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Hal Steinbrenner: Manny Machado’s ‘troubling’ comments cause for concern

The New York Yankees may make a run at Manny Machado in free agency. The team, though, reportedly has been hot and cold on that front. However, if the Yankees do approach Machado, the superstar will first have some explaining to do about some controversial comments he recently made.

Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, while speaking at MLB owners’ meetings Wednesday, addressed Machado’s “troubling” talk during the NLCS and how it will impact their interest. Steinbrenner suggests Machado’s comments will have to be reconciled by Yankees brass before the organization would make a substantial financial commitment.

“If it’s a $300 million guy or a $10 million guy, clearly those comments are troubling,” Steinbrenner said, via the New York Post. “But that’s really [general manager Brian Cashman’s] job. If we’re interested in any player, sit down with him face to face and ask him, ‘Where did this come from? What was the context around the entire interview? Was there a point you were trying to [make]? How do you justify it?’

“Because that ain’t gonna sell where we play baseball. That conversation will happen no matter who it is.”

The comments in question came from Machado’s interview with The Athletic during the Los Angeles Dodgers’ showdown with the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS.

Machado came under fire for not legging out a groundout during Game 2 of the series. Machado explained himself as follows:

“Obviously I’m not going to change, I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,’ and run down the line and slide to first base and … you know, whatever can happen. That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.”

There is no shortage of red flags when it comes to Machado, so much so some teams reportedly have decided against going after him in free agency. That said, Machado’s remarkable talent will inspire some teams to overlook his shortcomings, just not the Yankees.

That’s not to suggest that Steinbrenner might be engaging in a bit of gamesmanship here, either, to throw other teams off the scent.