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Get ready for nonstop Manny Machado trade rumors

Once the Machado trade rumors truly get going, there will be no stopping them until he’s dealt.

Baltimore Orioles v Chicago White Sox Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

The Orioles won on Monday night, but don’t let that distract you from the truth of things: the Orioles are bad in 2018, and unlikely to get better in a way that lets you forget that. Maybe the most significant takeaway from their putrid start, which already has them 17.5 games back of the first-place Yankees in the AL East, is that Manny Machado is going to be traded.

The Orioles haven’t explicitly said that is going to happen, but let’s be real. Machado is 25 years old, a superstar, and on the cusp of free agency. He’s also the shortstop for a team that is 15-32, that just won its fifth road game of the year on Monday, despite batting .343/.420/.663 with 15 homers — that total has Machado tied for the American League lead.

Imagine what kind of shape the O’s would be in if Machado wasn’t around to this point? You might not need to picture what that would look like for much longer, since he is going to end up being dealt. There are already rumors linking him to the Cubs, and have been for a bit now, because the Cubs have money and trade chips and a desire to win the NL Central, and all of that makes Machado a target.

Maybe the O’s will hold on to Machado and take the compensation pick when he leaves as a free agent. That’s unlikely, though, given the O’s have awful pitching in the majors, no projectable pitchers in the minors, and Baltimore’s front office finds itself at a crossroads where someone is going to make something happen in order to assert themselves.

O’s general manager Dan Duquette has already said that Memorial Day was the deadline to figure out if Baltimore has “any sort of (competitive) team.” They, uh, probably do not need until next Monday to know for sure, but that’s the deadline Duke set. And it means that, as soon as next Monday, we’ll see the Machado trade rumor machine truly get up and running.

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