Welcome to July, or as we like to call it here “The Month of Many Machado Rumors.” Until the Orioles trade Machado — which looks like the only option they have at this point — there will be rumors about the Orioles trading Machado. It could take until minutes before the deadline, Verlander style, or a team could go all-in and get him midway through the month to bolster their offense as soon as possible.
But oh boy, are there going to be rumors. And Manny Machado rumors are like finding a diamond in the content mines after weeks away from your family so let the rumors flow.
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale on Tuesday, the Dodgers are “aggressively pursuing” Manny Machado. He first broached the subject of Machado last week, and is now doubling down on the All-Star shortstop/third baseman switching coasts sometime over the next few weeks.
Why it makes sense for the Orioles to trade Manny Machado
In short, because this is their last shot to end Machado’s time in Baltimore with any sort of positive table-setting for their future. No matter how many times Machado insists he’s only focusing on the Orioles this season, it’s pretty clear he’ll be gone in free agency. So it’s up to Baltimore to not mess this up and get some prospects in return before they’re left with nothing to show for him leaving. That’s the case for any team that wants Machado though.
It makes sense for them to trade him to the Dodgers specifically because LA has the prospects to make a trade of this magnitude worthwhile. According to Nightengale “The Orioles, heavily scouting the Dodgers’ minor-league system, want Class A pitcher Dustin May included in any package of prospects.” May has a high ceiling and is currently the 8th-ranked prospect in the Dodgers system, but there are other pieces to be had as well.
Alex Verdugo could be a target, the Dodgers have a plethora of other pitching prospects to offer up if they wanted to work out a deal (Dennis Santana and Jordan Sheffield are both Top 20 guys in LA’s system), or maybe the Orioles try to get a combo of major league talent and mid-tier prospects.
Why it makes sense for the Dodgers to trade for Manny Machado
This is where this rumor gets a little murkier, as even if you stretch logic for this to make sense on one side of the plate for the Dodgers it definitely doesn’t make sense on the other. Offensively, Machado is obviously a boon to whoever gets him. If you have Machado’s bat, you’re going to fit it into your lineup. The problem for the Dodgers is just that — they’d have to fit it into their current setup somehow.
Machado is hitting .310/.377/.564 with 21 home runs this year, better than many players currently in Dodger Blue. He’d certainly help, but with much of the Dodgers lineup returning to form (Joc Pederson, Chris Taylor) and others returning form injury (Justin Turner) their offense isn’t in as dire of straits as it was a month ago.
And even if they figured out a way to seamlessly fit him into their current setup (which includes fitting his $8 million salary under the luxury tax and getting some sort of assurance he’d stick around in free agency) his defense is a red flag compared to what the Dodgers are working with right now. Our friends at True Blue LA broke it down,
He has played shortstop exclusively this season — something he has stated he wants to do going forward — and, well, it isn’t pretty. He’s -17 in the defensive runs save category. That’s worst among all qualified shortstops in baseball. While one-year defensive splits aren’t the most reliable (and I don’t think he’s the worst defensive shortstop in baseball), it’s still a little eye-popping. By comparison, the trio of Hernandez, Corey Seager and Taylor have a combined -1 DRS in 718 1/3 defensive innings (Machado is at 688).
There are just one too many hurdles for the Dodgers to navigate here for what may very well amount to be a three-month rental.
C-. This is a Nightengale rumor, which automatically drops its grade down about a level or too. Nightengale rumors panning out always seem to be more of a fluke than reporting luck, especially in this case.
The Dodgers would have to give up a lot for a player who one, doesn’t have an obvious spot to play and two, will probably make their defense significantly worse on the left side of the infield. The Dodgers could find another bat for a lower prospect cost, and the Orioles could find another Machado suitor who need him more and therefore get a better package in return. This one just isn’t clicking.