Trading Machado makes complete sense, just not yet (plus minor league pitching updates and radio musings) - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Trading Machado makes complete sense, just not yet (plus minor league pitching updates and radio musings)

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon
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The way the Orioles have played through the first quarter of this season, there really shouldn’t be any question as to whether the Orioles should trade shortstop Manny Machado.

The question that is more prudent is, ‘When?’

The best answer is not yet.

Here’s the deal: Machado is, without question, a generational talent. And he, along with Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, will be entering free agency in their primes, something that is rare for players so talented.

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No one really knows how much Machado, 26 in July, is going to make this winter. The figures $200 million, $300 million and $400 million have been thrown around.

I know this much: If those estimates are close to being accurate, the Orioles have no shot of being involved. After the Chris Davis debacle (he was ONLY $161 million, remember), the Orioles are resigned to that notion, and they haven’t attempted to make an offer to Machado for a couple years.

I understand why that rankles fans, but the Orioles aren’t paying $200-$300 million to one player. So why waste everyone’s time? Just to say an offer was made?

Be angry that they weren’t proactive and didn’t take an educated risk on their budding superstar a few years ago. I endorse that venom wholeheartedly. But it’s useless to also be miffed that they haven’t made an offer recently. That ship has sailed. White noise. We all know it.

Machado has said repeatedly that he is an Oriole, wants to be an Oriole and wants to win with the Orioles. I believe there is some truth in there. I also believe it’s what he has to say.

Machado knows his time in Baltimore is waning and that this is his best chance for a humongous payday. And he is currently doing everything in his power to ensure that happens.

He’s basically Top Five in the majors in just about every offensive category.

So, the way he is playing and the way the Orioles are playing, it’s obvious the club needs to deal him for the best possible package of prospects.

But not quite yet.

Yes, his value is plenty high right now, and the argument is that he’s probably not going to be much better in the next two months. That would be exceptionally hard to do. Plus, a serious injury to Machado and his value drops out of the sky.

So why not trade him now?

The answer is simple: Because several teams still don’t know who they are. Take the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, for instance. Both have deep farm systems and could use an upgrade on the left side of the infield. Both look like contenders right now, boasting two of the three best records in the National League.

But are they simply off to hot starts or clubs that have legitimate chances to make it to the World Series? They don’t know right now. At the end of July, they’ll have a better idea.

The same goes for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians on the flipside. Great teams off to rough starts or clubs with too many holes to fix in two months?

The best way to optimize the return for Machado is to be patient and let teams create a bidding war for him in late July. He’ll be the biggest difference-maker on the trade market, even if his bat drops from utterly ridiculous to simply remarkable.

I ran this theory by several front office types throughout the game recently, and they all agreed. One former GM added this caveat: “The only way you trade him before late July is if another club is fully ready to back up the truck now and you don’t think you can conceivably get more by waiting.”

That makes perfect sense. But based on the characterization of the offers the Orioles received this winter for Machado, according to several sources, it seemed like no club was willing to drive in reverse in January. And they probably aren’t in May. But July?

We’ve already seen the “Machado Sweepstakes” stories churning along nationally, though they are pure conjecture, of course. And likely will remain that way for a while.

The key here is patience in an impatient time. Former Orioles president Andy MacPhail was brilliant at waiting for the right deal, and he helped rebuild the franchise because of it.

Whether it’s current executive vice president Dan Duquette making the final call in July, or vice president Brady Anderson or one of the various members of the Angelos family, patience is the most important virtue here.

Obviously, if this is a trade-decision-by-committee, then the Orioles may want to leave themselves a day or so buffer in late July to make sure everyone is on the same page.

But waiting for the best deal makes the most sense. And, no matter what is knocked around on social media leading up to the non-waiver deadline, some team likely will get nervous and give up someone it doesn’t want to let go at the 11th hour.

Because this is for Machado, a game-changing superstar. To paraphrase “Field of Dreams,” some team will panic. They will panic, Ray.

