12:08am: Michael Duarte of NBC Sports L.A. tweets that right-handed pitching prospect Dustin May, long reported to be a target of the O’s, is expected to change hands in the deal. Double-A infielder/outfielder Errol Robinson is also believed to be included, per Duarte.
That said, Heyman casts doubt on the inclusion of May, tweeting that the Dodgers’ unwillingness to part with him was the driving factor for structuring a deal around Diaz.
11:22pm: Heyman tweets that the players in the deal are agreed upon, though there could yet be some medical reviews to be finalized. Notably, he suggests that there are “believed to be” five minor leaguers going to the Orioles, though obviously the quality of those five will vary. It’s still unclear who, outside of Diaz, is going to the Orioles in the deal, but Heyman adds that there’s no cash changing hands in the trade. That won’t yet put Los Angeles over the luxury tax line, however. Machado is owed about $6.45MM through season’s end, and the Dodgers were about $15MM south of the luxury tax line prior to this agreement.
9:15pm: Rosenthal tweets that Machado to the Dodgers is indeed happening. Diaz will go back to the Orioles as one of the pieces in the deal. It’s not yet clear which other players are involved or how much money (if any) the O’s are sending to the Dodgers along with Machado.
Meanwhile, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko cautions that he hears a deal isn’t “done,” though that seems to be largely a matter of semantics. Kubatko notes that the All-Star Game has been a significant impediment to the deal’s completion. He adds that upon inquiring as to whether the deal could be completed tomorrow, one source replied: “It could have been tomorrow for the last 2 weeks.”
While any deal can unexpectedly crumble before it’s formally announced — Baltimore axed a deal that would’ve sent Zach Britton to the Astros at the last minute last July, for instance — the overwhelming consensus at this point seems to be that Machado will be a Dodger by the time the regular season resumes on Friday.
6:17pm: The Orioles’ return from the Dodgers is expected to consist only of prospects, Rosenthal further tweets. L.A. won’t send anyone from its Major League roster to the O’s barring a last-minute change. As such, if the Dodgers are going to move a big league asset such as Forsythe for luxury tax purposes, that’ll come in a separate trade, it seems.
5:08pm: Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that “several” other clubs who’ve been involved in the bidding are expecting the Dodgers to land Machado. The Dodgers are “increasingly likely” to acquire Machado, per Rosenthal. Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times, meanwhile, tweets that the Dodgers are believed to be close on a Machado deal.
4:16pm: Machado tells reporters that he has not heard anything today from either the Orioles or his agent regarding a trade (Twitter link via Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times).
12:48pm: Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Dodgers are the club with the framework of a deal in place. But the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Scott Lauber tweets that the Phillies are still “aggressively motivated” and optimistic of landing Machado.
11:10am: The Dodgers have indeed offered to include Diaz, Heyman tweets.
10:17am: Heyman provides a few more hints regarding the possible connection (Twitter links). One chip to keep an eye on is Dodgers outfielder Yusniel Diaz, he suggests. Working out the money may also mean that an expensive veteran player could head back to Baltimore in a potential deal, Heyman adds. On paper, at least, Logan Forsythe would seem the obvious player to utilize in that regard. Sending salary back to Baltimore would obviously mean that Los Angeles would need to sweeten the return.
8:05am: The Dodgers “appear to be the leading contender” to acquire Orioles infielder Manny Machado, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link). That said, there’s still no deal in place and Heyman adds that “the situation is fluid.”
As we’ve traced this key trade deadline story in recent weeks, multiple teams have emerged at one point or another as supposed “favorites” or “leaders” to add Machado. All along, we’ve also heard reporters caution that many clubs aren’t yet sure just when the O’s will make a decision. And with two weeks yet to go, it’s still plausible to imagine that they’ll continue to wait.
Thus, while Heyman says a “deal should be done this week,” he adds an important proviso (“barring turnabout”). And while this latest report indicates the Dodgers are homing in on Machado, it was reported late last night that the Phillies were surging into the lead by dangling one of their best pitching prospects.
Before that, the Brewers were reputedly part of a trio of leaders, and Heyman tweets that the Milwaukee organization remains a possibility. He adds that the Diamondbacks — another team once deemed the favorite by some — are also still on the periphery. And who could forget that, less than a week ago, we were learning of a surprise Yankees surge. Perhaps it should not surprise if other teams manage to vault back into the conversation, too.
There are plenty of ways to interpret all this, of course. It could be that the Dodgers are indeed lining up to get Machado. Or, maybe it’s the Phils that are doing so. Perhaps the Orioles really are preparing to strike a deal coming out of the All-Star break, a seemingly sensible approach that would avoid further injury risk. Or, it might be that the steady stream of horse racing metaphors is an indication that the Orioles are seeing how far they can push the bidding, comfortable in the knowledge that they can still move the finish line back a few more times.
From Machado’s perspective, as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes, it’s hard to play through the “distractions.” The longtime O’s star says he wishes he knew more about where he might be headed, but adds that VP of baseball ops Dan Duquette “has been doing a really good job of trying to keep us informed as much as he can.” Machado also gave something of a preview of his anticipated approach to free agency this coming winter, saying he’ll be looking to figure out where he and his family will be “happy” rather than maximizing his earnings.