SUNDAY: The White Sox and Diamondbacks had shown the most interest in Machado as of Saturday morning, Olney heard from AL sources.
THURSDAY: Trade winds continue to swirl around Manny Machado, as the Orioles’ apparent willingness to consider dealing its star third baseman was one of the major storylines of the Winter Meetings. The Orioles have received ten “legitimate offers” for Machado, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports, though the quality of those offers and the number of teams involved may be hampered by Baltimore’s refusal to allow a 72-hour window for a new team to talk to Machado’s agents about a possible extension.
The Cardinals didn’t make “a formal offer” due to that lack of negotiating period, and the White Sox (previously thought to have made the strongest of all the offers) apparently didn’t include any of their top prospects in their proposal, Nightengale reports. Two executives said that Chicago made its offer with the belief that the Sox would only have Machado for the 2018 season.
One major factor influencing talks is Baltimore owner Peter Angelos’ insistence that Machado not end up with the Yankees in 2018. This naturally rules out a direct trade with New York, though Angelos also doesn’t want a scenario where Machado is dealt to a team that would flip him to the Yankees for prospects, be it before the July trade deadline or even later this offseason. These parameters would seem to limit the Orioles’ list of potential trade partners to only contending teams, and maybe even to contenders that would seemingly have no chance of a midseason collapse and subsequent deadline fire sale (though obviously one can’t know for sure what would-be contenders could be in for a nightmare season, a la the 2017 Giants.)
The White Sox aren’t expected to contend for even a couple of seasons yet, and thus would seem like potential candidates to deal Machado in order to further hasten their rebuild. The Sox are apparently willing to address Angelos’ concerns, as Nightengale writes that “if the Orioles even wanted it in writing that they’d keep him around until at least mid-summer,” Chicago would be fine with that assurance. This would be quite an unusual type of trade provisio, of course, and one that Angelos may still not be fine with if he wants to eliminate any chance of Machado wearing Yankee pinstripes in 2018.
Beyond the teams already reported as having interest in Machado, the Diamondbacks are also in the mix, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets. Arizona “checked in” on the Machado talks, though it isn’t clear if the D’Backs were just performing due diligence or if they were one of the clubs who made Baltimore an offer. Machado would seem to be something of an unlikely fit for a D’Backs team that doesn’t have the payroll space to afford Machado’s $17.3 projected salary for 2018, though they could clear some of their own pricier arb-eligible players off the books by sending them back to the O’s. Patrick Corbin, for instance, would be an upgrade for the Orioles’ rotation, while Jake Lamb would replace Machado at third base and give some much-needed left-handed balance to Baltimore’s lineup.
MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently took a broad look at the Machado situation, gauging all 29 other teams by how plausible they seem as contenders to actually land the star infielder. Needless to say, Angelos’ specifications would seem to narrow an already thin market, since there aren’t many teams willing to meet the Orioles’ big asking price (reportedly two controllable starting pitchers) for just a year of Machado’s services. Adams listed both the White Sox and Diamondbacks as “out of the picture” candidates, so their chances of working out a deal could be even more remote given Angelos’ wariness of any “creative” follow-up trades a Machado suitor could make.