As the Baltimore Orioles are entering a phase of possibly breaking up their team and start over with younger players, Manny Machado is gathering a lot of interest from a few teams, especially the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies.
The 25 year old third baseman is entering his final season of arbitration, making $17.3 million in 2017. The Orioles know Machado is looking to make Giancarlo Stanton money, which means a $300 million deal, and probably aren’t in the running to throw that kind of money at him. It’s not his disappointing 2017, but simply not wanting to spend that kind of money on players. With their need for rotation players (at least two) and looming key player contract expirations, trying to bring in prospects just might be the way to go.
Machado, a two-time gold glove winner at third base, wants to go back to shortstop, whether in Baltimore or anywhere else. He played a lot of shortstop in 2016, but this season was all third base. He didn’t make the All-Star game and batted almost 40 points below his 2016 batting average, but still hit 33 home runs, making it 105 over the last three seasons. Machado did have a strong finish to 2017, batting .295 and slugging .513 in the final three months of the season.
Besides Machado, Zach Britton, Adam Jones and Brad Bach hit free agency in 2018, which means we could see a firesale from the Orioles this offseason and during the season. Jonathan Schoop is out of their hands in 2019. With the AL East looking like something too difficult to deal with at this point, the Orioles look like a team in a very good position to begin a rebuild while loading up on young talent. The Orioles are looking for two young starters who are controllable for at least three years. Not an easy price to pay for other teams, even if it’s for someone like Machado.
One thing we do know is that the Orioles will not deal with the Yankees, and probably any other division rival.