The Yankees will be hosting free agent Manny Machado at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. So when the news broke on MLB.com on Tuesday that former Yankee Carlos Beltran had been hired by the club as a special advisor to general manager Brian Cashman, some wondered if that was a move designed to help with the recruitment of Machado.
Beltran’s agent during his playing days was Dan Lozano, who also happens to be Machado’s agent. But Beltran told ESPN.com that he didn’t take the job to help the Yankees woo Machado.
"That is pure coincidence," Beltran said. "I have been discussing this with Cashman for some time now, and on Monday I made the decision to accept it. My job will have nothing to do with Machado´s situation. But I did tell Cashman that I am available to help in whatever is needed and also with the recruitment of Machado if that is necessary."
Actually, it’s not even clear if the Yankees are truly “recruiting” Machado or are just doing what Cashman likes to call “checking off the boxes.” When one of the best players in baseball wants to meet with you, you take the meeting.
The Yankees have not to date signaled that they are planning an all-out offensive to bring Machado to the Bronx. They certainly have an opening at his preferred position of shortstop for at least the first half of next season because of Didi Gregorius’ Tommy John surgery. But Machado won’t be signing on for three or four months – the 26-year-old is probably going to command a contract of 10 years and about $300 million. And the Yankees have questions about his comments about not being "Johnny Hustle" during the postseason, comments that Machado subsequently (if slowly) tried to walk back.
But there's no denying Machado's talent. He met with the White Sox in Chicago on Monday and is slated to visit the Phillies on Thursday.
As for Beltran, he interviewed with the Yankees’ last offseason for the managerial job that eventually went to Aaron Boone. Beltran, who had just retired as a player after winning the World Series with the Astros, said he would take a year off and then reassess. And now he’s back.
"Right now, I will basically be trying to help by using everything I have learned over the course of my career,” Beltran told ESPN.com. “I am going to be available for what the management team needs, as well as for the coaches and the players.”
Cashman did not return a call seeking comment.