The Baltimore Orioles are said to have begun fielding calls of interest in superstar shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado, and word is they are close to the point of seriously weighing whether to trade him.
But, even though he’s a free agent and it appears their chances of contending are nil, there’s still a question whether or not longtime Orioles owner Peter Angelos will agree to trade one of the best players in the game. One person familiar with the situation guessed that it was still only “50-50” whether Angelos would approve a trade of Machado, and another said that while he thought Angelos would approve a deal, it would have to be for a huge return considering how “important” a deal this is for the franchise’s future.
With most teams in their spot, there would be no question Machado would be dealt; but in this case, the history of non-trades has to be considered. Last year, they came close to trading star closer Zach Britton to the Orioles, but ultimately they backed out of the deal; there were suggestions the Astros players failed physicals, but it appears likely now that Angelos got cold feet.
GM Dan Duquette said in this space a couple weeks back that they would wait until Memorial Day to make a determination which way to go, so it’s no surprise someone familiar with their situation said this week that it’s just “a little early” to pull the trigger on something – assuming the owner would even let them.
The Cubs have emerged as a possible landing spot, and Machado received a hero’s welcome upon the Orioles’ trip to Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the crosstown White Sox. But while sources say the Cubs “can make a deal f they want to” despite a farm system that’s been depleted by trades in recent years, nobody is ready to call them the favorite – and some other contending teams that could use infield help are much better stocked in the minors, notably the Braves, Phillies and Dodgers.
As of Tuesday, the Braves are said not to have spoken to the Orioles about Machado (and they were one of a few not to have talked to them over the winter about him either), but things could change depending on how Johan Camargo does at third base. In fact, the Braves — an exciting and surprise contender who have one of the best farm systems in the game and a GM, Alex Anthopoulos, known willing to pull the trigger on big deals – are the one team speculated on now that didn’t even make a play for Machado this winter.
As FRS Sports has reported, nine teams made significant efforts for the superstar this winter – the Indians, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox and Cardinals in addition to the aforementioned Cubs, Phillies and Dodgers. Of those teams, in addition to the Cubs, Dodgers and Phillies, the teams that would still seem to fit include the Indians, Cardinals and Diamondbacks.
The Yankees are close to the luxury-tax threshold (and likely to focus on starting pitching) and the Red Sox are over it, and neither would seem to have a pressing infield need at the moment. The White Sox seem to love Machado (they intentionally walked him with the bases empty and one out last night) but are only slightly more of a contender than the Orioles by virtue of their weak division.
While the Cubs have received the most press (including here) as a potential landing spot, the Phillies – another surprise contender — were always a logical spot. Almost all the Phillies’ key decision-makers – president Andy MacPhail, GM Matt Klentak and other top execs Scott Proefrock, Ned Rice and Joe Jordan – were key members of the Orioles front office when they made Machado the third overall pick in the MLB draft. And while Maikel Franco is doing fine at third base, rookie J.P. Crawford struggled at shortstop before hitting the disabled list. Machado would prefer to stay at shortstop, where he told FRS Baseball his “heart” resided, but since he doesn’t have a no-trade clause yet, acquiring teams could consider him for short or third, where he is one of the best all-time.
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