Potential Trade Packages and Landing Spots for Manny Machado
Manny Machado is a 25-year-old generational talent with two Gold Gloves in his trophy case and the ability to man third base and shortstop. He owns a .301 average and .929 OPS this season along with 19 home runs. He toils for a Baltimore Orioles club that's mired in last place in the American League East.
Machado is also an impending free agent. As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches, rumors will continue to fly.
Technically, every team would benefit from Machado's services. But let's examine seven squads that make real-world sense based on need, contending status and resources and speculate on the packages they'd have to send to Baltimore.
Boston Red Sox
This one's a long sot, but we'll include it because Machado-Boston Red Sox chatter was simmering as recently as June 14, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
The Red Sox farm system is ho-hum. Third baseman and top prospect (per MLB.com) Michael Chavis is serving an 80-game performance-enhancing drugs suspension, and left-handed pitcher and No. 2 prospect Jay Groome is out after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Boston would likely have to part with 21-year-old, team-controlled third baseman Rafael Devers, who's hitting .237 with a .704 OPS this season but put up a .284 average and .819 OPS in his 58-game 2017 debut.
If the Sox's only goal is besting the powerful, archrival New York Yankees this season, they could consider Machado. If they have their eyes even slightly turned toward the future, though, this would be a blunder.
Possible Machado package: 3B Rafael Devers (MLB), RHP Ty Buttrey (Triple-A)
On May 17, Jon Heyman of FRS Sports reported Machado was the Chicago Cubs' "main target."
Cubs executive Theo Epstein later tossed a wet blanket on that hot rumor, but it would make some sense for a team trying to get back to the World Series.
Like Boston, however, Chicago doesn't have much in the way of blue-chip prospects. Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter ranked its farm system dead last after the 2018 amateur draft.
The Cubs would likely need to part with shortstop Addison Russell, both to entice the Orioles and clear a spot for Machado.
Russell was an All-Star in 2016 and after some struggles at the plate is hitting .302 in June. Would Epstein really part with a 24-year-old under team control through 2021 for a half-season of Machado? It's possible, but it seems unlikely.
Possible Machado Package: SS Addison Russell (MLB), RHP Oscar De La Cruz (Double-A)
Los Angeles Dodgers
On paper, this one makes perfect sense.
The Los Angeles Dodgers lost their franchise shortstop, Corey Seager, to Tommy John surgery. They haven't won a World Series since 1988.
Machado would instantly and immeasurably improve their chances of hoisting the Commissioner's Trophy while filling the Seager-size hole in their infield.
Giving away prized prospects for trade-deadline rentals hasn't generally been the M.O. of executive Andrew Friedman since he took the helm, however, and L.A. might have a bad taste in its mouth from last July's ill-fated swap for right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish.
Don't count the Dodgers out, though. If they can't gain separation in the National League West over the next few weeks, they may decide to get drastic. But Machado in SoCal is far from a sure bet, especially since it'd likely cost L.A. outfielder and top prospect Alex Verdugo plus more.
Possible Machado Package: OF Alex Verdugo (Triple-A), RHP Yadier Alvarez (Double-A)
The Cleveland Indians are the ignoble owners of MLB's longest championship drought. They're also set on the left side of the infield with shortstop Francisco Lindor and third baseman Jose Ramirez, both of whom are untouchable in any trade talks.
If Cleveland wanted to get creative, however, it could slide Ramirez to second base and bench veteran Jason Kipnis, who's hitting .212 with a .636 OPS.
That would clear a spot for Machado at the hot corner, though the Tribe might have to part with catcher-outfielder and top prospect Francisco Mejia along with an ancillary MiLB piece.
Imagine him in their lineup, however, and imagine long-suffering Indians fans finally getting to bathe in confetti.
Possible Machado Package: C/OF Francisco Mejia (Triple-A), 3B Nolan Jones (Single-A)
Philadelphia Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford is on the shelf with a broken hand, and at 41-34, the Phils are just 2.5 games out in the National League East.
Renting Machado would be a bold play for a team that was supposed to be a year or two away from contention.
According to the Good Phight, Philadelphia has "remained in contact" with the O's regarding Machado. As ridiculous as it would have sounded a few months ago, it could happen.
The Phillies would have to ding a farm system they've worked to rebuild. They'd be loathe to surrender right-hander and top prospect Sixto Sanchez, but that could be what it takes.
Possible Machado Package: RHP Sixto Sanchez (High-A), SS Arquimedes Gamboa (High-A)
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a chance to wrest NL West supremacy from the Dodgers. They could also stand to boost an offense that ranks 23rd in baseball with a .705 OPS.
At shortstop, Nick Ahmed and his .216 average top the depth chart. At third base, Jake Lamb is hitting .228.
Slot Machado next to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in the lineup, and suddenly the Snakes look a lot more formidable.
If the Diamondbacks want to keep right-hander and top prospect Jon Duplantier, they could instead offer first baseman and No. 2 prospect Pavin Smith, who's blocked by Goldschmidt.
Possible Machado Package: 1B Pavin Smith (High-A), 3B Drew Ellis (High-A)
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are above .500 at 40-36 and very much in the National League postseason picture. As with Arizona, however, the offense has wobbled to the tune of a .709 OPS.
Shortstop Paul DeJong is out with a broken hand, and Machado would represent a massive upgrade at the position.
The Cards may have to give up a couple of big league-ready arms from the top of their perennially solid system if they want to keep right-hander and top prospect Alex Reyes, a potential ace who's out for the season with a lat injury that required surgery.
Possible Machado Package: RHP Dakota Hudson (Triple-A), RHP Ryan Helsley (Triple-A)
All statistics accurate through Saturday and courtesy of Baseball Reference.