Tulo has got it covered — for now. Manny Machado still could be part of this Bronx tale.
Brian Cashman raved Friday about his new shortstop acquisition, veteran Troy Tulowitzki, in a conference call with reporters when the one-year deal was officially announced, but made it clear the Yankees remain engaged in talks with superstar free agent Machado.
Cashman said he came away from the Yankees’ pre-Christmas meeting and dinner with Machado and his wife, Yainee, with the following impression: “They are great people.’’
That seems to put to rest the Yankees’ concern about Machado’s poorly timed comment: “I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle.’’’
“I can’t say what it would take us out of, but we’re going into this with a commitment level to try Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop,” Cashman said.
With that commitment to Tulowitzki, Machado will be the third baseman if the Yankees pony up to sign the free agent. Cashman, who always likes to have his bases covered, could easily hustle Machado over to short if the often-injured Tulowitzki can’t handle it in place of Didi Gregorius, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
It remains to be seen if the Yankees will win the bidding for Machado, who also is a wanted man by the White Sox and Phillies.
Cashman said he is staying “fully engaged’’ on all fronts and continues conversations with Machado’s agent Dan Lozano.
“I have a good relationship with Danny and I’ve stayed in touch with him,’’ Cashman said. “Have I talked to him since that meeting? Yes, absolutely I have and I informed them well in advance of when the story broke that Troy had picked the New York Yankees. He was aware of that, too. We’ve got a very honest dialogue.’’
Cashman admitted he never “had a relationship prior’’ with Machado.
“He’s obviously a tremendous player, but you don’t get the chance to break bread with players from opposing teams very much, so I got the chance to meet with Manny and his wife, and got to know them better and can report they are great people,” Cashman said. “I thought we had a good experience when they came to the Stadium and we had dinner together. That was a real positive experience from our perspective … it was an opportunity for the Machado family to get to know the potentially future employers. It doesn’t mean it will lead to anything.
“We are excited about the opportunity that Troy Tulowitzki is providing and we’re hoping that we can continue to find different ways to address any needs that this club has and try to improve it.”
The Yankees desperately need to beef up the bullpen with David Robertson jumping to the Phillies and are chasing free agents Zach Britton and Adam Ottavino.
Tulowitzki is a $555,000 league-minimum risk. The Blue Jays will pay the remaining $38 million of his salary over the next two years.
Cashman said Tulowitzki has a chip on his shoulder.
No, that is not another injury for Tulowitzki, who did not play in 2018 because of double heel surgery and played just 66 games in 2017.
The Yankees went to a multi-team workout, then had two of their scouts Jay Darnell and Dan Giese follow up in a private workout that was videoed as well at Long Beach State. That was enough to convince them.
“We were all in,’’ Cashman said. “He really looked athletic, it looked like he had that bounce back in his step. We feel there is a lot of potential upside here.
“In talking to him, I feel like he has a chip on his shoulder,’’ Cashman said. “He wants to prove that he can reestablish himself. He’s looking forward to showing everybody what he is capable of doing, but also more importantly mixing and meshing with the group that we already have in trying to contribute. In a big way, in a small way. He’s just looking for that opportunity and we are here to provide it.’’