Manny Machado has been dominating the Major League Baseball rumor mill, and his name will continue to do so until the Baltimore Orioles finalize a trade to send the star infielder elsewhere. Luckily for the Orioles, there are a plethora of teams in hot pursuit of the star shortstop. The New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, and Los Angeles Dodgers have all been mentioned as finalists, favorites, or strong suitors to trade for Machado at some point in time. The only problem is that none of those teams make sense when it comes to pulling off a trade for the Orioles’ All-Star.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are trying to avoid playing in the American League Wild Card Game for a second consecutive season, as they’re currently 4.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. And while acquiring Machado to hit in a lineup that features Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, and Gary Sanchez (when he returns from a groin injury) would give the Yankees the most feared offense in baseball, the real need on their roster lies in the starting rotation.
The Yankees are currently 14th in starting rotation ERA (4.00). Outside of Luis Severino, their starting staff is below average, and addressing that aspect of their ballclub must be a priority. They have one of the best farm systems in the game — making a trade, value wise, easy to make a reality — but if Machado’s sights are set on the Big Apple, why would the Yankees fork over any of their top prospects when they could just sign Machado in the offseason without surrendering any young talent? Plus, is Orioles ownership going to be okay with trading away the face of their franchise to the rival Yankees?
The Cleveland Indians have the American League Central on lockdown. Currently holding a 7.5 game lead on the Minnesota Twins, they have the biggest divisional lead and one of the better rosters in baseball. The biggest hole on the Indians roster is their bullpen. They’re 29th in bullpen ERA (5.28), and are struggling to pick up where their starters leave things in the late innings. And in terms of positional needs, a shortstop or third baseman is the last thing the Indians need.Trading for Manny Machado means acquiring a superstar in his prime, but for the reported 'finalists' for his services, the trade doesn't make sense.Click To Tweet
With arguably the two best players at their respective position in Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, the Indians have a star-studded left side of the infield. If management were to acquire Machado, either Lindor or Ramirez would have to switch positions. Although Ramirez can play second base, why in the world would the Indians mess with what’s working? Cleveland also hasn’t been mentioned as a team Machado would prefer to sign with in free agency.
The Philadelphia Phillies have been linked to Machado as much, if not more than any other team in baseball, and a fit is there. It’s unclear whether Scott Kingery is the long-term answer at the middle infield position, and the Phillies are in need of an impact bat in the middle of their order. But based on their interest in Machado via trade and potentially in free agency, as well as the fact that they have the 23rd highest payroll in the game, the Phillies will have no trouble matching any offer teams present Machado with.
While they do have one of the best one-two rotation punches in the game in Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, the Phillies rotation is underwhelming behind the two righties. And with one of the best farm systems in the game, in terms of pitchers, the Phillies will need their youngsters to blossom in the near-future to round out their rotation. Yes, Machado could be the piece that allows the Phillies to pull away from the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals in the NL East, but the Phillies wouldn’t be wise to part with some valuable young arms (which the Orioles would probably want) when they can just sign Machado in the offseason.
The Milwaukee Brewers have one of the best lineups in the game this season headlined by Jesus Aguilar, Travis Shaw, Christian Yelich, and Lorenzo Cain, among others. The one area in their everyday lineup that could use refinement is shortstop, and that’s where the Brewers’ interest in Machado is generated from. But this is a Brewers team that still doesn’t have a bonafide ace and questions surround the arms in their rotation.
Adding a starter — or two — should be the biggest priority for the Brewers, no matter how drastic of an upgrade Machado would be at short. The Brewers’ odds at retaining the shortstop past season (if they acquired him) also do not look great. And the crucial question any team will ask themselves when it comes to acquiring Machado is if they truly believe he can help them win the World Series? For an inexperienced Brewers team, in terms of postseason experience, the answer is likely no.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Machado’s name has been linked to the Los Angeles Dodgers dating back to when shortstop Corey Seager went down with an elbow injury earlier in the season. While the Dodgers have struggled to put runners on base and hit with consistency, going out of their way and trading for Machado is unnecessary.
Plus, what is manager Dave Roberts going to do in 2019 with Turner, Seager, and Machado? If Machado and the Dodgers decide that he’s going to be their shortstop of the future, will Roberts feel comfortable moving Seager to third base and Justin Turner to second? While both infielders have played those positions before, they haven’t done so in a while. And like any other team trading for his services, why not wait until the offseason to sign Machado?
The Orioles Put Themselves in This Quandary
Machado is one of the 10 best baseball players in the nation. Even though he’s transitioning to playing a new position on an everyday basis, the 26-year-old is still an elite player. He has a cannon for an arm, has a smooth glove, and is a force to be reckoned with at the plate. On pace to blast 33-plus home runs for a fourth consecutive season and a career .283 hitter, Machado is one of the best hitters in the game, and has never performed at a higher level than he is right now. But the Orioles still won’t get back the haul they would’ve received at the Winter Meetings, or the year prior.
No matter who ends up acquiring Machado, they’re not going to be paying anywhere near the king’s ransom. Will they surrender a well-thought-of prospect? Sure, but the Orioles can’t expect to acquire the next Machado or their future ace in a trade.
Some general manager is going to decide to up their offer and give up what it takes to get Machado on their team whether it be the Yankees, Indians, Phillies, Brewers, Dodgers, or a dark horse team. But when they finalize the paperwork with such team, the Orioles are going to be underwhelmed and disgusted by how little they’re getting back for the best player they’ve fielded since Cal Ripken Jr.