Machado is almost certain to be traded soon, but the key for the rest of 2018 is where he wants to be in ’19
This is the best time of the year to be a Major League Baseball fan, especially if you root for the Mets, Royals, Marlins or Orioles. It tends to take your mind off how miserable you are. And you are miserable, right?
We are three weeks from the Trade Deadline, and the daily news is filled with delectable delights, rumors concerning who will be dealt and for whom.
And most of it has to do with your team because, let’s face it, they are so desperate for change they will consider any offer, for any player, that makes sense.
The two mega stars most frequently mentioned as trade bait are Mets starter Jacob deGrom and Orioles shortstop Manny Machado.
DeGrom does not need to be traded, but the Mets might consider it because of all the rich, young talent an NL ERA leader in his prime would return.
But Machado absolutely needs to go because there is no way the Orioles can re-sign the game’s top unrestricted free agent. If they don’t do something quick, they will lose him without getting any equity in return. And man, would that be bad.
“Everywhere, I see it’s just Manny, Manny, Manny,” said Machado before Monday’s doubleheader with the Yankees at Camden Yards. “It kind of gets a little distracting at times. But it’s just a matter of just trying to let it all out.”
As it turns out, there was a very good reason for a gaggle of New York reporters to crowd around Machado. Earlier in the day, The Athletic reported that the Yankees are among those seriously interested in investigating a possible deal for Machado.
If so, they will join the Brewers, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Braves, Dodgers, Phillies and Indians among those interested in acquiring — but more likely renting — Machado for the remainder of the season.
“I’ve had to deal with it all year. It’s been non-stop, every city we’ve gone to, with reporters asking questions,” said Machado. “Like I said before, I’ve answered all the questions I needed to answer. Obviously there’s going to be some more new questions coming out there at that time. I’m sure there’s probably going to be quite a few teams that they’re going to want to ask questions about. Those are just things that I’m just going to have to deal with it when it comes and just try to enjoy the moment when I get there.”
This whole business with the Yankees is most intriguing because we all know by now that if they really want somebody they usually find a way to get him.
You will recall how they wrestled Giancarlo Stanton away from the Marlins in the dead of a December night last offseason. Money apparently is never an object and Stanton’s salary is $25 million in 2018 with $295 million remaining on the final 10 years of the deal he signed in Miami.
So why would anyone not think they could first trade for, an then re-sign Machado, 26, during the offseason? But the Gold Glove winner and three-time All-Star at third base moved back to shortstop this season and has told anyone who will listen that he will only play shortstop for whatever team he signs for.
After the doubleheader split, reporters asked Machado if would moving back to third base, a position the Yankees would likely want him to play because they already have a fine shortstop, Didi Gregorius.
“I’m a shortstop. I play shortstop,” said Machado.
That could be a problem for the Yankees, unless Machado, let’s say, would take another $50 million to waive his no-move mindset.
Still, here’s what the team that gets Machado will get: He is hitting .313 with 21 homers and 60 RBIs with a .943 OPS.
The Athletic reported that Tim Naehring, the former infielder and Yankees assistant general manager, was in Baltimore on Monday to watch. But he could have been there to look at pitchers Kevin Gausman, Brad Brach and Zach Britton, too. Who really knows?
There is a very good reason why the Yankees should be seriously considered as a strong suitor for Machado. They simply have more Major League-ready talent to deal than any other organization does. And Orioles’ general manager Dan Duquette did tell the Baltimore Sun last winter he wouldn’t discount the idea of trading Machado to an AL East rival.
So what could the Yankees offer the Orioles?
You could start with rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar, who has been such a star this season. You could add outfielder Cliff Frazier, whose potential is being stifled by the Yankees depth. You could throw in pitching prospects Justus Sheffield and Chance Adams.
And because of Machado’s desire to play shortstop, you might also consider parting with Gregorius, especially if the Yankees feel certain they can sign Machado in the offseason.
We don’t need to remind Red Sox fans what the Yankees batting order would look like with Machado. Think Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Stanton and Machado hitting back-to-back and belly-to-belly.
Wow. Damn Yankees, indeed.