It's too soon to evaluate Machado trade, but not to evaluate Machado - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

It’s too soon to evaluate Machado trade, but not to evaluate Machado

Everyone wants to know if the Orioles received excellent value in their deal for Manny Machado. Much to their disappointment, the answer is: Ask again in 2020 or 2021.

It’s possible that none of the five players the Orioles got from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Machado—outfielder Yusniel Diaz, infielders Breyvick Valera and Rylan Bannon and pitchers Dean Kremer and Zach Pop—will appear in a major league game this season.

More likely, Diaz and Valera will receive some time, probably in September when the rosters expand.

But that will hardly be enough time to evaluate the haul for a possible Hall of Famer.

It appears that by waiting, instead of trading Machado at last December’s Winter Meetings, the Orioles might have maximized their return. Besides the Dodgers, the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies appear to have made credible offers.

Machado could help lead Los Angeles back to the World Series this fall, and if this group of players doesn’t help make the Orioles competitive again, fans will be disheartened.

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If the Orioles hadn’t traded Machado, they would have gotten a compensation pick in the draft after he refused their qualifying offer this fall. Now, they get five players, and one, Diaz, who is considered a top-shelf prospect.

So, check with me again in two or three years, and we’ll have a better idea.

On a personal note, I will miss Machado. Not one for small talk, Machado has grown tremendously over the years and became increasingly media savvy.

He dealt with the endless questions this season gracefully and not defensively. When he reported for spring training, Machado could have said he’ll talk about his contract status once and not address it again.

But he didn’t, and when reporters from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia pummeled him with questions, Machado answered fully.

The only exception was last week when, after a doubleheader with the Yankees, Machado was ambushed by some New York scribes who wanted him to address a report about the Yankees being interested in him.

He wasn’t pleased, and said he didn’t address rumors. However, before the first game, Machado spoke for more than 10 minutes about his election to the All-Star Game and the trade buzz without the New York writers on hand.

Controversy often seemed to follow Machado, whether it was the 2014 bat-throwing incident with Oakland, the time he charged the mound in 2016 when the late Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura threw at him or last year in Boston when he unleashed a profanity-laced tirade.

Chris Sale had thrown behind Machado’s legs and while he wasn’t drawn into a war with Sale, Machado was extraordinarily angry.

Through all of those incidents, Machado answered questions about what happened and never ducked.

While many fans think Machado is drawn to the big market spotlight, I’m not too sure. He’ll love playing for the Dodgers, not because it’s in Los Angeles, but because the Dodgers are an outstanding team.

He is a fan of the Miami Heat, and it won’t hurt that LeBron James recently signed with the Lakers.

Instantly, the Dodgers become the favorite to sign Machado in free agency, but part of me believes that if the Orioles had offered him a reasonable contract a few years back, he would have signed.

He’ll miss Jonathan Schoop, Adam Jones and third base coach Bobby Dickerson — among others — but Machado will blend in well with the Dodgers. Because he’s bilingual, he’ll mesh quickly with the both the English and Spanish speaking players.

Despite the lure of L.A., Machado will continue to put baseball first. During recent interviews, he talked about how he learned of trade speculation. He went home after games and watched highlights and other games.

He’s a really quick learner, too. In July 2016, the Orioles played at Dodger Stadium, the only time Machado has performed there. As many visiting players did, Jones traipsed up to the press box and visited the legendary Vin Scully, then in his last season, in the broadcast booth.

When he returned to the clubhouse, Jones told Machado about it. Machado didn’t know much about Scully and the great man’s history, but instantly studied up, and two days later brought Schoop along to meet Scully and pose for a picture.

Machado had a great relationship with Brooks Robinson, and he knew Orioles history. The guess here is that Machado will get to know his Dodgers history very soon, and become an important part of it.

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