THURSDAY, 2:53am: Nightengale reports in another tweet that the Orioles are “moving aggressively” on trade talks involving Machado, noting that Baltimore believes they can move him by the end of the week.
THURSDAY, 12:47am: Contrary to Rosenthal’s earlier report, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports via Twitter that the Cardinals have a “strong offer” in place for Machado, though it’s reportedly not as strong as White Sox’ proposal.
THURSDAY, 12:20am: Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (insider subscription required and recommended) reports that the White Sox have been the “most aggressive” suitor for Machado. Their goal seems to be to acquire him and attempt to extend him for the long term. Bob Nightengale adds in a tweet that the offer from Chicago was “the best offer of the dozen offers the Orioles have received.”
Rosenthal also notes that the Giants offered the Orioles a package that included Christian Arroyo. The Cardinals also asked about Machado, but the price was apparently too steep for them.
WEDNESDAY, 7:53pm: It doesn’t appear that a Machado trade will come together during the Winter Meetings, Encina writes.
6:30pm: Several teams have made formal trade offers for Machado, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. The Yankees’ chances of landing him are near zero, a source told Joel Sherman of the New York Post. It seems the Yankees would want to include Jacoby Ellsbury in a a Machado deal to help them stay under the competitive-balance tax threshold, but Sherman doubts he’d waive his no-trade clause to go to Baltimore (Twitter link).
4:33pm: The Orioles are “making good progress” toward a Machado trade, Duquette told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com and other reporters, though Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com writes that a deal doesn’t appear imminent. There are more than five teams in the running for Machado, Ghiroli adds. The Orioles met with a “couple” of those teams Wednesday, per Encina. Notably, Duquette hasn’t dismissed trading Machado to another AL East team, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com relays (all Twitter links here).
TUESDAY, 6:27pm: The Yankees and White Sox are also interested in Machado, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter link). As mentioned below, Peter Angelos doesn’t want to deal Machado to New York, while the Sox are an interesting suitor that could be looking at Machado as the centerpiece of a return to contention. Cardinals GM Michael Girsch told Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that giving up significant assets for a star player with just one year of control remaining is “not a path we are likely to go down.” Interestingly, this description applies to both Machado and to another oft-mentioned Cards trade target in Josh Donaldson.
4:29pm: “Several clubs” asked the Orioles about Machado today, Dan Duquette told MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli (Twitter links), Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links) and other media. There’s at least a possibility a trade happens, and the Orioles have apparently not discussed an extension with Machado in years, though new negotiations are “under consideration.” The O’s haven’t talked about giving any potential Machado trade partner a 72-hour window to try and negotiate their own extension with the infielder.
1:43pm: The Cardinals have interest in Machado, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. The Phillies are said to be enamored of Machado, too, and there are no doubt a wide variety of other teams lining up to check on in the asking price. Baltimore is receiving a “ton” of interest in Machado, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com tweets.
10:57am: While it’s been reported that the Orioles are at least willing to listen to offers on Manny Machado, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic takes things a step further, reporting that the O’s have asked interested parties to make them offers for the star infielder (subscription required and highly recommended). The term “infielder” is of particular note, as Rosenthal also writes that Machado’s desire is to return to shortstop in 2018 whether he’s in Baltimore or with a new club.
Machado, 25, has long stood out as an on-paper trade candidate given his proximity to free agency and the Orioles’ lack of starting pitching. The O’s, who have been looking to add as many as three starters to their rotation this winter, will be hard-pressed to contend for an AL East title in 2018 (even more so in the wake of the Bronx Bombers’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton). With Machado set to hit the open market next winter in position to land a record-setting contract — assuming a healthy year, anything south of Stanton’s $325MM guarantee would seem to be a nonstarter — it’s difficult to envision him remaining in Baltimore. For the time being, MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $17.3MM salary for Machado next year after his final trip through the arbitration process.
The Orioles, per Rosenthal, are aiming to acquire two controllable young starters in any trade for Machado. That’s a lofty ask for a lot of teams, but a win-now club with an ample supply of touted but unproven pitching could look at that as an acceptable price to pay for a player that has been worth better than five wins per season, on average, over the past half decade (despite missing 80 games due to injury in 2014). Notably, Rosenthal adds that owner Peter Angelos does not want to trade with the division-rival Yankees.
Machado didn’t have his best season in 2017, as he got off to a shockingly pedestrian start to the year. Through the season’s first three months, Machado was batting just .216/.289/.423 with an elevated (by his standards) 20.6 percent strikeout rate. Over the final three months, though, the Machado of old resurfaced, as he mashed at a .295/.329/.513 pace with a vastly improved 13.1 percent punchout rate.
Machado has two Gold Gloves and a Platinum Glove to his name at third base and has long graded out as an elite defender there, but there’s little doubt that he could still handle shortstop at an above-average level as well. He logged nearly 400 innings there in 2016, for instance, and drew generally positive marks from Ultimate Zone Rating (+1.9) and Defensive Runs Saved (+3).
From a broader perspective, Machado is one of several players entering his final year of team control in Baltimore. Zach Britton, Adam Jones and Brad Brach are all free agents following the 2018 season, while Jonathan Schoop is controlled for just one year beyond that. Depending on how aggressively the O’s are willing to sell off parts, they could quickly restock their farm with an ample supply of talent by marketing more than one of their soon-to-be free agents, though doing so would also mean largely punting on the 2018 campaign at the very least.