Shopping him or not, I'm not buying that Machado stays off trade block this winter -

Dan Connolly

Shopping him or not, I’m not buying that Machado stays off trade block this winter

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

There was a report Thursday that the Orioles are not going to trade third baseman Manny Machado.

Expect more of that today, maybe even an official on-the-record comment from executive vice president Dan Duquette that the club is moving on with its offseason plans for improvement with Machado as part of the lineup.

The Orioles’ offices will basically go dark this weekend and stay that way for a week. Who wants more rumors circulating at Christmas?

I get that. I also understand that people hear things and they want to publish them with their names attached – show they are on top of the news. That’s fine, too. Makes for good consumption.

But here’s the deal: I’ve been around this organization a long time. I know how it works. And I’ve been around Major League Baseball a long time. I understand how it works, too.

These incremental updates are white noise.

Machado never will be officially off the trade block now that the Orioles listened to offers for him. I guess you can say they are no longer shopping him, but club officials will tell you they never were shopping Machado. Teams had interest. The Orioles listened and they didn’t get the offer deemed necessary to deal him.

So that’s it? This is over?

No, of course not.


Simply considering a trade of Machado was a big step for the Orioles, because it represented a potential rebuilding plan in Baltimore.

Taking that step tells me that they aren’t going backward. It’s still under consideration no matter what words trickle out.

If a team comes to the Orioles on, say, Tuesday and offers the right package – specifically a couple high-ceiling pitchers in or near the majors — then Machado is elsewhere in 2018. That’s how baseball works.

Remember at FanFest in December 2015 when Dan Duquette made a declaration that the Orioles were no longer pursuing Chris Davis? Negotiations were done. The Orioles had moved on.

The next month Davis signed with the Orioles – his price dropped and owner Peter Angelos and agent Scott Boras negotiated and, voila, Davis is an Oriole through 2022.

Justin Verlander wasn’t waiving his trade clause last July. He wanted to stay with the Detroit Tigers and the Tigers wanted to keep their ace. On Nov. 1, Verlander was a World Champion – with the Houston Astros.

Posturing is woven into the fabric of baseball.

The bottom line here is that the Orioles are convinced Machado won’t sign long-term with them for anything below market value. Market value for Machado will be in the $300 million range, and the Orioles aren’t going there.

So, ultimately, they’ll deal Machado. It could be in July. But my guess is it will be before Opening Day. Probably well before.

Could I be wrong?

Sure. This was always going to be a tricky transaction.

It involves the team’s best player, major criticism awaiting if the Orioles don’t get a perceived windfall and a broad group of decision-makers that need to be unified.

There’s also the other side of this: The Orioles have to find a partner that has quality upper-level pitching available and also is close enough to contending for a World Series that that club would be willing to give up multiple quality players in exchange for one year of Machado.

That’s what could sink a Machado deal.

But not a half-hearted declaration that he’s not being traded or that trading him is no longer a focus or that the Orioles are no longer listening to offers.

Truth is the Orioles don’t have to trade Machado. There is no real deadline. But it’s also in the best interest for the club to do so before all that’s left is draft compensation when Machado walks away.

Ten days ago, I didn’t think the Orioles would deal Machado. Then they entertained the idea. That’s the first step, one that’s difficult to retrace.

That’s why I now think a deal will happen at some point.

Until then, everything else is simply noise filling the silence.



  1. ZantiGM

    December 22, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Here’s hoping cubs get antsy before ST and increase there offer for Manny
    Almora-Montgomery-LaStella and Dillon Maples

    • Dan Connolly

      December 22, 2017 at 9:42 am

      I would imagine some club gets antsy. Machado is a extraordinary talent.

    • PA Bird Lover

      December 22, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Everyone is antsy. The truth is, however, the ball is in the hands of PA. He’s the person with the money and with his billions in cash and assets there is no reason fans should be anxious. They either somehow sign good pitching and good hitters (not strikeout kings) or attendance will drop to around 1 million.
      The O’s are top ten in payroll, but poor judgement or scouting has given us a punch of strikeout batters and 5.50 era pitchers. I marvel that Buck has not retired.

  2. Wade Warren

    December 22, 2017 at 8:09 am

    from what I saw the Cubs offer was not to bad am surprised Orioles didn’t take it

    • Dan Connolly

      December 22, 2017 at 9:44 am

      As always, I caution readers from assuming offers reported are offers offered. It’s always difficult to get actual offers. Names discussed and actual offers are almost never the same in my experience.

