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.
- The latest Grant Land is here, and within its digital pages is Grant Brisbee writing about Shohei Ohtani, a ridiculous Braves’ rally, Mitch Haniger’s catch-kick combo, and more from the last week in baseball.
- Juan Soto was called up over the weekend, and the rookie — who had just eight games of Double-A play behind him — hit a three-run homer on the first pitch he saw in his first start in the majors.
- Soto is just 19, by the way, which means he wasn’t even born yet when Bartolo Colon was out there making his first-ever postseason start. That and other Soto-Colon associations to make you feel old can be found here.
- Mike Clevinger wants MLB to be more like the NBA in terms of fun and personality, and he spoke to Michael Baumann about it.
- The Astros have released Jonathan Singleton: he was in the middle of a 100-game suspension for failing a drug test this offseason.
- Jackie Bradley might be one of baseball’s best defensive players, but he’s been horrific at the plate, and the Red Sox need to figure out a solution.
- Lookout Landing is still trying to figure out the solution to the Robinson Cano-sized hole in the Mariners’ lineup.
- Homer Bailey is still struggling, and Red Reporter wonders if it’s finally time to give up on him.
- Russell Carleton will tell you how to beat the shift, if you’d only listen. Well, read, but you know what I meant.
- Annie Maroon wrote about Andrew McCutchen’s homecoming, and the various versions of a player one might remember.