By: Chris Larson
Over the past couple of weeks, we have heard plenty of rumors surrounding Baltimore Orioles shortstop, Manny Machado, and rightfully so. The Orioles are off to a terrible start, are currently in the cellar in the American League East with a 28-69 record, and have several pending free agents including both their skipper, Buck Showalter, and their General Manager, Dan Duquette.
When you combine all of those things together, you basically have a franchise that is in turmoil and one that is searching for answers about how to begin the rebuild process. After all, every team goes through it at some point and the Orioles are finally at the bottom of the cycle after being a playoff team 3 of the last 7 years. As such, the Orioles are now forced to look at every possible scenario and try to start carving out a path about how they will move forward in their transition and one of the best ways is through a Manny Machado trade.
Manny Machado is one of the superstars in the game of baseball right now. You ask people around the game to list the Top 5 players in the game and he will make it somewhere on the list alongside guys like Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Max Scherzer, and yes, Bryce Harper. Any knowledgeable baseball fan knows what a premium talent Machado is and how much he can transform the overall makeup of any ball club because of his bat skills and tremendous athleticism in the infield.
Given the fact that Manny Machado is a free agent after this season, the Baltimore Orioles want to make a deal before the July 31st Non-Waiver Trade Deadline and are playing it smart by the way that they have handled negotiations so far. Instead of rushing into a trade and trading him to the first team that calls up and offers a package of prospects, the Orioles are taking things slow and listening to any and all offers, while negotiating with each team that calls. That's how a smart team runs things and it's something that we all have to credit the Orioles for doing.
When a team puts a player out there on the trade market, they begin by fielding calls from interested teams to gauge how other teams and organizations value the player being put out there. During this process, there is a lot of negotiating that goes back and forth and potential trade packages are proposed between both sides which is exactly what the Orioles are doing at this stage of the process.
Should Manny Machado have been traded last July or even this past off season? Probably, but nonetheless, it's better for the Baltimore Orioles to get something for him while they still can whether than just letting him hit free agency and having absolutely nothing to show for it besides a draft pick. That draft pick can either make or break the organization and is nowhere near as good as the return that the Baltimore Orioles will receive from another organization before all is said and done at Noon Pacific Standard Time on July 31st.
What's funny is how many people and sports media outlets around the game, want Manny Machado to be traded, sooner rather than later, just so they have a storyline to talk about. Those parties don't realize the magnitude that Manny Machado plays at and would rather have something to discuss instead of letting the Baltimore Orioles do their due diligence and find the best deal for the organization that helps to kickstart the rebuild process. As they say in the game of baseball, sometimes patience is the best route to take and that is exactly what is being showcased in this situation.
Furthermore, when you read over the trade rumors from the past couple of weeks, you will start to notice how the trade offers to the Baltimore Orioles have started to get better. Teams are starting to realize that the Orioles are taking a firm stance on what the organization will accept in return for Machado and are not going to step down from those demands until they get exactly what they want. You certainly can't blame them for doing that or be upset because that is how business works and that is how a sports organization, such as the Baltimore Orioles, begins to turn around one of the worst farm systems in the game of baseball.
Take for example the original rumored trade offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Baltimore Orioles for Manny Machado. We originally heard about the rumored offer last Monday and it included the Dodgers number 1 ranked prospect (Alex Verdugo) and their number 8 best prospect (Yadier Alvarez). That was a very good offer that the Orioles ultimately ended up turning down and it appears as though that was the smart decision because the offers got even better as this past week went on.
On Wednesday, there was talk that the New York Yankees had contacted the Baltimore Orioles regarding Machado and the Orioles demanded the Yankees second best prospect, lefty Justus Sheffield. Later on that same day, word came out that the Yankees were not willing to part with Sheffield in any deal, but had submitted a "very serious" trade offer which still is in the negotiations stage. Furthermore, on Thursday, we learned that the Baltimore Orioles wanted the Cleveland Indians second best prospect (Triston McKenzie) or third best prospect (Shane Bieber) included in the deal. Cleveland ended up balking at that asking price, but continues to remain in contact with Baltimore regarding several other players on their roster including both Adam Jones and Mychal Givens.
As you can see, the offers have only gotten better the longer that Baltimore has listened on Manny Machado and that will continue to be the case, as the days pass by leading up to July 31st. The Orioles know exactly what they want, which is top pitching in return, and they will not back down until a team meets those demands and gives them prospects that can change the overall perception of their farm system. While many people want a Machado trade to happen for excitement and the sake of being able to kick off the trade season with a big blockbuster, the fact is that the Orioles will continue to be patient and this will likely be a deal that goes all the way down to the wire.