Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado celebrated his 26th birthday Friday. He didn’t celebrate it with a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies, however, and appears increasingly unlikely to be dealt to the Phillies prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, general manager Matt Klentak and the Phillies have decided to focus their attention elsewhere from Machado as the Orioles continue to ask for what they deem to be too much:
Source says Phillies have moved on from Machado for now, as Orioles’ asking price is too high. My colleague @ToddZolecki reported yesterday that the Phillies were “considered longshots” for Machado.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 6, 2018
As Feinsand alluded to, MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki reported during the Orioles visit to Citizens Bank Park this week that the Phillies “could be considered longshots” to trade for Machado this summer. He’s not the only reporter to suggest that, as The Athletic‘s Jayson Stark said Thursday that he believes the Phillies are “really unlikely to trade for him [Machado], but incredibly likely to sign him next winter.”
MLB.com‘s Jon Morosi wrote Thursday that the Phillies would be reluctant to part with No. 1 overall prospect Sixto Sanchez or 24-year-old righty Zach Eflin, who has a 1.91 ERA over his past six starts. Though he admitted that he wasn’t sure how the Phillies would feel about moving No. 2 overall prospect Adonis Medina, a right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic, he seemed to think that would be more likely than parting with Eflin. For my part, I wrote that while the Phillies would probably be willing to part with just about anyone in the organization if it assured they could employ Machado for the next decade – that would exclude Sanchez, Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Nola – giving up any of the pitchers discussed seemed like a lot with Machado just a few months away from being eligible for free-agency.
One other player that the Orioles are high on, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, is Phillies third baseman/shortstop J.P. Crawford. Crawford, the organization’s long-time top prospect, is currently on the disabled list for the second time this year, this time with a broken hand.
Regardless of who the Orioles are interested in, the Phillies appear to view the asking-price of Dan Duquette, Brady Anderson and whoever else has a say in the Orioles front-office currently to be too high. ESPN.com‘s Jerry Crasnick added today that no potential suitors have come close to meeting the asking-price of the Orioles. His colleague Buster Olney added that there is some hope from teams that as we get closer to July 31, the Orioles will get more desperate and drastically lower their asking price, as the Texas Rangers did last summer with Yu Darvish.
The feeling here is that Orioles owner Peter Angelos – who famously nixed a Zach Britton-to-the-Astros deal last July – is stubborn enough that if his asking price isn’t met, he’ll hold onto Machado. The Orioles would then have no clear plan for what to do with Machado, except to extend him a qualifying offer this offseason and collect draft compensation when he leaves in free-agency. Is that a good plan? No. But neither was holding onto Machado this long when it’s been clear for years now that the team wouldn’t be able to retain him past 2018.
There is a sense of posturing from the Phillies here. You can bet that the Phillies and Orioles will discuss Machado again before the month is out. But the Phillies have drawn a line in the sand here. Even as they compete to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011, their window has just opened. They are likely to add an infielder before the end of this month, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be Machado. The Phillies have substantively been connected to both Mike Moustakas and Adrian Beltre as well, so they’ll take their business elsewhere if the price for Machado remains this high.