Trading for Manny Machado may not be so simple for the Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager will miss the rest of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The defending National League champions now find themselves in a free-fall down the division standings and without their MVP-caliber shortstop.

Across the country, the Orioles have had a miserable first month of the new campaign. However, one player that isn’t struggling is their stud shortstop, Manny Machado. The 25-year-old is hitting the cover off of the ball; he’s ranked near the top of the league in just about every offensive category. With the O’s quickly falling out of the playoff hunt, Machado, a pending free agent, is expected to be made available via trade later this summer. You can connect the dots from there.

Made in baseball heaven

Despite his injury, Seager is both the present and future for the Dodgers. No progress has been made in contract talks between Machado and the Orioles. A trade would seem like a match made in baseball heaven, but it’s not as simple as it first appears.

The luxury tax threshold

Money is the first issue. The Dodgers don’t want to exceed the $197 million luxury tax threshold. They currently sit at $181.5 million. Machado’s salary this season is $16 million, however, LA wouldn’t pay him that much since Baltimore has been cutting him checks since March. They would have to fork over a pro-rated amount of his salary. Even still, adding Machado would limit their ability to improve elsewhere on the team without going over the soft cap.

The bigger problem may be what the Dodgers would need to give up in order to acquire Machado. This will be, at least, the second time LA has contacted Baltimore regarding the player. During the winter, they were one of nine clubs to show serious interest, and there’s sure to be a large number of clubs making those very same calls this summer, including the rival Arizona Diamondbacks.

In the proverbial mirror

There is plenty of talent in the Dodgers farm system. According to MLB Pipeline, they have four of the top 100 prospects in baseball but with Machado likely to be the best hitter on the market, there will be a bidding war for his services. The Dodgers need to seriously look at themselves in the proverbial mirror and ask “Are we good enough to justify this move?”

This team has injuries up and down the roster. Rich Hill is on the DL with a cracked nail. Yasiel Puig has had trouble with his hip and foot. Clayton Kershaw has been fine so far, but he has a history of back issues. And now Seager is out for the season. On top of all of that, they compete in one of baseball’s toughest divisions.

Final thoughts on the trade

It’s too soon for the Dodgers to pull the trigger on this trade. They should wait and see how the next few weeks play out. It’s also quite possible that this club isn’t good enough or lucky enough to win this season. Trading for a free-agent-to-be would only add insult to (literal) injury.

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