Photo: Seth Wenig (AP)

Speaking to reporters before yesterday’s spring training game between the Yankees and the Orioles, Aaron Judge praised Orioles star Manny Machado and said he’d sort of limply recruited Machado. “Adding him to our lineup that we already got would be something special,” Judge said. “I told him he’d look good in pinstripes.” Judge continued to praise the soon-to-be free agent, saying, “He’s one of the best—if not the best—defensive third basemen in the game, and now he’s probably going to be one of the best defensive shortstops. With what he brings on the offensive side of it, he’s the complete package. He’s going to be a happy man when it comes to free agency, and picking where he wants to go.”

Not that spicy! And yet, MLB felt the need to release a stern statement about tampering:

“We have been in contact with the Yankees. They communicated to us that Mr. Judge’s off the cuff comments were not appropriate and not authorized by the club,” the league said in its statement. “They will speak to him to make sure that this does not happen again.”

Machado will be a free agent after the 2018 season, and he’s already rumored to be interested in the Yankees, who flirted with trading for him earlier this year. It would be a real shame if Judge saying some nice things about him in March were to ruin the sanctity of the free-agency process, so thank God MLB intervened.