    • ZantiGM

      December 22, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      no way almora and russell go in the same deal unless cubs could get manny to agree to an extension which he would be crazy to do right now.Our chance to make a blockbuster trade with cubs ended when britton got hurt..a machado/britton trade would have gotten us russell, almora and 2 decent pitching prospects(lange and little)

  3. thisweekinsports217

    December 22, 2017 at 8:28 am

    If I was the Orioles, I would scratch the whole buy the bats, grow the arms thing. Look at the last two world series winners, they’ve grown the bats: Altuve, Bryant, Correa, Rizzo, Springer, Baez, Bregman, Russel, Contreras. (I understand some were acquired when they were still minor leaguers) Even looking at the Orioles, we’ve developed some pretty succesful bats recently too. Schoop, Machado, possibly now Hays, who knows how many more bats we could develope if we focused on them in the draft. I won’t deny that growing the arms has worked for us, I mean, Arrieta, Bridwell, and possibly Hader and Davies but teams that have bought the arms just seem to do better. Again, the last two world series winners: Verlander, Arrieta, Morton, Lester, McHugh, Lackey, Peacock. My point is this needs to change. Its not that homegrown pitching never works, it’s that its risky, and most of the few homegrown pitchers, were actually drafted later in the draft. Start drafting more hitters.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 22, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Trade for the arms — including high ceiling arms that have flamed out elsewhere — seems to be the key.

      • Dpsmith22

        December 22, 2017 at 1:17 pm

        The majority of the Indians rotation is that way. Good call Dan.

    • OsFanStuckInNY

      December 23, 2017 at 4:44 am

      They don’t appear to know how to grow starting pitchers. Injuries and failure to meet projections are the rule in this system.

  4. willpatten

    December 22, 2017 at 8:34 am

    I agree Dan. I expect he will be traded.
    And underlying all the whispers and leaks is another reality.
    The Orioles are rebuilding.
    They can’t tell the fans that but they are rebuilding.
    Back in contention in 3 to 5 years if we’re lucky.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 22, 2017 at 9:51 am

      I’m not sure I envision a full rebuild. That’s not usually the mo.

      • Dpsmith22

        December 22, 2017 at 10:04 am

        A full rebuild is what MacPhail did and it worked.

        Sadly, this front office’s lack of a plan/vision, has put them behind the 8 ball. “Star” players needed to be traded to keep players coming up from the farm. Instead, they played the middle and now we have nothing for Britton and less than expected for Manny. Schoop will be next to get us a 2 and 5.

        It is unfathomable to me that they didn’t learn from their previous mistakes.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 22, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      Andy did not do a full rebuild. Not close. He held on to Roberts and Mora to an extent and extended Markakis. He smartly traded for a veteran shortstop (Hardy) and re-signed him. And he adeptly dealt Bedard and Koji and Tejada. Far from a full rebuild. But it was a plan and a good one.

      • Dpsmith22

        December 28, 2017 at 11:53 am

        Umm maybe not a “FULL” rebuild but he did rebuild. Tejada and Bedard were our star players. Call it a reload. IF they traded Britton and Manny, would that be a rebuild? A partial one for sure.

  5. Orial

    December 22, 2017 at 8:44 am

    I feel very iffy on the chances of him moving on. This organization works in an “old back alley” way. I do like the Cubs offer–this team needs more than just pitching. Quickly off topic–Dan could you sometime in the future explain the makings of this this team’s financial makeup? Why are they always suffering/too thrifty?

    • Dan Connolly

      December 22, 2017 at 9:55 am

      Orial: no one has ever been privy to the team’s books. But let’s not forget they were a top 10 team in payroll this year. I wouldn’t say too thrifty. But the money has to be spent wisely.

    • Dpsmith22

      December 22, 2017 at 10:01 am

      They are suffering because almost all of their high salaried players are producing. As a mid/small market team, players that make big money have to produce.

      17′ – O’Day/Trumbo/Davis/Britton/Ubaldo/Miley/Tillman – All underperfomed. Jones was the only high priced player to earn his salary. Manny as well actually.

      Money is not the issue. How Duquette/Angelos spent it, is.

  6. Dpsmith22

    December 22, 2017 at 9:57 am

    It is lunacy not to trade Manny, if your not willing to pay for free agents.

    This is a perfect example of how NOT to run a mid/small market team. You MUST trade your players with a year left, minimum. Otherwise, you don’t get enough back to help with the farm system. Considering it needs to be the main location you get players, the farm system is the single most important area of a small/mid market baseball organization.

    The O’s try and play the middle, it fails, time and time again.

    Big market teams can build their farm system with their free agent signing mistakes.

