The inevitable finally became a reality.
Resigned to losing shortstop Manny Machado through free agency after the season, the Orioles ended their eight-year relationship by trading him to the Los Angeles Dodgers today for a five-player package headlined by Double-A outfielder Yusniel Díaz, according to sources.
The Orioles also will receive third baseman Rylan Bannon, second baseman Breyvic Valera, and right-handers Dean Kremer and Zach Pop. No money is involved in the transactions. And no international bonus slots.
Machado will join the Dodgers for their weekend series in Milwaukee. He’s been notified of the deal. And the Orioles will begin playing out the rest of their season, buried in last place in the American League East, with a new shortstop in Toronto.
The Phillies and Brewers also were finalists for Machado, the former appearing to have the inside track earlier in the week.
Only two players have participated in the All-Star Game and were traded before the second half of the season, according to Elias. The Padres sent pitcher Drew Pomeranz to the Red Sox in 2016 and catcher Frankie Hayes was the player to be named in a 1946 deal between the Indians and White Sox.
Machado played in his fourth All-Star Game last night, his second as a starter, and went 0-for-2 before Francisco Lindor pinch-hit for him in the top of the sixth inning. He handled one ground ball.
The Orioles made Machado the third overall pick in the 2010 draft behind outfielder Bryce Harper and pitcher Jameson Taillon. He debuted for them two years later after switching to third base, making the jump from Double-A Bowie, and batted .283/.335/.487 in 860 games.
Machado won two Gold Gloves and one Platinum Glove before returning to his original position this season and finished fourth and fifth in Most Valuable Player voting in the American League in 2015 and 2016, respectively. He was ninth in 2013.
Today’s trade comes with Machado in the middle of his best offensive season, batting .315/.387/.575 in 96 games with 21 doubles, a triple, 24 home runs and 65 RBIs. The Dodgers will keep him at shortstop as the replacement for Corey Seager, who’s out for the season after undergoing ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow.
“Things are getting serious now,” Dodgers right-hander Ross Stripling said last night at the All-Star Game. “That’s the kind of bat and the kind of player that you want in your lineup.”
“He’s actually one of my favorite players to watch,” said outfielder Matt Kemp, who posed for a selfie with Machado at second base last night. “I hit with him in the offseason two years ago. He’s a great player. If that’s something that happens I think L.A. would be excited about it and definitely help our team win more games.”
Díaz, 21, homered twice in the All-Star Futures Game and is batting .314/.428/.477 in 59 games at Double-A Tulsa, with 10 doubles, four triples, six home runs and 30 RBIs in 220 at-bats.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Díaz is a career .288/.363/.437 hitter in three minor league seasons since the Dodgers signed him for $15.5 million. MLB.com ranked him in 2015 as the third-best international prospect after he batted .348/.448/.440 during his first season with the Havana Industriales.
“He’s better than anyone else you’ve got in your system,” said a scout from outside the organization who in the past has talked up Double-A Bowie outfielder Austin Hays.
Baseball America’s latest Top 100 rankings list Díaz at No. 47, Hays at 65 and Bowie third baseman Ryan Mountcastle at No. 66.
Pop, 21, is a combined 1-2 with a 1.04 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 30 relief appearances between Single-A Great Lakes and Rancho Cucamonga. He’s struck out 47 batters in 43 1/3 innings.
Kremer, 22, is a combined 6-3 with a 3.03 ERA and 1.15 ERA in 17 starts between Rancho Cucamonga and Tulsa. Bannon, 22, is batting .296/.402/.559 with 17 doubles, six triples, 20 home runs and 61 RBIs in 89 games with Rancho Cucamonga.
Valera, 26, appeared in 20 games with the Dodgers this year and went 5-for-29. He’s batting .284/.350/.433 in 56 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City and is a career .302/.359/.389 hitter in 856 minor league games. He’s hit only 20 home runs.
Bannon was ranked as the Dodgers’ 27th prospect per MLB Pipeline and Kremer was 28th.
Closer Zach Britton might be the next player traded, and the Orioles are listening to offers for center fielder Adam Jones and reliever Brad Brach, who also are pending free agents. The growing list of teams interested in Britton, recovered from Achilles surgery, includes the Astros, Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees and Cubs. The Indians are searching for a right-handed bat and have talked to the Orioles about Jones.
Machado’s tenure in Baltimore also included some difficult moments beyond the losing this season. He underwent surgery to repair a torn medial patellofemoral ligament in his left knee in 2013 and a similar procedure on the right knee the following year. A thrown bat and late slide thrust him into the middle of controversies, and he met privately with manager Buck Showalter earlier this summer after failing to run out a ground ball and hearing some boos from fans at Camden Yards.
That’s not how he’s going to be remembered as the reality of his departure sinks in, not with his arrival in 2012 sparking a playoff run that ended a streak of 14 consecutive losing seasons. The awards and accolades. A drafted-and-developed player maturing into one of the best in baseball and poised to receive a record-setting contract in free agency.
The Orioles couldn’t keep him. Now they need him to spark their rebuild.