A day after meeting the Yankees, Manny Machado was greeted by an electric sales pitch as he walked into Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Thursday for a sitdown with the Phillies.
An electrician named Tom Cudeyro, who happened to be on a lunch break, pointed across the street to the Eagles stadium and yelled to Machado: "Super Bowl champs!”
Then Cudeyro pointed to Citizens Bank Park and yelled: “World Series here! Do the right thing and sign. Get the money!"
A video and story posted on ESPN.com recounts the exchange. Machado, smiling, said, “Super Bowl champs, huh?” after posing for a picture with Cudeyro.
Machado also said “happy to be here” to reporters before heading into the stadium.
Machado spent about four hours visiting the Phillies, according to MLB.com. As he left the ballpark, Machado said the meeting was “pretty awesome. I learned a lot about the organization.”
Asked if he had a timetable to sign with a new club, Machado said: “I don’t know about that. That’s my agent’s job. I’m just enjoying the ride.”
On Wednesday, Machado was driven into and out of a secure parking garage in Yankee Stadium for his 90-minute meeting without having to face the masses or the press. He also met with the White Sox in Chicago on Monday.
Machado is expected to command a contract in excess of $300 million. It is not known if any clubs other than the Yankees, White Sox and Phillies will be involved in the bidding for the 26-year-old superstar shortstop/third baseman.
The Phillies have a shortstop in recently acquired Jean Segura. The Yankees have an opening at short for at least the first half of 2019 after Didi Gregorius underwent Tommy John surgery. The White Sox lost 100 games last season and would probably let Machado play any position he wanted if he agreed to sign in the Windy City.
One player the Yankees have re-signed this offseason, pitcher J.A. Happ, said on a conference call on Thursday that he would certainly welcome the addition of Machado to the Yankees’ lineup.
“If or when something happens, of course I’d be excited to hear of a player of that caliber joining the team,” Happ said. “I think I’ll just wait and see how all that plays out.”
Machado played most of his career in the AL East with Baltimore before getting traded to the Dodgers last summer. Machado’s postseason was full of red flags, from his saying he’s not “Johnny Hustle” to accusations of dirty play.
But there’s no denying the talent. Part of Machado’s three-city tour is apparently to assuage any doubts about his makeup and put the focus back on his prodigious abilities.
Last year, Machado hit a combined .297 with 37 home runs and 107 RBIs. The four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner has averaged 159 games and 35 homers over the last four seasons.
"He's done it for the last several years,” Happ said, “and you see the all-around numbers and you see the defense and the arm strength. He's an all-around superstar type of player, so to get any player like that on your team, that would be exciting."
Another big-league pitcher weighed in on Machado’s free agency. Long Island’s Marcus Stroman posted on Twitter: “Machado is going to the Yankees. Yankees go out and get everyone.”
Stroman, the Blue Jays righthander, later clarified his thoughts in another Twitter post: “Just my opinion on Manny going to the Yankees. No insider info.”