Though there’s still four weeks until the 2018 non-waiver trade deadline, trade talks surrounding Manny Machado have “accelerated” in recent days, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription link). The Orioles, according to Rosenthal, would prefer to move Machado “sooner rather than later,” as they can extract more in a trade if the acquiring team controls Machado for three months as opposed to two months.
To this point in the summer, the teams most connected to Machado have been the Dodgers, Phillies, Diamondbacks and Indians. The Brewers and Cubs have been more loosely tied to Machado on the rumor mill, though Rosenthal reports that while Milwaukee is doing its due diligence, the team is unlikely to meet Baltimore’s asking price.
That, it seems, could be true of the Phillies as well. MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Phillies should be considered “longshots” in the Machado trade sweepstakes. Zolecki writes that while the Phillies “love” Machado and plan to make a serious run at him in the offseason, the team doesn’t feel itself to be one piece away from a World Series. That, of course, makes it considerably more difficult to meet what is likely a rather lofty asking price from the O’s.
Rosenthal suggests that the D-backs and Indians could be the “most motivated” teams in the Machado market, and Zolecki, too, specifically lists the D-backs as a club likelier to acquire Machado than the Phillies.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, meanwhile, tweets that the Dodgers continue to “aggressively” pursue Machado, adding that the Orioles have been scouting L.A.’s system heavily and are particularly interested in Class-A Advanced right-hander Dustin May. There’d obviously be more at play than a mere one-for-one swap, but May, a third-round pick in 2016, is generally considered to be among the Dodgers’ more promising young arms. He’s off to a strong start in 2018 as well, having pitched to a 3.18 ERA with 9.1 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and a 54.1 percent ground-ball rate through 65 innings (12 starts).
Of course, there could still be other organizations involved in discussions. Jim Bowden of The Athletic tweets that eight teams have had at least some engagement with the O’s regarding Machado within the past ten days. That would suggest that there are at least a few mystery teams hanging around the periphery of talks.