Looking at the starting debuts from last week’s promotions

We made a bit of a deal in the Dean Jones Report last week about the promotions that occurred in the Orioles’ minor league system, especially involving the starting rotations.

So, I figured I’d let you know how each of the three starters that moved up a rung did this weekend.

Right-hander Michael Baumann, one of the club’s top pitching prospects, jumped from Low-A Delmarva to High-A Frederick and made his Keys’ debut Sunday.

The 2017 third-round pick out of Jacksonville University wasn’t intimidated by Carolina League hitters. Baumann, 22, picked up the win against Myrtle Beach by throwing a seven-inning complete game (part of a doubleheader), allowing four hits, including a solo homer and one walk. He struck out two. He is now 6-0 with a 1.40 ERA in eight minor league starts in 2018.

Baumann took the Keys’ rotation spot vacated by lefty Brian Gonzalez, who moved up to Double-A Bowie after posting a 3.18 ERA in seven starts this year for Frederick.

Things didn’t go as swimmingly for the 2014 third-round pick in his first start in the Eastern League on Saturday. He was tagged for eight runs (six earned) on seven hits and four walks in 2 2/3 innings pitched at Trenton. He struck out three, but he was forced to throw 80 pitches — and only 47 for strikes.

The third starter to get the promotion last week was 25-year-old left-hander John Means, who went from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk. Means, an 11th-rounder in 2011 who was 1-4 with a 4.30 ERA in eight games with the Baysox, allowed four runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings in Norfolk’s 6-5 win Sunday versus Louisville.

So, basically mixed results from the three. But Baumann, the most heralded of the trio, certainly acquitted himself well at another step up the organizational ladder.

Radio musings and Triple-A Norfolk

The Orioles use their minor-league system, and especially Triple-A, more than most organizations. A guy that has seen that Baltimore-Norfolk shuttle chug along for the past several years is David Hall, the Norfolk Tides beatwriter for The Virginian-Pilot.

Hall recently wrote an interesting piece about how minor leaguers must be ready for that big league call, no matter how late it comes or how far they must travel.

In my WOYK (York, Pa.) radio show this week, I speak to Hall about that story, and about several players who have spent time with the Tides this year, including David Hess, DJ Stewart and Caleb Joseph, who was demoted last week.

You can listen to the full show by clicking the arrow below, by going to the station’s archives or by downloading it as a podcast from iTunes.

 

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50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Oriolesfan17

    May 22, 2018 at 7:37 am

    I’m curious of your opinion on what type of package you think the Orioles will get for Machado? I tend to be more pessimistic because the past two of deadlines haven’t been promising for rentals. The closest compatible package I could see for Machado is a JD Martinez type package with a top 10ish prospect, and prospect in the mid tens, and maybe two or three project guys. I know that some team could get desperate but the only two rentals to bring a significant return over the last three deadlines were Chapman (who only yielded two players one Torres who was a top prospect) and Martinez who will netted a solid return many felt it was an underwhelming trade for a guy that had MVP type numbers. I agree that waiting is the right decision but I have a feeling that depending on whose in and whose out the Os aren’t going to get many offers they like.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 9:55 am

      I don’t think rentals bring what they used to. But Machado is in a different class. I think they legitimately could get 3 players for him. A high level prospect, a mid-level one and a usable third piece that is MLB ready but no longer prospect status. I think that is reasonable. But I’m just conjecturing.

  2. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    May 22, 2018 at 7:58 am

    I agree it’s too early for a trade. If he continues hitting and stays healthy they should receive a good return of prospects and probably one controllable mlb player. I still think the Cubs are the favorites at this point. They have depth and the money to sign him after the season.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 9:57 am

      The stories I hate most now are the ones that rank teams on most likely. I’ve done them. And we know it’s still throwing a dart. But it’s good trading and you at least take educated guesses.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    May 22, 2018 at 8:22 am

    I hear what you’re saying Mr. Connolly. If you HAVE to trade him … hold out. I get it. BUT …. it’s just not worth it.

