December 27, 2017


Manny Machado is a very good baseball player. He is in the last year on his Orioles' contract. He will hit the free agent market at the end of 2018 with Bryce Harper as one of the best available free agents.

Last season he hit .259, 33 HR, 95 RBI, 9 SB, .310 OBP and 3.5 WAR.  His career WAR is 27.9.

He wants to play shortstop instead of third base. At the Winter Meetings, his name surfaced around the time of the Giancarlo Stanton rumors. Apparently, Baltimore was shopping their star player to gauge the trade market.

So casting a fat worm in a slow free agent pond made news. The surprising fact that the Cubs and White Sox made offers for Machado.

The White Sox are in full re-build mode. The team would have to give up two quality pitching prospects to rent Machado for one season makes no sense (unless you sign him to a long term contract). But the White Sox have never guaranteed more than $69 million in any deal. Machado will be looking to break the $200 million mark (he will only be 26 when he hits free agency). Yes, the White Sox have ten quality arms in the minors so they can trade from strength. But on the other hand, pitching is so scarce it may be more valuable to hold on to the top prospects.

The Cubs trading for Machado makes even less sense. Why would you give up three years of contract control of a Baez or Russell for a one-year of Machado? The Cubs have the bats if the current players live up to their potential. If the Cubs have $200 million to toss around next off-season (which is doubtful), reports have their target being Harper and not Machado. And the fact that Rizzo, Bryant, Hendricks and other core members will have contract increases plays a major factor against the Cubs signing an expensive free agent.

Currently, the Orioles have cooled the trade speculation. But apparently the White Sox made the best offer but it was rejected by Baltimore whose owner tends not to let good players be traded off his roster.

It is true that the White Sox need good hitting prospects to balance out their system. It is true that the Cubs need top pitching prospects to fill in gaping needs. In theory, the Cubs and White Sox are perfect trade partners but the Quintana deal was a once in a decade thing.

If Machado gets traded, it will be at the trade deadline if the Orioles are woefully out of the pennant race. But the odds favor Machado ending his contract term in Baltimore.