Multiple reports out of the 2018 Winter Meetings suggest that the Baltimore Orioles are “open” to fielding trade offers on their superstar infielder Manny Machado. Machado is an All-Star talent and would be a huge asset for any team. Could he be a fit for the Dodgers?
Manny Machado is an offensive and defensive talent that would improve any team in the league, including the Dodgers. Even though the Dodgers already have stability on the left side of the infield, Machado could be someone the front office checks-in on to improve the club.
Machado is projected to make $17.3M in his final season of arbitration. Unlike Stanton, he does not come with a huge financial commitment beyond next season. Machado headlines the 2018 free agency class along with Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper, which is the reason why the Orioles are willing to listen to offers for him.
The Dodgers have made it clear that they are unlikely to pursue top free agents this offseason and would be more inclined to seek top-tier free agents next offseason when they free up more payroll. Taking a flyer on Machado now gives them a step up on all other 29 teams looking to sign Machado next free agency.
The asking price for Manny will be steep. Machado is only 25-years old and has already solidified himself as one of the games best infielders. Unlike with negotiations with the Marlins, the Dodgers wouldn’t hold the leverage in the negotiations. Machado doesn’t have a steep contract obligation and doesn’t have a no-trade clause. Seemingly, the Orioles could very well hold onto him this season and take their chances with re-signing their home-grown star.
So why should the Dodgers consider a trade for Machado?
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For one, the Dodgers have the young assets to intrigue the Orioles in a potential deal. We already know that Walker Buehler and Alex Verdugo are untouchable, but the Dodgers have enough young talent to make this trade happen.
The Dodgers can work a deal where they include prospects like Yadier Alvarez, Starling Heredia, and even Yusniel Diaz. They could also structure the deal where they send other players on their 40-man roster to balance out the salary commitment for next season. That would include Grandal and potentially Pederson. Both players would be welcome additions in Baltimore given their lack of depth at catcher and need to find a potential replacement for Adam Jones next summer.
As I mentioned, the Dodgers are already set at the left side of the infield with Seager and Turner. However, trading for Machado gives Dave Roberts flexibility to move Seager, who dealt with elbow issues last season, to second base to protect his arm. Seager is more than capable of playing shortstop, but many scouts have said a position change would likely be in Seager’s future. I’m not opposed to this if it means it will protect Seager’s health.
It also helps stabilize the infield with the questions surrounding Logan Forsythe at second base. Roberts could use Forsythe as a utility infielder to play second, third, and first when giving anyone of Turner, Seager, Bellinger and/or Gonzalez a day off.
Offensively, Machado would slide in perfectly to the number five spot behind Bellinger. Machado is coming off of somewhat of a down season by his standards as he only hit .259, his lowest mark of his career. Machado is a lifetime .279 hitter and has hit 30+ home runs the last three seasons. He’ll provide the protection Bellinger needs in the five spot of the order.
The Dodgers are being very passive on the free agency market. They cleared upwards of $50M this offseason but are sticking to their guns by not spending that money. I’m a firm believer that you either get better or worse every offseason. The Dodgers already got worse by losing Brandon Morrow. Now it’s time for them to make a move that makes them better. You can’t simply sit out an entire offseason and expect the team to produce the same way it did last year.
A trade involving Machado is unlikely to get done altogether. Although the Orioles are longshots to make the postseason, they will take their best shot at re-signing their best player before he tests the market. It doesn’t really make sense for the Dodgers to trade assets for a player they could potentially get for free next offseason.
As much as I’d love to see Machado in Dodger blue, it’s highly unlikely. The Dodgers have a good thing going with their infield, and he’s not the right upgrade for them. At least not if it means trading away some prospects. Friedman is best off sitting these sweepstakes out and look elsewhere for improvements.