    I’m going to continue to hold out hope. Offer 10 years …. $300 million. Now. If he doesn’t accept, then have it your way. Go get your bag of peanuts for him at the trade deadline. I know you say there’s no way the O’s will pay one player that much money, but Angelos has surprised us all before. Case in point … Cobb & Cashner. Wasn’t it just this spring that you thought they’d never go after Cobb? Kaching!! SURPRISE!!

    Trading Machado for a handful of prospects is fools gold. When is the last time a superstar was traded and the team trading the star made out? It just doesn’t seem to work. I’d almost (almost) rather die with nothing trying to sign him, than trade him for a couple of hopefuls.

    • Paul Folkemer

      May 22, 2018 at 8:57 am

      There are plenty of superstar trades that have worked out well for the selling team. Off the top of my head, the Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman trade at the 2016 deadline panned out great — they got Gleyber Torres, who is one of the top prospects in the majors and now starting for the Yankees. And all they had to give up was Chapman’s last half of a season before free agency. That would’ve been a great trade even if they hadn’t re-signed Chapman after that season.

    • Paul Folkemer

      May 22, 2018 at 9:08 am

      Also the Tigers traded Yoenis Cespedes in his walk year and got Michael Fulmer, who was the ROY the next season and is now their ace.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 22, 2018 at 9:40 am

        Glad you found another, because the Chapman comparison was not fair in more ways than one. Besides, if the O’s could buy back Machado, well then I’d say trade him for the bag of chips and buy him back … but ….

        And Yoenis Cespedes is hardly a Superstar and certainly not the “Generational Talent”, to borrow Mr. Connolly’s word’s, that Machado is. Would you be happy with trading Machado for Fulmer? Maybe if you could count on him giving you another 6 or 7 years, but that isn’t likely.

        I’ll give you this one … and I admit I wasn’t happy about it at the time … but the Eric Bedard trade turned out well.

        • Paul Folkemer

          May 22, 2018 at 1:15 pm

          I’d be happy if the Orioles got at least a Fulmer type for Machado. Six years of a quality starting pitcher, in exchange for a guy who’s leaving the Orioles at the end of the season anyway, is nothing to sneeze at. But as you said, Manny is better than Cespedes was when he was traded, so I’d think the O’s could get even a little more than that.

    • Bancells Moustache

      May 22, 2018 at 9:40 am

      Boog, you do bring up a good point. A lot of the scuttlebutt has been that Brady Anderson was the guy pulling the strings on Cobb, Cashner and (gulp) Davis. Say what you will about those deals and the general ass-backwardness of Oriole decision making, Anderson appears to at least be better at talking Angelos (Peter? John? This guy Lou no one had heard of until about a week ago?) into opening the safe than anyone we’ve seen of late.

      That being said, you’ve been soothing your Wieters heartache with one too many fake beers if you think letting Machado walk for a couple draft picks this winter is a good idea.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 22, 2018 at 9:42 am

        BanMo … You had to pick the Wieters scabb didn’t you? I was almost over it …. almost. Bartender ….

        • Bancells Moustache

          May 22, 2018 at 10:18 am

          Sorry Boog. That was hurtful of me. If it makes you feel any better, Wieters was the main roadblock to our seeing Caleb Joseph ascend to the alpine heights he has reached.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 9:59 am

      Dive ain’t open. But I do have a flask of whiskey on my back pocket.

  4. Dblack2508

    May 22, 2018 at 8:32 am

    I am in complete agreement with you on this point. They also need to be decisive in late July. Trades tend go in flurries and too many chefs in a kitchen can be a bad thing .

