As the New York Yankees’ season launches on the World Series home turf of Houston’s Astros, fans are being reminded of the recent wave of team-poaching controversies.

The Astros and Yankees will renew acquaintances for a weekend series, and it’s easy to see why the sport’s powers that be consider these days tense between these two contenders for the American League pennant. After the Mets swapped Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia to the New York Mets in July, Manny Machado flirted with both teams, causing the Yankees, among others, to come to the conclusion that he was less than worth the price tag.

On Friday, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge took to Instagram to voice his opinion, retweeting a post reading “please ,” referencing Machado’s name. Shortly thereafter, he removed it.

Tweeted LeBron James on Sunday afternoon: “Could it be that the best player in the game is not allowed to leave a team because the team did not make him an offer?”

Could it be that the best player in the game is not allowed to leave a team because the team did not make him an offer? 👀 — LeBron James () February 17, 2019

Like Machado, Judge is seeking a massive extension, the NYT’s Andrew Marchand notes, and he and his fellow young players believe they would thrive in the right environment.

“We go to school for five years to get a chance to play at the big-league level,” said Clint Frazier, one of Judge’s teammates. “It’s one of the reasons why we stick together.”

In the three days since the beginning of baseball’s offseason, several teams, including the Washington Nationals, agreed to multi-year deals with All-Stars Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer. Both sought huge paydays, leading the Yankees and Phillies, among others, to wonder what, if anything, these players have left to give.

The Astros say the circumstances in which these players have had success — winning three straight World Series and a combined 16 MLB titles — have had no impact on their future.

“Talent trumps everything,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said last month. “It’s not as important for players to sign big deals if they’re already good players and have already proven that they’re good players.”

Read the full story at the New York Times.


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