would pitch Machado on the possibility of signing with the Phillies.
Where he came from
The first thing I would do with my pitch is talk to Machado where he came from. He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and spent all of his career there until the second half of last season. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and made it to the World Series for the first time in his career.
This is where I will talk about how when he was in Baltimore, he really didn’t have much protection. He had Chris Davis (maybe one actual season), Adam Jones (Good player, but you would rather face Jones and not Machado), and Johnathan Scope (Also maybe one good season). This is the opposite of what the Phillies can offer him. Rhys Hoskins has proven for about 1.5 seasons that he is a real threat at the plate. Pitching Machado that protection behind him and the fact that he will not have to do it all himself should go a long way.
Is it about money or winning?
The problem with this question is that only Machado knows the answer to this question. He tasted winning and an extended postseason run for the first time this past season. Before anyone gets mad, yes the Orioles made it to the ALCS with Machado on the roster but that was it. The World Series is a whole different animal. I would like to sit here and tell you that Machado views winning as more important than money, but that is only what I think.
Also, another good thing about this situation is the fact that the Phillies can answer both parts of this question. They have the money to spend on Machado, and they are on the brink of becoming a real contender. Hence this is where I would start to talk about how the addition of Machado elevates the Phillies to a championship contender.
What does Machado add to the Phillies?
I don’t think I need to tell you how good Machado is. Over the course of his career, he has averaged .282/.335/.487 with 31 home runs and 90 RBIs. Furthermore, over the past four seasons, he has hit over 33 home runs each season. When you pair that offense with Hoskins, it creates a great one two punch or a great three and four in the batting order.
Even though his offensive numbers are crazy, his defense is even better. Machado has two career Gold Gloves and is arguably the best defensive third baseman in baseball. However, Machado has said that he wants to play shortstop. This will make it interesting because the Phillies just recently acquired Jean Segura in a trade with the Mariners. If I’m Matt Klentak and Gabe Kapler, I tell Machado that no matter if he is playing short or third base, the left side of the infield could potentially be one of the best defensively in baseball.
The Phillies give Machado a unique opportunity
There has been much talk about how he is going to sign with the Yankees. I could see that happening, but the Phillies give him an opportunity to be the face of their franchise for years to come. This is not the case for the Yankees. The face of the Yankees is without a doubt Aaron Judge, and that isn’t changing with the addition of Machado. The question becomes, does he want to be the face of an organization? My guess is yes. He was the face of the Orioles for basically his entire career. Superstars like him always want to be the face of the city they are playing for.
Whether or not Machado decides to sign with the Phillies, the 2019 season is still looking promising for the Phillies. They have added All-star shortstop Segura, traded for a left-hander in the bullpen, and signed Andrew McCutchen. Furthermore, the addition of Segura allows for Hoskins to play his natural position of first base, while also adding an improvement at the shortstop position. This will help to improve the overall defense of the Phillies.
The book is out on where Machado will sign this offseason, but I think I make a strong case of Philadelphia. He will instantly become the face of the Phillies, there is protection for him in the form of Hoskins, and he has the chance to help bring a championship back to Philadelphia. As a result, These seem like great reasons to sign with the Phillies. Oh and they have the money it will take to sign him, I almost forgot about that.