    Example: Schoop either needs to be extended or traded, this off-season. Once he goes to arbitration and gets paid, the idea of extensions becomes less appealing.

  7. Osfan73

    December 22, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    If only the Os pitching needs wern’t so dire. But with only 2/5s of a rotation, well 3/5s if Castro starts, they really need to find a trade here. Saw on the headline crawler at the bottom of the screen on espn earlier in the week that if the offers didnt improve by thursday afternoon then the Os would pull Manny back. Didn’t like seeing that at first but after thinking about it part of me thinks that was a ploy to stoke the fire a little as it were, stir the pot you know. Anyway, hope your right Mr. Connolly because I think they need to do this. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays all!

    • OsFanStuckInNY

      December 23, 2017 at 4:46 am

      Extend him (5 years minimum, 7 preferred) or trade him. Now HE would bring back the two SPs they so desperately need. Lost with him, can lose without him.

  8. ZantiGM

    December 22, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    I thought today was going to be much more active free agent signing day…..nothing so far….owners seem to be playing some hardball…i wonder how many free agents will be looking for work still in mid jan?

    • Dpsmith22

      December 22, 2017 at 1:19 pm

      Well if they wait until Feb/March, Dan will be awake from his turkey induced slumber and maybe sign someone.

  9. jennings312913

    December 22, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    I feel like the Orioles need to decide on just who they are. If you want to play at being a mid/big market team (as their being in the top 10 budgets the past few years) then you need to spend the money. That goes for holding on to Manny and actually spending on Tier 1 or high tier 2 pitching. The alternative is to accept that you are a true mid market and look to make deals on big name talent. If that is your identity you hold on to a solid core and take talent like Manny and Britton and flip them for prospects or long term controllable talent. And you do this every 5 or so years so that you can constantly remain viable.

    Either plan can work and I’m not advocating one plan over the other. But the Orioles have tried the middle of the road approach and it is too inconsistent. They need to figure out how they want to approach team building and stick with it. Just my opinion anyway.

  10. Bancells Moustache

    December 22, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    The deal needs done before the season rather than the deadline. If July 31st rolls around and an out-of-contention Orioles team still employs Manny Machado, the leverage shifts to the buyer. The league knows that the warehouse will be in full-blown panic mode and will take whatever deal they can get.

  11. FearSutcliffesBeard

    December 22, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Dan – out of curiosity- when did MLB announce the change to compensation for Qualifying Offers? I almost feel the warehouse anticipated 1st round compensation for Manny-Britton if they decided to hold them thru 2018 and are now realizing with the change, how stacked the Yankees have become and the unlikelihood of resigning either, they are now taking this course of action, in only a way that the Os could do.

    Not defending the FO, just trying to see where in hindsight this got off the tracks.

  12. Ezrine Tire Award

    December 22, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    A deal has to happen now. Why would he want to stay? When someone’s name is mentioned as trade bait it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If he does stay he’s going to dog it worse than he did last September. As you said in a previous post Danno just get the best package possible division rivalries be damned.

  13. bickel57

    December 22, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    when are you going to ask for Duquette to be fired and his incompetent way of doing things. He is a lame duck GM. He is making this team worse than anything Edgar Bennett Williams did to this team. He has got to go

    • Wade Warren

      December 23, 2017 at 12:27 am

      Duquette is doing his job. If you want to point the finger point it at the owner. He is the problem with his micro managing. Duquette would sign free agent pitchers big names and he would have extended Manny a long time ago if Peter would have allowed it.. I know everyone wants to blame Duquette guess he is an easy target but the problem isn’t him it is Angelos.

      • PoeLovesTheOs

        December 23, 2017 at 6:56 pm

        Well, we have no corroborated evidence that, in this case, PA is being cheap or timid. Until we see such evidence, we must assume that the GM is being the GM. And, in this case, it is the GM who has had the horrible drafts and poor farm system that has gotten us to the point that we must trade a generational talent to restock talent. I have, based on his previous deals, little confidence that DD will be able to create the deals that McPhail did.

  14. Romus

    December 25, 2017 at 10:28 am

    I still think the Philies will make a run for Manny.
    Andy MacPhail and Dan Lozano worked initially with Manny back in 2010 and there is a mutual respect and friendship.
    Plus……the Phillies will not move Manny to any other AL East team , ie Darth Vader Yankees or Red Sox.
    He will be a Phillie for the duration.
    But what do the Phillies have to offer as regards to pitchers….in the majors or in Triple A?
    Assume Franco will be in the package since the O’s will need a third basemen to fill in there.

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