What's the precedent for a Machado deal? Looking at MLB trades in the past decade that involved a young superstar before his walk year - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Paul Folkemer

What’s the precedent for a Machado deal? Looking at MLB trades in the past decade that involved a young superstar before his walk year

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

As trade rumors swirl around Manny Machado, fans and media have speculated on what kind of return package the Orioles might get if they trade their star third baseman.

Can the Orioles land a bounty of top-100 prospects? Can they get a major league ready starting pitcher? Some combination of both? Neither?

To offer an idea of what to expect, I pored through the last 10 years of MLB trades looking for similar deals involving star players. To narrow my search, I looked for trades of players who — like Machado — fit the following criteria:

  • The player was younger than 30 at the time of the trade.

Players who are in their prime or approaching their prime tend to fetch a better return than over-30 players whose best years are likely behind them. Machado is 25, so that should affect the quality of prospects the Orioles would get in a trade.

  • The player had at least a 15 career WAR and multiple MLB honors.

I’m looking for star players who provided a lot of value to their teams. I set 15 WAR (using Baseball Reference) as a minimum; anyone below that mark probably hadn’t yet established themselves as a star. I’m also looking for players who received plenty of recognition around MLB for their achievements, such as All-Star selections, Gold Gloves and/or Top 10 voting in year-end awards (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year). Machado, for instance, has a 27.9 career WAR, three All-Star selections, two Gold Gloves and three Top 10 MVP finishes.

  • The player had one season remaining until free agency.

This is an important caveat. Generally, a player who has only one season left on his contract isn’t going to command as much of a return as someone with multiple years of team control. I’m also not including pending free agents who were traded during the season, since their new teams didn’t get a full year out of them. I’m looking for players with exactly one year remaining on their contracts at the time of the trade — no more, no less.

I found five trades in the last decade that fit the criteria. Here’s a look at how those deals panned out.

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  1. letsgolos

    December 19, 2017 at 8:05 am

    This is a great post, Paul. I think you’re spot on with the Heyward comparison. That’s about what the O’s can expect back.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 19, 2017 at 9:36 am

      I think the Orioles believe the No. 1 thing is a top arm, which Miller had the potential to be.

  2. ComeBack2Camden

    December 19, 2017 at 8:48 am

    The superstar seldom brings much of a return. The trading team’s fans, grieving at the loss, expect credible MLB-ready talent as compensation. They expect this in part because they are suffering. It doesn’t work. But before we go thinking Duquette should have done this years ago., remember context. Hopes were still high then. Would have been cruel.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 19, 2017 at 9:37 am

      Wouldn’t say it doesn’t work. Just doesn’t always work.

  3. Stacey

    December 19, 2017 at 8:59 am

    So what you’re saying is that the Orioles are going to get the next Carlos Gonzalez or Anthony Rizzo. Sounds great!

    • Dan Connolly

      December 19, 2017 at 9:38 am

      There should be a moratorium on any trades the Orioles can make involving any haul in the Machado deal. Say 8 years. Blame it on Rizzo.

  4. BunkerFan

    December 19, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Excellent article with lots of insightful research. No wonder DD hasn’t pulled the trigger yet. If we got even one genuine and lasting MLB successful player from the trade it would be better than almost all these. Very interesting.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 19, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Yeah. Definitely thought it was worth looking into. Paul did a good job.

  5. Bancells Moustache

    December 19, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I still believe a new player will soon emerge in the Machado sweepstakes since the whole world seems to have already written him in the Yankees lineup in ’19. Machado in New York completes what is essentially an NBA style superteam, greatly tipping the balance of power to the Bronx for the next decade. There is one team that has both the motivation and the assets to prevent that from happening; the Boston Red Sox. Wouldn’t it make sense, since the Sox are closer to the close of their window than New York, to get Machado in their clubhouse to build rapport with guys on the team, and convince him 300 million to defeat the Evil Empire buys the same things that 300 million to join them does? Since Paul mentioned precedents, Machado’s baseball godfather immediately comes to mind, the A-Rod deal that Steinbrenner snatched from under the Red Sox noses in late ’03. And I don’t want to hear about the beanball stuff from this summer, there is no one in Fenway Park who doesn’t see that Machado could be the piece that gets them to the promised land next year and beyond. They’ll bury the hatchet in a split second if they think he can help them win a championship. It’s a strategic move. If you get him, you have a shot at keeping him out of pinstripes. By just being involved, you increase the urgency of your arch-rival to sign him (needlessly) this year and give up more assets than they otherwise might not be willing to part with, weakening them in the long run. It bears watching. Never fear Rome. The serpent lies coiled in Massachussets.

  6. Wade Warren

    December 19, 2017 at 10:42 am

    I am no Dan or Rich or any other expert but I will put my knowledge of the Orioles on the line. No trade is going to happen with Manny. What the Orioles need to be focused on is a pitching staff and few other players. When we don’t get anyone them the Manny excuse will be used. sorry just my 2 cents


    December 19, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Great analysis, Dan. At this point, I guess the Orioles are asking for too much.
    This breaks my heart. Machado looked like he would join the ranks of Brooks, Frank, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken as one of the Oriole Hall of Famers.
    But, like they say, if he doesn’t want to be here …
    Manny Machado is in for a rude awakening of he goes to Boston or New York. If he runs one of those teams out of an inning, he is going to find out what it’s like to be booed.
    Baltimore fans have always been very supportive of their players. However, he should be prepared to hear the loudest boos heard in this park since David Ortiz punished the dugout.

    • Stacey

      December 19, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      I think that at this point there is virtually nothing that could keep Machado from becoming a free agent at the end of next year, but when I recently heard that the Orioles hadn’t even talked to him about an extension since 2015? Well, I think that shows that some of the blame also has to fall at their feet. If they wanted to extend him they should have been working it for a long time and in an ongoing fashion.

      I won’t boo him when he returns on another team. How could I boo someone who brought me so much joy for six seasons?

  8. Mr Will

    December 19, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Nothing is in a hurry where DD is concerned; all in Baltimore are hoping for a grand holiday gift but will it happen? DD usually makes a deal where he WINS…his history shows that Os make few trades because of this.
    I just hope that no matter what Os get in return Manny does not end up in AL EAST
    I would love to see a deal with Cards or DBacks and then Os sign the guy they need for about $15Mil per year for 4 years…a third baseman and left hand hitter Mike Moustakas which fills two needs. I believe, if given the opportunity, Santander and Hays and Sisco will be blue chips. Os were sadly reluctant last Fall (when they fell) to give Santander and Sisco more of an opportunity…Hays got his and did reasonably well and almost reluctantly the Os gave Mancini an opportunity and look what happened. Now is time to trade Brach and Britton and stock Norfolk, Bowie and Os for several years.
    It must be realized that we probably will not be really competitive for at least 2 seasons so patience will be required. And please Santa and Buck..no more batting of Davis and Trumbo (if he stays) back to back….this is my grownup Christmas wish. Happy Holidays to all.
    Mr Will

  9. bickel57

    December 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    I am not a big fan of rebuilds. But if you are going to get rid of Machado you might as well trade Britton,Brach,and Jones. If there other tradable parts do it. This way you don’t have to get everything you need from a Machado trade. Get one controllable pitcher with Machado another with Britton and a lot of other useable parts to go with it. With Brach and Jones get what you can to fill in the gaps. You are still going to need a young 3rd baseman some young arms that are maybe a year or two away from being ready. So Duquette hurry up while fans still have time to get over it. Don’t do your usual and drag your feet. Remember your contract is up and we really don’t want to trip up you.

  10. OriolesMagic

    December 20, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Great article.

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