The July 31 MLB trade deadline can’t get here fast enough for the Baltimore Orioles.
On, or around or even before that that date, the Orioles front office needs to pull the trigger on the best possible deal for shortstop Manny Machado.
This will not be an easy decision for the Baltimore brass to make, but it is one they need to make for the future of the franchise.
Machado, who will turn 26 on July 6, is looking to hit the open market in free agency, once his current contract ends at the end of the season. The Orioles can only hope to sign Machado to an extension, but that likely won’t happen. Machado is represented by Dan Lozano, who has negotiated monster deals for the likes of Albert Pujols and Joey Votto, so Machado is looking in that same ballpark.
Trading Machado before or at the trade deadline is the best option the O’s have at this point. Sure, they could let him hit the open market and hope to re-sign him, but if that plan backfires and he just walks, Baltimore will get a draft pick as compensation. That’s not a good idea in order to invest in the future.
The only issue with trading Machado is the fact that they won’t get the complete compensation teams normally would for a player of Machado’s caliber, because he would essentially be a rental player. That will make sure teams don’t send the farm for Machado, but there are still good deals out there, just not home run deals. On the flipside of that, contending teams could look to add Machado with the hopes that he would be the final piece to the World Series puzzle.
Baltimore will be seeking pitching prospects, should they elect to deal Machado as their pitching staff is not good. In fact, they rank 28th in team ERA, which just won’t cut it.
The Chicago Cubs have been heavily rumored to be interested in Machado’s services. This is a quality trade partner for the Orioles as they would get a package of prospects and possibly big-league ready arms or position players, and the Cubs would get a superstar player that could put them put them in prime position to win the World Series, yet again. If that scenario plays out to be true, Cubs general manager Theo Epstein could use that to his advantage and try and sign Machado once he becomes a free agent.
Machado is having an MVP-caliber season leading the MLB in RBIs with 43. He is also second in the majors in home runs with 15 and has a slash line of .335/.412/.649. Unfortunately for the O’s, this will be one of those amazing season on a bad team, as Baltimore currently is tied for worst record in the MLB at 15-33.
Baltimore drafted Machado third overall in the 2010 draft right out of high school. Two years later on August 9, 2012 against the Kansas City Royals. During his time in Baltimore, Machado has been an All-Star three different times and has won two Gold Gloves. He switched from third base to shortstop this season and has displayed his cannon-like arm plenty of times this season.
A stated earlier, this won’t be an easy decision for the Orioles front office to make, but it’s one they need to make. You have to get something for a player like Machado, especially if you now need to turn your attention to the future of the organization and putting winning teams back on the field.
The days of the relationship between Manny Machado and the Baltimore Orioles is coming to an end.