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Hittin’ Season #245: Are the Yankees doubting they’ll get Machado?

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The acquisition of Troy Tulowitzki may give a window into their thought process right now.

MLB: World Series-Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Trying to read the tea leaves during the MLB Hot Stove can be a laborious task and, very often, you end up being wrong. And by writing this, I certainly admit that this take could be completely off the mark.

However, the Yankees’ signing of Troy Tulowitzki to a league minimum deal is interesting and could give a window into how the team feels its chances are of landing prized free agent Manny Machado.

Obviously, signing Tulo to a league-minimum deal, especially a guy played just 66 games last year for Toronto and hasn’t had a wRC+ above 104 in the last three years, doesn’t guarantee him a spot starting at shortstop and doesn’t prevent the Yankees from signing Manny. But he is insurance, and the only reason insurance is needed is to protect you from something bad happening.

In this case, the New York Yankees are guarding against the possibility they won’t land Manny Machado, which says two things: Machado has not told the Yankees he will play for them, and New York has their doubts that he will.

That’s big news for everyone who has simply been assuming a deal has been reached already and that an announcement was imminent. Clearly, the White Sox and Phillies are still very much in the mix, otherwise New York would not have gone to the trouble of signing Tulo, even on a contract as cheap as this one.

Obviously, Manny might still choose the Yankees. In fact, the odds are good he will. The Yankees are his number one choice, and if the deals are similar, there is little doubt he will choose to play there. But the signing of Tulowitzki indicates the Yankees probably know their offer will not be better than one offered by Philadelphia, who ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported yesterday was prepared to offer at least a 10-year deal to either Machado or Bryce Harper.

It does not feel as if a deal is close yet, and Passan reported both Machado and Harper could linger as free agents into February. That would be nightmarishly slow, of course.

Nevertheless, the Tulo signing by New York is an indication to me that Machado to New York is not the slam dunk everyone assumed it would be.

On Hittin’ Season Episode 245, host John Stolnis talks to Tyler Kepner of the NY Times about the latest news regarding Manny Machado, Bryce Harper and other potential Hot Stove news involving the Phillies. Also, what should the Phils do if they don’t land Macharper?