— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) December 12, 2017
It appears after watching the Yankees reinforce their roster with the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton that the Baltimore Orioles are ready to talk Manny Machado trades. In that spirit, I decided to find the 4 destinations that made most sense for Machado.
It is extremely important to note: Machado is a FA next season. While he is most certainly one of the leagues premier talents (projections have him coming in around 5-6 WAR next year), he is going to make a lot of money in Arbitration this year, and is only guaranteed to be with you for one season. With that in mind, don’t expect his trade return to exceed even what Jose Quintana got, as teams simply aren’t going to give up 6 years of control for a star prospect to get 1 year of Machado.
People have speculated the Braves may try to capitalize on some of their minor league depth and start putting out a contender here in 2017 after being stripped of a plethora of rebuilding “assets” from the INTL Bonus Skimming Scandal. With Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman entrenched in the INF and Ender Inciarte and the likely call-up of Ronald Acuna, the Braves have the makings of a strong lineup in 2017. What’s missing? How about a power hitting 3B hitting behind Freddie Freeman? The Braves claim to envision Austin Riley as their 2019 and on starting 3B, and that’s great, but this is Manny Machado. Adding Machado and making a big splash or two on the Pitching market (Jake Arrieta and Greg Holland?) could possibly swing the Braves right back into contention. It’s definitely a bit of a stretch, but its a fun stretch, especially with the prospects they have to send back.
For the Orioles, they could reasonably start the conversation demanding one of the Braves four premier pitching prospects (Allard, Wright, Soroka and Anderson) and an interesting young a bit further away to sweeten the deal. Lets settle on a deal of Manny Machado for Mike Soroka and Kyle Muller. The Braves get a top 30 overall prospect who could easily end the season in the Baltimore rotation and a nice young arm in Muller who probably slots in right at the top of the Orioles arms in the farm system with D.L Hall. Flipping Machado to 12 years of starts from Soroka and Muller seems like a solid start for the pitching desperate Orioles.
New York Yankees:
Manny Machado for Estevan Florial and Domingo Acevedo and Matt Sauer.
If the Yankees really want to bring out the lineup of doom for 2018 they’re going to have to pay, as the Orioles are sure to demand a bit of premium for trading in the division. (By the way, another direction is to go and get Christian Yelich and solidify the OF long term, as I outlined in my 10 MLB Trade Predictions). So the Yankees get Machado and run out a disgusting 2-3-4 of Judge-Machado-Stanton, but they have to surround some top talent. Going back to the Orioles are talented CF Estevan Florial, who can take over for Adam Jones in CF one day, RHP Domingo Acevedo and 2017 2nd rounder Matt Sauer. The Orioles get two power arms they desperately lack and a top flight prospect in Florial who could get the deal done all by himself. Its a steep price, but theres little doubt Machado would make the Yanks the 2017 WS Favorites.
St. Louis Cardinals:
Manny Machado for Jedd Gyorko, Dakota Hudson and Sandy Alcantara
The current rumors have the Cardinals consolidating their glut of “ok” MLB players for Marcell Ozuna, and thats certainly a reasonable direction to go. But instead, maybe they should make a run at Machado? The Cardinals could turn around and offer the Orioles two solid if unspectacular SP prospects in Hudson and Alcantrera (who was rumored to headline the Stanton deal) and sweeten the pot by giving the Orioles a 3B in Gyorko who can step up and keep the Orioles fairly relevant in 2017 as they decide what their next step is. Gyorko is no deadweight or anything and could even maybe be flipped down the road. For the Cardinals, they begin to consolidate their infield and now could run out a look of Machado-DeJong-Wong and Carpenter while still keeping top C prospect Carson Kelly and rotation futures Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty.
Manny Machado for Juan Soto and Will Crowe
This deal should show you just what the premium is the Yankees will have to pay to acquire Machado. Juan Soto, like Estevan Florial, is a supremely talented youngster who still hasn’t played above A ball. But instead of throwing in Acevedo and a 2017 2nd rounder, the Nats merely cough over Crowe, their 2017 2nd rounder. For the Orioles, this gives them a future top 15 prospect type who will headline their future teams, and a nice arm to try to develop. But wait, why would the Nationals, with Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon, trade for Manny Machado? Well, if you haven’t heard, the Nats are on a bit of a post-season drought, and their star RF Bryce Harper may be leaving for greener pastures next year. So 2018 is the season. Instead of going out and overpaying long term for Jake Arrieta however, maybe the Nats recognize they still have a solid future OF of Robles-Eaton and Taylor and sacrifice Soto for a year of Machado (hell, maybe they even get him to stay long term and cough over Bryce’s money). Where is he going to play you ask? Well, he has reportedly asked to be moved back to SS, so lets let him to do it. The Nationals run out a starting INF of Rendon-Machado-Murphy-Zimmerman with an OF of Eaton-Turner-Harper. That is a devastating 1-7 (if this happens, they simply have to find a way to improve on Matt Weiters). Imagine an NLCS game with Max Scherezer on the mound and a starting lineup of
- Adam Eaton, LF
- Anthony Rendon, 3B
- Bryce Harper, RF
- Manny Machado, 3B
- Daniel Murphy, 2B
- Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
- Trea Turner, CF
- Mad Max
Good Luck. If the Orioles are down to trade Machado to their DMV rival, Mike Rizzo should go ahead and cough over Juan Soto to get it done.