Angelo Cataldi is not a Manny Machado fan. Machado doesn’t hustle. He’s not a blue collar, lunch pail-carrying, Philly kind of guy.
He says it on the radio and he wrote it in a December Philly Voice column titled “Manny Machado could not be a worse fit for Philadelphia.”
Unless Machado passes up tens of millions and goes where he belongs – to his beloved Yankees, who have no soul – all I can offer is what I have learned over nearly 30 years of studying the fans of Philadelphia. What will happen, in his very first year here, will make this the worst transaction in the city’s sports history.
The first time he doesn’t run hard on a ball that hits the top of the outfield wall, he will get booed. The first time he doesn’t bust it on a ground ball that turns into an easy double play, the customers will howl even louder. At $300-million, the target will be bigger on his back than any player who has ever played here. Bet on it.
As others have said, I think we’ll settle for career averages of 31 home runs, 90 runs batted in, and a .822 OPS. I’m willing to bet that most Philly sports fans, who are smarter than Angelo thinks they are, won’t be too bothered by the occasional lazy ground ball if Machado hits anywhere near his typical numbers.
The latest installment in the Cataldi myopia series dropped this week on Voice, a masterpiece called “The Phillies ‘made the rules, it’s time to get stupid.”
Angelo, after the jump:
The Phillies are having an excellent off-season so far, but they are delusional if they think fans will be satisfied with neither Bryce Harper nor Manny Machado on the roster when spring training opens next month.
The last time anyone in the front office addressed the possibility of an off-season without signing Harper or Machado was MacPhail’s obvious attempt last month to weasel out of the pressure caused by Middleton’s boast. Like most recent public displays by the reclusive president, he failed miserably.
“If you talked to John, while he did say that we could be spending a little bit stupid, he also went to great lengths to say that one of those two signings were not going to be a prerequisite for a successful offseason,” MacPhail told MLB.com. “You can have a very successful offseason and not include either one of those [players].”
Yeah, sure. Does MacPhail think he’s still working in Minnesota or Baltimore? Does he actually believe Phillies fans will settle for a couple of hamburgers when filet mignon is on the menu? Is he so clueless that he thinks the customers will be fine with Machado playing 100 miles north in New York, or Harper heading 100 miles south back to D.C.?
So you don’t want Machado, who is “filet mignon,” but if the Phillies “settle for a couple of hamburgers” instead, then fans will be upset?
Seems like a weird stance to take, but I guess I understand what he’s saying. Obviously John Middleton has to put his money where his mouth is. I think everybody agrees with that. He can’t talk an A+ game then put together a B+ offseason. But Angelo is really just painting himself into a corner here, if not contradicting himself.
In the first column, he’s arguing that Manny Machado will be a terrible signing because he doesn’t hustle. Philly fans won’t appreciate his laziness.
In the second column, he’s saying that if the Phillies don’t sign Harper or Machado, then the offseason is a failure. Fans won’t be satisfied.
Technically you could say these ideas are mutually exclusive, the idea of Machado’s fit vs. the idea of Middleton following through on a boast. Still, it’s somewhat goofy and pigeonhole-ish when you boil Angelo’s logic down to something like this:
- the Phillies should not sign player X
- however, the Phillies offseason will be a failure if they do not sign player X or player Y
Therefore, it’s gotta be player Y or bust, right?