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 10:00 am

      That is a real concern DB

  5. Djowen

    May 22, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Dan, I agree with you but I also worry that being greedy will kill us. What happens if Manny gets hit in the hand and breaks a bone? We get nothing. On the one hand I would like to trade him ASAP as long as we can get a respectable return. On the other hand I wonder what we could get in July by trading Manny and Zack together?
    Boog see NY and Chapman and Miller.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Generally speaking I think it helps to separate them. But much has to do on the health and effectiveness of Britton and if he is himself again.

      • Gibbyx

        May 22, 2018 at 11:48 am

        I agree that Zack and Manny together are a bad combo, and baseball in general doesn’t make the same kind of trades that the NBA and NFL does (partially due to the inability to trade draft picks). I don’t think two short term pieces is enticing to too many teams. My current fantasy trade is to package Machado and Givens together as a kind of win now and win later option (specifically thinking Braves and Phillies, potentially cardinals too.). All three teams could use some better bullpen consistency and all three are stacked enough to make it happen

        ATL
        Orioles receive
        LHP Max Fried
        LHP Kolby Allard
        OF Drew Waters
        2 fringy low minors prospects

        PHL
        Orioles receive
        RHP Adonis Medina
        OF Adam Halsey
        RHP Enyel Dos Santos
        SS Nick Maton
        One fringy low minors prospect

        STL
        Orioles Receive
        CF Harrison Bader
        RHP Luke Weaver
        3B Evan Mendoza
        1-2 fringy prospects

        Never happen, but nice to dream

  6. Orial

    May 22, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Agree with your reasoning Dan and do believe that’s the way they’ll go. I do fear that the package will disappoint being it will be for a 2 month rental only. What wouldn’t surprise me is if Britton comes back,pitches lights out getting a bigger return on a trade(teams drool over relievers at the deadline).

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 10:02 am

      They do. But there is no real comp to Machado this year. Harper won’t be moved. Donaldson isn’t quite the same.

  7. Bancells Moustache

    May 22, 2018 at 9:17 am

    My concern is that the team that panics will be the Orioles. You think the other front-offices aren’t watching the Warehouse dysfunction and licking their chops? In July, the Orioles will be under enormous pressure to either get the Herschel Walker deal or make the potentially the biggest personnel blunder in franchise history. Does that sound like a situation where 6 different guys can come to a consensus? Yeah right.

    As to everyone shouting down the team for not making a deal in 2014, why would Machado have entertained an offer? He has been groomed since age 15 or so to be a Major League superstar, and has had winter 2018 circled on his calendar in green magic marker with dollar signs since he signed his contract out of High School. The union also knows both he and Harper will reset the market and have been whispering in both their ears, rising tide lifting all boats and whatnot. The guy’s idol and mentor is A-ROD for Christ’s sake. People seriously think he would have taken a team friendly deal when the Orioles had all the leverage?

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 10:05 am

      I hear ya. But the reality of walking away from a huge extension can be terrifying for these guys, especially ones from modest backgrounds. Players want to be with their original teams. And they want security. Especially when you are coming off two knee surgeries. There was a time ripe for the signing. And the Orioles didn’t seize it.

      • Bancells Moustache

        May 22, 2018 at 10:14 am

        Regular players, yes. Guys who people have fawned over throughout their late teens as the next big thing, I’m not so sure. Not necessarily a bad thing, I applaud him for having the spheres to bet on himself but the guy had three seasons to recover and he’s an infielder, not a wide receiver.

        I just can’t shake the feeling that a lot of Oriole players want to get as far from here as they can.

  8. Steve Cockey

    May 22, 2018 at 11:14 am

    What do you make of Duquette’s recent comments re: how the team will have to consider whether they want to trade a potential MVP/Triple Crown contender? Could they actually hold onto him for this reason?

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      No. I can’t see that scenario given how they are playing. And that’s been Dan’s take all along. In other words, I don’t make much of Dan’s comments ever. He doesn’t give clues. Rarely ever.

