After a five year stretch of competitive, playoff-bound baseball, the Baltimore Orioles have the third worst record in Major League Baseball. They are on the hook for the big contracts of underperforming players like Chris Davis and Alex Cobb. Couple that with a bottom-third farm system, and the Orioles are not on the fast-track for World Series contention. To make matters worse, this perilous situation decreases the likelihood that they will be able to resign star shortstop/third-basemen, Manny Machado; and increases the necessity to trade him. After 40+ games into the season, who needs to trade for Machado the most? Lets take a look at the most likely trade partners.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Machado to the Dodgers makes perfect sense in the short-run because they lost Corey Seager for the rest of the year. He would be a perfect fit to slide into that vacated position and would bring some much needed offense to the underwhelming Dodgers. Further, the Dodgers have the talent in their farm system to get this deal done. So what’s the holdup? The long-term ramifications are that holdup. When Seager returns next year, what do they do with Machado? They already have Turner locked up at third base so there is no place for Machado in 2019. Would the Dodgers be willing to mortgage part of their future for a half-season rental?
The Braves have the best record in the National League, a slew of exciting young prospects who are way ahead of schedule regarding their major league impact, and yet, they are getting zero offensive production from third base. Machado would give them one of the most complete lineups from top-to-bottom. Albies, Acuna, Freeman, Markakis, and Machado would be pretty scary. Like the Dodgers, the Braves have the prospects to make this deal happen, and with the youth on the roster, they may be able to resign him after the season.
Another surprise, the Philadelphia Phillies have the second best record in baseball. They have two of the best young outfielders in baseball in Rhys Hoskins and Odubal Herrera, and a young ace in Aaron Nola. The Phillies director of player personnel drafted Machado; and their President, GM, and assistant GM were all with the Orioles when he was draft as well. These multiple connections make them a player in sign Machado in free agency, but also a candidate to trade for him now.
The Cubbies want to sign Machado in the offseason but may need to trade for him now in order to ensure that happens. They do not have the farm system that they did prior to their World Series winning season, but a package of top prospect Adbert Alzolay and Addison Russell should be enough. Machado would bring some much needed pop to the offense, and as mentioned earlier, he is a prime free agent candidate for the Cubs anyway.
Prediction: Machado gets traded to the Phillies.
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