Obviously, the talk of the league has been Manny Machado, as he is a near lock to be traded by the last place Baltimore Orioles as an impending free agent. While there have been a lot of rumors circulating, and stories changing, here is a summary of what we know so far.
First things first, about a third of the league has checked in on Machado, including at least the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox. In what has been a very rare case, the public has been given a look at potential packages from each competing team as well as their level of interest.
The way it looks right now, the Brewers and Dodgers have been the most aggressive teams in the hunt, with the Yankees and Red Sox picking up some steam recently, the Diamondbacks and Indians hanging around with legitimate shots to land the super star rental, and the Phillies, Braves, and Cubs finding their interest waning.
- Dodgers: Right now, we know Alex Verdugo, Keibert Ruiz, Dustin May, Gavin Lux, and Walker Buehler seem to be off the table, which I would imagine means that Yadier Alvarez has a very high chance of being included in a prospective deal. It has been noted that the O’s are particularly interested in landing May, who looks like a three to me. I doubt the Dodgers would move May on a rental, but if the O’s threw in one of their relievers, it could force May’s inclusion. While this is pure speculation, I would be interested to see if the O’s would shoot for Yusniel Diaz, who hasn’t been mentioned, but is certainty a prospect worth noting. He’s one of my personal favorite players in the Dodgers system, as I love his plate discipline and hit tool. He strikes me as a first division regular who could hit for more power once he’s playing 162 games a year.
- Brewers: Brett Phillips has been mentioned as a player who the O’s would target in a deal for Machado, who would be an excellent fit, as he is controllable and major league ready. He is one of the guys included on my second installment of “The Real Beneficiaries of Trades” (which is on its way), as he has no clear path to playing time in an organization that has more outfield help than it knows what to do with in Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, Domingo Santana, Eric Thames, and Ryan Braun. A change of scenery would be a good thing for Phillips. Luis Ortiz, Brandon Woodruff, and Corbin Burnes have all been mentioned as possible pieces who could be included, but Burnes is said to be off the table, as the Brewers would feel more comfortable with a package including Phillips and Ortiz.
- Philly: The Orioles were targeting Sixto Sanchez and Zach Eflin, but the Phillies were understandably hesitant on dealing such high-profile pieces to land a rental.
- Atlanta: The two pieces named from the Braves were Ian Anderson and Max Fried. While the Braves balked at this, it’s not a horrible starting point. Yes, I would certainly be hesitant on Anderson, but I would be completely open to dealing Fried in a deal, and look to steer the conversation toward some of the high upside, yet volatile arms such as Touki Toussaint.
- Yankees: While there isn’t an obvious fit here, wherever the cameras are rolling, Brian Cashman is there. Reports state that the O’s and Yankees have been discussing a package deal, naming relievers such as Brad Brach, Zach Britton, and Mychal Givens as well as Kevin Gausman as topics of conversation. Obviously, the Yankees have the farm system and the money to make the move happen, but the question is, is it necessary? Personally, I think the Yanks should focus their attention on bringing in a rental starter such as J.A. Happ while saving the money and the talent. The roster is already outstanding and they are a shoo-in for the playoffs. They simply need a bit more depth in the rotation.
- Boston: Any interest here is seemingly based on the fact that the Yankees were looking, meaning the Sox may just be looking to get in a raise the bidding war a bit to prevent the Yanks from landing him. I don’t see the Sox bringing in Manny.
- The Cubs and The Cardinals: The Cubs were involved early on, but it’s hard to imagine how they would go about fitting Manny onto the roster, as their entire starting lineup (without Kris Bryant) is ranked at least among the league’s top 138 hitters according to Roster Resource. They seem better served going for an upgrade in the rotation. As for the Cardinals, they had shown some interest initially, but it seems as though they are out of it.
- Arizona: They are hanging on, and have been holding their cards close to the chest, as there hasn’t been a ton of leaked info. They have a sneaky good farm system including very solid players such as Jon Duplantier, Gabriel Maciel, Taylor Widener, Marcus Wilson, Daulton Varsho, Pavin Smith, and Dominic Miroglio. The one thing that they might want to keep in mind is that they are losing the majority of their team to free agency over the next 24 months. Theoretically, they could go for broke now and grab Machado as a rental as they are currently in the thick of a dog fight in the National League. Personally, I would at least consider sending Patrick Corbin to the Yankees for some controllable major league help such as possibly bringing Brandon Drury back, and grabbing one of their young pitching prospects to supplement it. Taylor Clarke is about as major league ready as they come, and Clay Buchholz, who hasn’t been bad, shouldn’t be out very long. Worst case scenario, make a photo finish 4pm deal on a starter who a team is desperately looking to get something out of. Ivan Nova and J.A. Happ both came out of deals like that.
- Cleveland: The Indians need to make sure that they get some bullpen help before anything else. They have Yandy Diaz just sitting in Triple-A, ready for the show, and it would be foolish for them to trade a ton for Machado right now. They are obviously going to win the division, but the bullpen isn’t even close to ready to last throughout the post season. Oliver Perez can’t pitch three innings every single day.