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Trade rumor grade: The Brewers might be frontrunners for Manny Machado

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They have what the Orioles need.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Last week the reigning rumor about a possible Manny Machado trade centered around the Dodgers, a team that could make it happen but a situation that didn’t entirely make sense. It just wasn’t clicking the way a major trade deadline move for a rental should. Today’s major Machado rumor makes far more sense though, for both sides.

The rumor

As The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted over the weekend, the Dodgers and the Brewers remain the most serious teams in the Machado hunt. MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi followed that up with more intel that the Brewers are the most likely frontrunners to get the Orioles’ star

Why it makes sense for the Orioles to trade Machado

For every Machado rumor grade, this section is going to be exactly the same. So let’s just save some time and paste in what I wrote in the Dodgers post.

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 more sense for them to make a deal with the Brewers than the Dodgers not just because he would slot in better with Milwaukee, but that they have assets the Orioles want more than what Los Angeles could offer them for a few months-long rental.

The Brewers have pitchers the Orioles desperately (DESPERATELY) need for the future, both in the majors and minors. Morosi cites Corbin Burnes and Luis Ortiz in the minors as well as current major league roster players Keon Broxton, Domingo Santana, or Orlando Arcia as trade options. All good players, all talent the Orioles need. Especially pitching, as evidenced by their 4.85 team ERA.

Why it makes sense for the Brewers to trade for Machado

If there were any time for the Brewers to rent Machado for a few months, knowing he’ll almost certainly decide against returning to Milwaukee in free agency, this is that time. They’re on top of the NL Central by a game and a half and will have to fend off the Cubs during the back half of the season.

Yes, they’ll have to give up at least a few talented players to get Machado and at the end of the day that’s still a sacrifice for three months of him in a Milwaukee uniform. But they’re as well positioned to make a deep postseason run after a few deadline additions as anyone, and if they don’t pull the trigger on the upgrade of Machado they’ll probably regret it come playoffs time.

Their depth in particular means that they not only have the assets other teams can’t give the Orioles, they’re also willing to hand them over. Trading a Burnes or a Broxton won’t irreparably harm their future in exchange for one shot this year. They would still be strategically fine and have depth at multiple positions, and also have Manny Machado. That’s as good a reason to follow through with this opportunity as any, and something not every team going after him can say at this point.

Rumor grade

A. Whether the rumor actually comes to fruition or not by the trade deadline does not factor into the grade, just whether it’s realistic or not. This is one of the most realistic rumors we’ve seen so far this month and could very well happen before the month is out. There aren’t any major drawbacks for either side save for the Brewers lowballing the Orioles or the Orioles asking for more to see what they can get. Even in that case, signs are pointing to the deal still being able to be worked out with a little bargaining.