Trade Rumors

Phillies remain a front-runner for Manny Machado



As the July 31 MLB non-waiver trade deadline approaches, the Phillies remain prime contenders to acquire Orioles star shortstop Manny Machado

As the July 31 MLB non-waiver trade deadline approaches, the Philadelphia Phillies seem to be involved in rumors regarding nearly every major player whose name is being bandied about. The biggest and hottest name of all is Baltimore Orioles superstar shortstop Manny Machado.

Jon Heyman at Fancred Sports reports today that his usually reliable sources are telling him that the Milwaukee Brewers have recently emerged as a contender for Machado.

The Brew Crew are tied with the Chicago Cubs in the loss column at the top of the NL Central Division standings. Heyman reports that the Phillies also remain a prime contender for the pending free agent.

“According to sources, the Brewers are a previously unmentioned, semi-surprise team to show interest in Machado in a derby seemingly dominated by most of the best of the National League – the also contending Phillies, Diamondbacks and Dodgers are all seen as among the possible Machado favorites – as the trade interest raises the prospect that the former third baseman could be dealt sooner than most figured.”

Heyman also reports that “the Phillies love Machado and need help on the left side of the infield“, and that along with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers, the Phillies “are confirmed to be involved at least on some level.

They Phillies minor league system has exactly the types of prospects that Milwaukee GM David Stearns would be looking for as a return for the superstar shortstop, per Heyman:

“The Brewers also have perhaps the best overall prospect list among the main contenders for the superstar, though the Phillies are also very high in prospect rankings. Counting young major leaguers, Philly is strong where the Orioles need help most, at pitcher and on the infield.”

Heyman goes on to comment on Machado’s previous links to current members of the Phillies front office, as well as management and ownership’s interest in going after him as a free agent his off-season:

“Phillies executives, most of whom were in Baltimore when Machado was selected as the No. 3 overall pick in 2010 draft, love Machado and intend to target him as a free agent this winter. They haven’t gotten much production at either shortstop or third base. And while Phillies people have suggested they are unsure if they are ready to win a World Series this year, the reality is that in the NL East they are only one game behind the Braves, another surprise team.”

Machado turns 26 years old today. The Florida native is currently in his seventh big league season. He was Baltimore’s first round choice at third overall in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft out of Brito Miami Private School.

A three-time American League All-Star and two-time AL Gold Glover as a third baseman, Machado began a transition to his preferred position of shortstop a year ago. He has stated publicly that he wants to remain at that position.

Despite some media speculation that he could be used by an acquiring team at either third base or shortstop, Machado himself has presumably put that to rest. While in Philadelphia to face the Phillies this past week, he was quoted as follows by Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun:

“I’m playing short. That’s the position I want to play. That’s the position I know I can play and produce [at]. … I’ve been a shortstop my entire life. I’ve played third base for a couple years. I did well, and I thought I was an elite player at that position, but at the end of the day, I’ve been a shortstop my entire life. I know I can be a way better player as a shortstop than I can at third.”

Regarding the Phillies in particular, Machado seemed impressed by what he was seeing according to Meoli:

“They’re a good ballclub. They’re young. They’re hungry. They want to win. They’ve been impressive. They’ve got a good ballclub over there. But I can’t tell you more about it because they’re on the other side, and we don’t see them that much.”

Machado is the exact type of true offensive force that the Phillies desperately need in the middle of their batting order. His current 21 home runs and 59 RBI would lead the Phillies in each of those categories. His 18 doubles would be second on the club only to Rhys Hoskins. Even his seven stolen bases would be second on the team.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted out today that the Orioles may be underwhelmed by trade offers they are currently receiving.

Earlier this week, Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic reported that “conventional wisdom is that the Phillies do not want to trade top prospects for Machado when they can simply sign him as a free agent after the season.

However, Rosenthal went on to speculate on a possible acquisition cost:

“Would the Phillies, for example, be willing to part with shortstop J.P. Crawford, a favorite of GM Matt Klentak, without knowing whether they could sign Machado long-term? The Orioles are thought to like Crawford. The Phils value him so highly that they traded Freddy Galvis, the major league leader in defensive runs saved, to create an opening at shortstop. But Crawford, who is on the disabled list a second time and batting just .194, continues to elicit mixed opinions within the industry.”

It seems pretty clear that the Phillies have both an interest in and a need for Machado. It appears just as clear that the player is comfortable with the Phillies front office, and respects the direction in which the team is moving for the future.

It may now just be a question of timing. Do the Phillies make the move now, surrendering prospects, hoping that they can sign him to a contract prior to the off-season? Do the Phillies wait, watch him go elsewhere, and hope that another acquiring team doesn’t entice him into a long term deal?

One thing is certain: Machado will not be in an Orioles uniform when this calendar month draws to a close. The likelihood is that he will be moved sooner rather than later. This may be the first real opportunity for the Phillies front office to demonstrate that they can “Be Bold”, as their motto for this suddenly contending season states.

 

 

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Lefty

    July 6, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    I think it’s important to make the trade now as opposed to waiting for FA. While it’s true that you can get him without sacrificing any players later, I think the team that gets him now has a leg up on the others. Two months of letting him see close up what both his professional and living situation would be like, can make all the difference in the world.

    • Matthew Veasey

      July 7, 2018 at 2:12 pm

      Absolutely agree. Let’s see how it plays out. Will be fascinating to watch what Matt Klentak does in the coming weeks. I count this next three weeks as his first truly big test as Phillies GM.

