Manny Machado won’t be a free agent until the 2018 baseball season ends, but the speculation of where he will end up is already running rampant. The Orioles appear to be in a complete rebuild, so the power hitting infielder will almost certainly find himself in a new uniform within the next 12-months (including the possibility of being moved at the trade deadline, but that’s another story).
When the O’s and the Yankees got together for a Spring Training game on Wednesday, a short exchange between Machado and Yankees star Aaron Judge caught the unwanted attention of the MLB front office.
“We talked a little bit, and I just asked him how his offseason was, how everything was going,” Judge said after the game. “I asked him how he liked short and said, ‘You’d look pretty good in pinstripes, too.'”
The exchange happened in the middle of the game, after Judge reached second base. Machado reportedly laughed off the playful banter, but the league wasn’t impressed.
“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,” the league said in its statement, according to ESPN. “They will speak to him to make sure that this does not happen again.”
When Judge learned that he was in a bit of hot water, he quickly backtracked.
Judge said Thursday that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman called him Wednesday night to tell him that “MLB is sensitive to that kind of stuff.” Judge said the message sank in quickly, and that the phone call lasted about 30 seconds.
“It was all new to me,” Judge added. “Lesson learned.”
Judge also downplayed his pitch and said he now knows those talks are off limits.
“It just kind of came up in passing,” he said. “Now I know. You learn something new every day.”
Judge followed that up by saying that Machado is one of the best young players in baseball, and will be “a happy man” no matter where he signs next winter. In the meantime, maybe he should save the free agency pitches for Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.