The Philadelphia Phillies seemingly have made a spirited effort to acquire superstar shortstop Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles. It seems as though they’ll finish as one of the runners up in the Machado sweepstakes.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Phillies are likely one of the suitors for Machado that feels that the Los Angeles Dodgers will ultimately acquire the four-time All-Star:
#Dodgers increasingly likely to land Machado, sources tell The Athletic. Barring last-minute snag, several of interested teams expect that outcome.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 17, 2018
This piggybacks off of a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today earlier today that suggested that the Dodgers are expected to acquire the 26-year-old from the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday morning.
If Machado is acquired by the Dodgers, it won’t take long for him to return to Citizens Bank Park. The Dodgers are scheduled to play in Philadelphia July 23-25. The series will be a battle between two teams looking to win their respective divisions. It will also be the last time Chase Utley, a Phillies icon, returns to Philadelphia in a regular season game. It appears as though it could be the first time that Machado comes to Philadelphia as a member of the Dodgers as well.
It’s unclear exactly what package the Dodgers will be sending to the Orioles for Machado, though it will seemingly include their No. 4 overall prospect, outfielder Yusniel Diaz, who Fancred Sports‘ Jon Heyman reported Tuesday morning was in play for a trade. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported Monday evening that the Phillies were willing to move RHP Adonis Medina, the organization’s No. 2 overall prospect. Unfortunately for the Phillies, a package headlined by Diaz seems to have piqued the Orioles interest just a bit more. Short of putting No. 1 overall prospect Sixto Sanchez on the table, which the Phillies certainly weren’t going to do for a rental, the Phillies probably weren’t going to best an offer than included Diaz.
Though the Dodgers have $131 million in financial commitments for 2019, how hard they competed to get Machado suggests that they don’t view him as just a rental. Sure, they have Justin Turner currently entrenched at third base and Corey Seager, a natural shortstop, set to return in 2019. But Turner will be 34 in November, so if the Dodgers are able to re-sign Machado at some point, they would likely trade Turner, clearing $19 million in 2019. Seager could then play third base, with Machado likely to remain at his natural position of shortstop.
This trade, assuming it is completed, does not mean the end of the Phillies pursuit of Machado, however. With Turner and Seager both under contract for 2019, it’s possible that the Dodgers ultimately feel that other suitors – the Phillies, the Yankees – are willing to pay Machado so much, that they’ll just insert Seager back at short and let Machado walk. That doesn’t feel overly likely, though, given that the Dodgers are making a franchise-altering trade and won’t get any draft compensation if Machado leaves in free-agency.
In the next few months, the Phillies will compete to make the playoffs for the first time in seven years. General manager Matt Klentak, president Andy MacPhail and Phillies brass will also have a few months to formulate a plan for this offseason. Part of that plan will seemingly be deciding whether they still have a legitimate chance to sign Machado in the offseason If not, Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is eligible for free-agency this offseason and Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado could be an interesting trade target. And if the Phillies don’t land Machado, cries for them to chase another star that plays in Los Angeles figure only to grow louder.