For the better part of the last three years, the baseball world has discussed how good of a fit Baltimore Orioles shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado is for the Philadelphia Phillies. That discussion figures to continue through July, as we approach the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. It will probably continue past the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Whether the Phillies ultimately land the three-time All-Star or not remains to be seen.
According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, while the Phillies have interest in Machado and continue to be connected to the 25-year-old, a trade for him this summer is unlikely:
Because they need help on the left side of their infield, because they have a deep farm system, and because they have money to spend, many in baseball believe the Phillies have as good a chance as anybody to acquire Machado before the end of the month. But sources have told MLB.com that teams like the D-backs are more likely to acquire Machado than the Phillies, who could be considered longshots.
But until Machado is traded, he will be linked to Philadelphia. Make no mistake, the Phillies love him. They have inquired. They are keeping tabs on him. But they are far more likely to take a run at him in November, when they will not need to give up the farm to get him.
Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reported last week that the Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be the two favorites to acquire Machado before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Tuesday that the Orioles are motivated to deal their franchise icon as soon as possible, under the belief they’ll get a larger return the quicker they move him. Rosenthal also added that the Orioles are high on J.P. Crawford.
Presumably, the Phillies would stand a good chance to land Machado in free-agency this offseason. With that said, the Phillies are currently three-and-a-half games back of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East and just one game up on the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Sure, the end goal of acquiring Machado in July would be to give the Phillies an advantage when Machado tests free-agency this offseason. But in the interim, he could help the Phillies to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
There would be a risk in trading for Machado, of course. Simply because the Phillies are a team with deep pockets that is motivated to land Machado this offseason doesn’t mean another major market team – the Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs, the New York Yankees – won’t outbid the Phillies for Machado. The Los Angeles Angels know this all too well. They acquired Mark Teixeira and Zack Greinke as rentals within a four-year span, only to see them leave as free-agents in the offseason. If the Phillies traded for Machado and lost him in free-agency, not only would they have traded prospect (or young major league talent) capital for him, but they wouldn’t even get draft compensation. They would just be left empty-handed.
The other angle to this is that if a team like the Dodgers acquires Machado, they could gain an advantage on the Phillies. Forget that the Dodgers could edge the Phillies out for one of the two National League Wild Card spots in 2018. If Machado spent a few months in Los Angeles, he may be more likely to re-sign there in the offseason, as opposed to coming to Philadelphia.