  2. Craig Glessner

    July 6, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    we need a left fielder, I like Hoskins but not in the outfield he is a liability. I understand the Santana move in the off season but i think we could use him as a trade chip plus that would save $20 Million to sign Machado. Im not sure who we could pursue but not Granderson. GO PHILLIES

    • Lokey

      July 7, 2018 at 11:24 am

      What about Castellanos to help in the OF?

      • Matthew Veasey

        July 7, 2018 at 2:00 pm

        At 26 years of age, Castellanos is now in his prime. He should provide another 4-5 good years after this one at a minimum. He is arbitration eligible for 2019, currently making $6.05 million, and becomes a free agent after next season. So an acquiring team would control him for another full season beyond this one. He currently sports a .302/.352/.513 slash line with 14 homers, 26 doubles, and 54 RBI. Though he has only played the outfield this season, Castellanos has been a third baseman in prior years, and in fact played 129 games at the hot corner just last season. Unfortunately, he is a liability at either third base or on a corner outfield spot. The Phillies are already defensively challenged, to put it mildly. It’s hard to see the Tigers giving him up for minimal value. If they deal him, now is the time to get max value for a guy who is definitely a nice hitter. Considering his total package as a player, unless the price were somehow much less than I believe it would be, I wouldn’t do it.

    • Matthew Veasey

      July 7, 2018 at 2:11 pm

      I’m largely with you on all of that. I was against the Santana signing and Hoskins move from the beginning. However, the Phillies are not going back from that plan, barring some major injury to Santana. I think the Phillies are more likely to add a big bat to the outfield in the off-season, if they do so at all.

      • czontixhldr

        July 8, 2018 at 12:06 pm

        I liked the Santana signing, and it has largely worked out. Sure, Hoskins is not a very good LF, but without the Santana signing the OF is Williams/Altherr, with Williams in LF. That likely is the difference between being is first place right now or some number of games behind.

        Santana had a bad April, but since May 1 has put up a beastly .256/.398/.508/.906 line with 23 XBH (12 HR) and 40 RBI. That’s not Freddy Freeman on the year (.938 OPS), but to compare, since May 1 Freeman’s line is .308/.384/.527/.912 with 26 XBH (12 HR) and 39 RBI.

        • Matthew Veasey

          July 9, 2018 at 11:53 am

          There is no doubt that Santana has performed since the start of May, as you correctly highlighted. Of course, my being against the signing was prior to this performance. It was the idea that back when they did it, it was unnecessary. While he has absolutely been a nice pickup to this point, the fact remains that the Phillies did not pay $20 million a year for Santana in his prime. They got him for his ages 32-34 seasons. I still think it was an all-around bad decision. Time will tell, but for now, hope he keeps on raking.

  3. Steve

    July 7, 2018 at 12:20 am

    After tonight’s Win, I’d offer J.P. Crawford, Cozens, Moniak, & Drew Anderson for Manny and we are talking WS this yr!

    • Matthew Veasey

      July 7, 2018 at 2:03 pm

      Actually, I would do that deal as well. But I wonder if the Orioles would think it were enough? Right now they are said to be seeking the sun, moon and stars. My guess is that no team will pay that price. So something will have to give in the coming weeks. I would pay the moon, maybe even the moon and stars. Will be interesting to see what happens, because Machado will definitely not play a game in an Orioles uniform during the month of August.

      • czontixhldr

        July 8, 2018 at 12:23 pm

        Without being assured the Manny signs long-term there is no way I include JPC in a deal for him.

        I read somewhere else that since 2000 the only rental player who got traded who signed an in-season extension with the team to which he was traded is Rolen (STL), and the only other one I could find who signed again in FA with the team to which he was traded was Matt Holliday (STL).

        There is a reason that guys like Manny want to test the FA waters, and though I am not sold on JPC’s hitting yet, he’s a potential cornerstone defender for years at the premium defensive position on the field. Also remember that Manny is no great shakes at SS this season. AAMOF, according to Fangraphs he’s the worst defensive SS among the qualifiers this season.

        https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=ss&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2018&month=0&season1=2018&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=20,d

        Also, he seems insistent on playing SS going forward, and that may not be the best outcome for any team with whom he signs going forward.

        I would love to see Machado’s bat in a Phillies uni for the rest of 2018, but not at the cost of any MLB players that are potential long-term pieces.

        That’s taking the position that 2018 is the only year that matters, and the last I checked the Phillies are looking to build a contender for the next several years.

        You don’t do that by trading away potential long term pieces like Eflin and Crawford for a rental unless you have guys you KNOW can replace them.

        Once they hit FA, the track record says the grass on the other side gets greener for guys like Manny, despite where they may have played for the last 2-3 months leading up to their free agency.

        • Matthew Veasey

          July 9, 2018 at 11:50 am

          You are absolutely right on Rolen being the last player traded in-season to also sign an in-season extension. And you also have to remember his circumstances. Rolen was a midwest guy from Indiana, looking to specifically go to a contender in that region. Saint Louis was a well-known ‘Baseball Heaven’, and he was ecstatic to be dealt there. Signing with them long term was a no-brainer, he loved it from the start. While Machado becoming the next might be considered a longshot by some, fact is that he has publicly stated that he would be open to the idea. It would really be all up to the Phillies coming up with a strong enough contract offer. Right now (Monday morning 7/9) it is looking like the Phils offer is falling short of both Milwaukee and the Dodgers. If he is dealt anywhere else, would have to hope it is to the Brew Crew, where I doubt highly that he would even consider long term. That would leave him as an off-season FA possibility.

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