Think the Manny Machado trade talk is hot now? It’s only going to get worse until the Orioles make the trade or the July 31 non-waiver deadline arrives.
Speculation runs wild. The latest, from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, says the Yankees are interested. Apparently, the Yankees are going to cut into their rebuilding and offer a package that includes third baseman Miguel Andujar.
Where will Machado, the shortstop that can also play third base, end up? Every insider has a different idea about the front-running team, so it depends who is tapping the computer keys.
A few thoughts:
The Dodgers, eight games out in mid-May, need offense, but aren’t big on trading blue-chip prospects for a two-month rental, even if shortstop Corey Seager and outfielder Yasiel Puig are injured.
The Diamondbacks, Phillies, Braves and Brewers don’t make sense because each needs a rotation boost.
Do the Brewers think that Junior Guerra, Jhoulys Chacin and Chase Anderson are good enough to carry them to a division title, let alone deep into October?
And while the D-backs’ window to win is closing, their system is thin. Arizona would trade for Machado if it didn’t have to give up top prospects, much like last season when it acquired J.D. Martinez from Detroit.
The Phillies are trying to decide if they have enough pitching to stay in the race. If so, they’ll make an offer to the Orioles. If not, they have plenty of money and can go after Machado in the free agent market.
Machado would help at third or short and the Phillies could trade one of two young shortstops, J.P. Crawford or Scott Kingery, back to the Orioles as part of the deal.
Atlanta is already scoring enough runs to win. They need to hope their young pitching stays strong. They’re probably a year away from serious contention, even though they lead the National League East.
Dansby Swanson is the Braves’ shortstop and top-notch third-base prospect Austin Riley is about ready to take over at third next season.
The Braves seem like a long shot.
Cleveland, with a loaded rotation, could use a bat (Machado) and a bullpen arm (Zach Britton). Maybe a package deal with Cleveland would work.
The Indians bullpen could cost them in October if they don’t fortify.
Machado could play third for the Indians and All-Star José Ramírez could move to second.
The Cardinals say the Orioles’ asking price is too steep, especially for a rental, but if they did get Machado, the Cardinals would use him at third and move Matt Carpenter, a candidate in the NL’s All-Star Final Vote, to first.
In Chicago, the Cubs don’t have a need with Kris Bryant at third and Addison Russell producing at shortstop. Still, the Cubs keep coming up as a possibility.
Earlier, Machado said he was a shortstop and wanted to be a shortstop, no matter the team.
Since then, he’s revised his thoughts and said he’ll play wherever his new team wants him to play.
Machado’s flexibility opens the market for the Orioles, a market that already is wide open, at least for never-ending speculation.