  9. TxBirdFan

    May 22, 2018 at 11:24 am

    I’m going to be contrary and say trade Manny as soon as possible, with Wright thrown in to sweeten the deal. I’ve tired of the Manny highlight reel and free agent tour, as the O’s lose again, and would rather root for some young and new players who will be in Baltimore for a few years. Its likely there are some teams out there who want to get a jump on the Dodgers, Braves and Phillies and are willing to work something out before late July.

    • TheGreat8

      May 22, 2018 at 11:51 am

      with wright to sweeten the deal… lol. that’s like trading a prime rib and throwing in some celery sticks too…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 22, 2018 at 1:13 pm

        Your comparison of Wright and the celery sticks is an insult to celery sticks everywhere.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      2 things. 1. Sure there are teams that would pull the trigger now. Not the point. You want the best deal. The best way to accomplish that is to have the most teams involved with final offers. 2. Mike Wright sweetens nothing. It’s probably 50-50 he gets claimed if put on waivers at this point. Meaning a team could have him for nothing but a waiver claim and the prorated minimum. And the teams that would do that likely aren’t in contention. They are the ones that would have a roster spot and see upside for the future.

  10. Wade Warren

    May 22, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    if by some odd chance the Orioles could resign Manny would it not hurt the Orioles signing any future free agents in the coming years?

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 6:49 pm

      Good question. I guess it all depends how much money the club wants to spend. They’ve never had a fixed budget. It seemingly is based on individual situations. So it is hard to tell.

  11. PoeLovesTheOs

    May 22, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    I’m not sure the argument works that he’ll be more valuable at the trade deadline. It depends on so many other variables. If I’m the GM and need a SS or 3B, and I know I’ll only have him for 40 games, I may be willing to take a guy who is 75% of Manny if I know the cost will be 50% of what Manny would cost in prospects. What I do know is that Manny will be worth more to another team if playing 110 games than playing 40 games. Of course, given what we’ve read about the front office, I have my doubts that the Orioles will make a good trade regardless of when it’s made.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 6:53 pm

      I get the math. And your point makes sense in a vacuum. But unless they know they are going for it already, teams would rather wait before plunging. It’s the nature of the game. Name me three superstars traded in-season before July since the deadline was moved from June 15 to July 31 in 1986. This is how it works.

  12. Birdman

    May 22, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    I recall that during this past off-season, when the subject of Manny came up, a number of commenters on this site asserted that Manny did not qualify as an elite top tier player on the level of Harper and Trout – where are those folks now?

    Since, as you indicate, the Orioles will not allocate the $250-300 million necessary for a Manny extension, the focus now should be to avoid the same mistake with Schoop … I would think that the Orioles could sign Schoop to a long term extension, if they are willing to put $100-120 million on the table right now

    • Bancells Moustache

      May 22, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      I was one of those commenters. Manny has gotten off to red-hot start this year, but it’s also the best he has EVER played. Harper and Trout do this every Summer. Still no guarantee he doesn’t cool off and go back to the career .260 guy who runs bases about as well as a Preakness infield streaker he was on Opening Day.

      Whenever guys hit free agency they get played up as the single greatest human being to have ever walked the Earth. Call it ‘Chris Bosh Syndrome’

      • Birdman

        May 22, 2018 at 1:53 pm

        check the career stats for Manny and Harper, as of today:

        both 25 years old … Manny – 153 HR, 449 RBI, .283 BA … Harper – 164 HR, 454 RBI, .282 BA

        and Manny has two Gold Gloves, Harper has none

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 7:10 pm

      I’m with ya on Schoop. And as I’ve said about Machado in the past. He’s only 25. He should be entering his prime about now.

  13. 54orioles

    May 22, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    So if we lose Manny do you think we need to start looking for a 2nd baseman also? How about a left fielder? Is Baltimore just a revolving door to the big payday from a big market team? Starting to hate what maybe too obvious to miss.

