The Philadelphia Phillies appear increasingly less likely to acquire Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but general manager Matt Klentak reportedly has kept a dialogue with the Orioles front-office.
Jim Bowden and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Wednesday that the Phillies continue to discuss Machado with the Orioles, but aren’t considered one of the front-runners to land the four-time All-Star:
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) July 11, 2018
#Orioles remain in talks on Machado, sources tell The Athletic. #Yankees’ interest described as “serious” – @JonHeyman reported strong offer by NYY. #Dodgers, #Brewers also serious, while #DBacks, #Phillies staying in touch; PHI contact reported earlier by @JimBowdenGM.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 12, 2018
Machado, who turned 26 last week, is currently slashing .314/.383/.573 with 23 home runs and 63 RBIs. The Phillies will travel to Baltimore Thursday for a makeup game against Machado and the Orioles. It’s the final time the Phillies are scheduled to play in a game involving Machado in 2018. But between the possibility the Phillies increase their urgency on Machado or he’s traded to a National League contender, it’s entirely possible they’ll see him again before the 2018 season concludes.
As I wrote Wednesday, the Phillies are playing a dangerous, probably smart game with Machado.
On one hand, the Phillies are probably correct not to want to part with Zach Eflin or Adonis Medina in any deal involving Machado, who is widely expected to test free-agency this offseason regardless of where he finishes the season. It’s entirely possible that Machado could be dealt to a contender – the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cleveland Indians – that he helps make a playoff run in 2018 but is unable to retain him after the season. The Phillies would then be seen as one of the favorites to court Machado in free-agency.
On the other hand, Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reported Wednesday evening that the Yankees have made a ‘strong offer’ for Machado. The Yankees don’t necessarily need to upgrade their infield, but Machado is in the midst of the best offensive season of his career and would make the Yankees the prohibited favorite to win the World Series. The Yankees would either have to convince Machado to play third base long-term or trade Didi Gregorius to retain Machado past 2018. But as you can imagine, they certainly have the financial might to re-sign Machado this offseason. Machado liked an Instagram post with him photoshopped into a Yankees jersey Wednesday night. A few months in New York might give the Yankees an advantage even if Machado does test free-agency this offseason. Though the Los Angeles Dodgers have a less clear path to re-signing Machado after this offseason, it’s not entirely impossible like it would be for the Diamondbacks, Brewers or Indians.
So there’s at least a level of risk in allowing another team to acquire Machado for the final few months before he becomes a free-agent. It appears we may find out if it makes sense for the Phillies to take that risk.