Cubs reportedly expected to be in on Manny Machado when he becomes available in trade
Needless to say, it would be a huge addition for the reigning NL Central champs
The Cubs have been linked to Orioles infielder Manny Machado for some time. Machado, of course, is a pending free agent, and he's also a candidate to be traded leading up to the non-waiver deadline, given that the O's are terrible and have no shot at re-signing him. On that front, here's a rather tantalizing update from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times ...
But after checking in on his availability during the winter, the Cubs expect to talk to the Orioles about Machado again when the worst team in the American League inevitably makes the pending free agent available in the coming weeks, insiders say.
Machado is off to a smoldering start in 2018. In 34 games this season, Machado is batting .346/.430/.623 (188 OPS+) with nine homers, nine doubles, and as many walks as strikeouts. As well, he's transitioned back to his original position of shortstop this year. The offensive numbers are particularly encouraging since his production was down a bit in 2017.
Presumably, any such deal would involve sending shortstop Addison Russell back to Baltimore and plugging Machado in as his replacement. While Machado would likely be a defensive downgrade relative to Russell, he's a vastly better hitter.
Obviously, the Cubs would be hoping that Machado is more than a rental. He's said he wants to test the market, but the Cubs have the resources to make an extension offer that would at least tempt him. As well, Wittenmyer writes that one current Cub is a childhood friend of Machado's and would be willing to use his persuasive powers.
More broadly, the Cubs are all-in on trying to win another World Series before their window begins to close, and the addition of Machado -- even if he winds up departing via free agency -- would move the needle for them.
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