Why Bryce Harper is a better Yankees fit than Manny Machado

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First of all, if I owned both the Yankees and a time machine, I would acquire Justin Verlander from the Tigers in 2017 and shrug off Giancarlo Stanton’s availability last winter, bolstering these past two postseason runs (as well as weaken the Astros by keeping Verlander from them) and creating a clear economic runway to tackle this winter’s seminal “Bryce versus Manny (versus Neither)” decision.

Next, if handed their current scenario? I’d pass on both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Not because I’m concerned for the Steinbrenners’ financial health, but rather because it simply is poor roster management to commit mega-dollars to two players you barely know. Stanton already gives them one such commitment.

Yet if the Yankees are as serious about signing Machado as they appear to be, welcoming him to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday for a 90-minute meeting, if they’re willing to dive right back into this pool only a year after Stanton produced mixed results and mixed feelings?

Then I’d sign Harper instead.

If we’re talking about, let’s say, a seven-year vision through Harper’s and Machado’s age-32 season of 2025 — understanding that both guys are aiming for deals longer than seven years — then Harper, whom GM Brian Cashman has virtually eliminated from consideration, fits the Yankees in The Post’s humble opinion, for the following reasons:

1. Lefty balance. We all know how right-handed the traditionally lefty-leaning Yankees have turned in their Baby Bombers era, and that became only more pronounced in 2018 with not only the arrival of Stanton but also the emergence of righty bats Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres and even Luke Voit, and the regression of lefty-swinging Greg Bird. Throw in Tommy John surgery for Didi Gregorius, arguably the team’s best pure lefty hitter, and the Yankees presently are more right than coconut cake at a steakhouse. Yankee Stadium’s lefty-friendly dimensions make the current imbalance all the more glaring.

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