Baltimore might screw up the Manny Machado situation
The Orioles are a team in turmoil. This season was supposed to be their last shot at a winner with this group of players. So far, it hasn’t gone well. The O’s find themselves at the bottom of a competitive AL East despite star shortstop Manny Machado battling for the league lead in just about every offensive category. A Machado trade seems inevitable, and it could be the perfect move to get this organization back on its feet, but it sure seems like the Orioles are about to bungle this whole thing.
Potential of trading Machado
Speaking to MLB Radio on Thursday, Orioles vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette waffled about the potential of trading Machado. He claimed that, because of the shortstop’s shot at a Triple Crown the team may prefer to hold onto him.
This, of course, makes no sense. That is the exact player a club wants to trade in the midst of a disaster season. The argument can be made, in that scenario, that this player is the best hitter in the league. Despite the fact that he has less than a year of team control remaining, that player could be worth a fortune in prospects. There is no logical reason to hold onto said player.
The negotiating tactic
It’s possible that Duquette’s comments are a negotiating tactic. It may be smart for the Orioles to act publicly, as if they do not actually need to trade Machado. They can just as easily hold onto him, keep selling jerseys and merchandise with his face on it, and then use the draft pick compensation that will come if/when he signs elsewhere in the winter as a free agent. Perhaps this could push a team hoping to land Machado over the edge to offer that one guy in a deal that they really wanted to hold onto.
Draft picks are a crapshoot
No opposing team can actually buy that, though, can they? Machado is worth a handful of prospects via trade. These would be young players that are already in professional baseball and have supplied some reasoning for thinking they can make it to the big leagues and contribute. Draft picks are a crapshoot. The 18-year-old fresh out of high school is a much riskier than the 21-year-old at Double-A.
Can’t wait around forever
The Orioles have time on their side. The non-waiver trade deadline is more than two months away. The big league club’s early struggles has given them the gift of fielding offers early and often. However, because Machado is in his final season of team control his value will diminish quicker than players with multiple years remaining. These stalling tactics are fine for the moment, but the O’s can’t wait around forever. Machado is a fantastic player than can change a franchise, but asking for too much in return or refusing sell, could also ruin one.