    • Gibbyx

      May 22, 2018 at 4:51 pm

      We should be looking at every position realistically because we don’t know if we have the long term answers to any facet of the game with the guys in AA or AAA or the young ones already up with the big club.

      Baltimore doesn’t need to be a revolving door, we just stopped extending players after Jones and Hardy. Baltimore is not going to be the Yankees or Dodgers so we need to operate like the cardinals (easier said then done). Develop starting pitchers, sign bats to fill in, and pursue club friendly extensions with young promising players (like Mancini or Bundy now). We have to also not sell the farm on seasons where we are barely in the wild card discussion

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 7:13 pm

      The Orioles have kept Jones, Hardy, Davis, O’Day and Trumbo in the past 5 years. You can argue maybe they shouldn’t have. But I think the whole revolving door thing does not paint a complete picture. They have re-signed some of their guys once they became free agents or were about to be

  14. Booged and Powelled

    May 22, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    I hate to agree with everyone since its not my nature 🙂

    there are merits for waiting till the last minute for the best deal possible since we could build a nice staff for the future and still get a MLB ready plug and play position player as well but if he were to get seriously hurt before he was traded that would put a big time hurt on Baltimore psyches for a very long time.

    Manny is AROD in the making and we deserve a lot of compensation and a pick next year only would kill my spirit for a long time realizing that Schoop will probably do the samething and Jones is certainly gone as well.

    Im in rebuilding mode , if you can even say that with a 161 Million dollar albatross (aka untradeable C Davis)

    best logical non homer Machado article with comments ive read this year Dan…when is the dive open 🙂

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 7:14 pm

      Doors open tomorrow, 7 am sharp.

  15. rsfinn

    May 22, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Sigh. There’s no comparison with the Davis situation — Machado is a generational talent and Davis is a swell guy who had a couple big years as a slugger and got popular with the fans at the right time. I could see two years ago that we needed to save that money to pay Machado and not Davis; but the Orioles management and ownership couldn’t, and now we’re stuck in this mess.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 10:28 pm

      Not even sure it was management. Management traded for Trumbo to replace Davis.

  16. jkneps63

    May 22, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Bad head line Dan! Let’s say some teams makes an insane offer for Manny – it’s not the right time? Think it through. I know, I know, we gotta do it by the book, the way it’s always been done, because, by golly, we got a team on the verge of playing 0.333 ball here!!! It’s just not the way it’s done or has been done. I will sit down now.

    Now here’s a good idea: move Trumbo up to the five spot and put Sir Whiffs A Lot on the bench or dream up some great cool new fangled injury for him to miss, say, 60 days. He’s got “Canthitworthpoopitist” gotta go on the DL.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 22, 2018 at 10:29 pm

      As the piece said, if a team is backing up the truck, then sure. But that’s not expected. Patience.

  17. Bmore_Os

    May 23, 2018 at 1:21 am

    I’ve accepted that Manny will eventually be traded… But I cannot for the life of me figure out why Chris Davis continues to be a lineup mainstay… Get rid of him and put Alvarez at 1st and let Trumbo play DH permanently so we can put a better fielder in right… This seems like an obvious move that helps the O’s all around, so why is Davis still, essentially, an everyday starter?

    • Dan Connolly

      May 23, 2018 at 1:37 am

      Have you seen Alvarez play 1B? Davis plays a much better 1B.

    • Bmore_Os

      May 23, 2018 at 11:46 am

      I understand that Davis is a plus fielder at 1st, but that still doesn’t justify the hole in the lineup that he creates. Honestly Davis would do well to get back to his natural swing, at least his power would be more of a factor. I’ll take a homerun 1-2 times a week in exchange for lining out into the shift every other AB

    • Dan Connolly

      May 23, 2018 at 1:57 pm

      I hear ya. I just don’t want to see Pedro in the field. And frankly after a solid start his bat has leveled off. Pedro is still getting walks. He’s usable. But I’d need even more to be OK with lots of him in the field.

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