The Yankees would be better with Manny Machado on the roster and it's a move that the team should make. However, the extent to which Machado improves the club is unknown and the notion that the offseason will be a failure if the Yanks cannot sign the 26-year-old is not entirely true.
Here are four reasons why...
The Yanks have a third baseman and a shortstop
The injury to shortstop Didi Gregorius seemingly opened up an avenue to place Machado into the fold "easier" than having to completely displace Miguel Andujar at third base. However, if the Yankees were unable to come to an agreement with Machado, it's not like the club is going to be utilizing slouches at the positions.
Andujar, a hitting machine -- albeit one with clear defensive deficiencies -- finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year Award balloting. Meanwhile, fellow rookie infielder Gleyber Torres was named to the AL All-Star team and finished third in the race.
If Machado is not signed by the Yankees, Torres can easily shift to shortstop, which would require the Yankees finding a second baseman until Gregorius is back on the field. For example, a player like Scooter Gennett, who the Yanks have shown interest in, would be a very respectable placeholder at the keystone.
The starting rotation has improved
The Yankees understood from the beginning of the offseason that the most important thing this winter was to improve the rotation. By trading for James Paxton and signing J.A. Happ, the Yanks have done that. The two left-handers have effectively replaced Sonny Gray and a swath of unreliable fifth starters that failed to hold down the fort until Happ arrived at last season's trade deadline.
There is the argument that the Yankees could utilize Andujar to pry a starter from another club, but the elite arms that were thought to be available -- Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, and Noah Syndergaard -- have seemingly been pulled back from the trade market, meaning another move doesn't appear likely this winter.
Reassembling dominant bullpen is arguably more important
Remember, the Yankees offense ranked second in baseball in runs scored and hammered a major league record 267 home runs. That was without a full season of Aaron Judge and with Gary Sanchez suffering from a season-long slump. While Machado would clearly aid the offense, the Yankees are more in need of at least two relievers to replace David Robertson and Zach Britton first.
The Yankees have Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances and Chad Green set to return, but that group alone is not as intimidating as in years past. If Machado is not signed, the club could "pivot" as Yankees GM Brian Cashman has claimed, and add up to three bullpen arms among a group of relievers remaining on the free agent market -- including Robertson, Britton, Brad Boxberger, Kelvin Herrera, Andrew Miller, Adam Ottavino, Joakim Soria and Adam Warren. Some of those names are certainly more intimidating and represent higher upside than others, but adding three of them would once again build an elite bullpen and aid a rotation that simply doesn't pitch deep into games.
Potential Nolan Arenado pursuit if Andujar can't get it together
Andujar is committed to improving his defense and the Yankees have professed belief he can grow at the hot corner. However, there is a chance that the transformation simply doesn't come to fruition. Enter next offseason's hot free agent commodity and All-Star third baseman, Nolan Arenado.
The Rockies star will be searching for a lengthy and lucrative contract, one likely similar to whatever Machado ends up securing. Arenado, who turns 28 in April, is widely considered one of the best, if not the best third basemen in the game. There will be arguments about Arenado's ability to thrive away from Coors Field, but his home/road splits (.984/.787 OPS) are similar to Machado's (.887/.761).
Again, the Yankees should try to add Machado to the mix. He appears to be a generational talent and the club is certainly more than able to withstand the anticipated cost. Missing out on Machado's services would be disappointing, but to use the word "failure" when there are plenty of other ways to improve a 100-win club from 2018 would be a bit dramatic.