Jon Duplantier Trade Rumors Surface Amid Diamondbacks' Pursuit of Manny Machado

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2018

Baltimore Orioles' Manny Machado during the fourth inning of the MLB baseball game against the New York Mets at Citi Field, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

The Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks have had "consistent" conversations regarding a potential Manny Machado trade, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, and the Orioles have expressed interest in pitching prospect Jon Duplantier.

That interest has complicated talks, however, as Morosi elaborated upon:

Jon Morosi @jonmorosi

Sources: #Orioles interested in #DBacks pitching prospect Jon Duplantier in Manny Machado talks, but the viability of that concept is complicated by the fact that Duplantier has not pitched since May 27 due to biceps tendinitis. @MLBNetwork @MLB

The 23-year-old Duplantier is 3-1 with a 2.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 41 strikeouts in 35.2 innings for the Double-A Jackson Generals this season.

According to MLB.com, Duplantier is the top prospect in Arizona's farm system and the No. 60 prospect in all of baseball. The site offered the following scouting report on the young prospect:

"While his fastball usually sits in the 92-94 mph range, he can reach back for more when needed. He throws it with sink and run and was as effective in getting ground-ball outs as he was in missing bats in 2017. He added a slider to his arsenal and it might end up being his best secondary offering, with plus potential. He still throws an effective curveball as well. He has feel for a changeup, giving him the chance for a very effective four-pitch mix. He's around the strike zone more than enough to remain a starter."

Duplantier is not the sort of pitching prospect a team should part with lightly, but Machado is precisely the player worth that price, perhaps even as a rental. Consider that Machado is only two years older than Duplantier and currently hitting .311 with 21 homers (tied for eighth in MLB) and 59 RBI (tied for seventh in baseball).

Yes, Machado will be a free agent this summer and will command over $300 million in his next deal. The Diamondbacks may lose him. But it's possible that if they get him onto the team, sell him on their future and throw huge money in his direction, he could remain in Arizona.

Plus, Machado could be the difference between missing the postseason (or a quick exit) and winning a World Series. The Diamondbacks will have to determine whether acquiring Machado in the short term is worth a top prospect or two and if it will help them keep him in the long term.