White Sox have shown that lack of hustle won’t be tolerated under manager while soon to be free agent has admitted he’s not about being ‘Johnny Hustle’.
There are many Chicago White Sox fans that would like to see nothing more than the team sign Manny Machado this upcoming offseason. The Sox are coming off their first 100-loss season since 1970 and signing the young infielder as a free agent would surely be a big offseason splash for the team.
However, recently the 26-year-old current shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers is showing he likely won’t be a good fit professionally for the Sox. While signing Machado would be a tall task for the Sox with many other teams likely to pursue him this offseason, the former Gold Glove third baseman’s feelings toward hustle is a stark contrast of what has been preached on the South Side.
Sox manager Rick Renteria has benched players over the past two years who didn’t show hustle either on the basepaths or in the field. Machado’s recent comments about not hustling in game 2 of the NLCS against the Milwaukee Brewers didn’t do him any favors with many fans across baseball.
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According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required), Machado responded to questions about not running out a groundball by stating that he’s not the type of player that will run down the line and slide into first base. Machado mentioned he did look at the video of the play and realized he should have run to first base.
"“Obviously I’m not going to change, I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,’ and run down the line and slide to first base and … you know, whatever can happen. That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.” Manny Machado"
Machado will be one the highly sought after free agents this offseason, but his comments on hustling could steer teams away from him such as the Sox. Not only did Machado downplay being a ‘Johnny Hustle’ type of player, but he was also called out for being dirty by Christian Yelich.
After Machado stepped on the ankle of Jesus Aguilar at first base in game 4 of the NLCS, both benches for the Dodgers and Brewers cleared. This didn’t amount to anything at the time, but after the game, Yelich described both the play and Machado as dirty according to Joe Trezza of mlb.com.
The Sox don’t need a player that is not only reluctant to hustle but is also considered a dirty player. Although the Sox could use a marquee free agent signing for their current rebuild, there are many other capable players that will be available to sign this upcoming offseason. Machado would need to be a good fit for the Sox in order for the team to sign him.
At the moment, Machado doesn’t appear to be a good fit for the Sox. Maybe the Sox never had a chance at signing Machado because of his price tag. However, Machado has shown recently that he won’t fit with a Sox team that has been consistent about preaching playing baseball the right way.