Trade buzz surrounding Orioles infielder Manny Machado is at an all-time high right now, and according to multiple reports he's likely to be dealt before play resumes coming out of the All-Star break. Indeed, Baltimore may already have a deal in place with the Dodgers:
Can report with more certainty: Machado to #Dodgers happening. Among remaining questions, in addition to specifics of return beyond OF Yusniel Diaz: How much money, if any, #Orioles will send #Dodgers to secure a better package and help ease LAD’s luxury-tax concerns.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 18, 2018
It's also worth noting that CBS Sports HQ baseball insider Jim Bowden reported that dealt to a National League team.once their season resumes after the All-Star break and that he'll be
Bear in mind that the Orioles have a somewhat complicated recent history when it comes to signing off on players' medicals, so some hurdles may remain. As for those tax concerns that Rosenthal notes, the Dodgers conducted their entire offseason with the goal of resetting their competitive balance tax status and thus not paying those penalties. Given that Machado is owed the balance of a $16 million salary for 2018 and given that the Dodgers are right up against the tax threshold, they'll need some cash from Baltimore or to send a pricey contract the other way. That, in turn, means the Orioles can ask for more on the prospect front.
Machado makes sense given that the Dodgers lost franchise shortstop Corey Seager to Tommy John surgery, and that in tandem with the lack of production at second base has left them thin in the infield. Adding Machado and installing him at short would allow the Dodgers to shift Chris Taylor from short to second base and thus plug that hole.
As for Machado's merits, he's in the midst of a career year. At the break, he's batting .315/.387/.575 (164 OPS+) with 24 home runs in 96 games. He's also returned to his original position of shortstop this season. While returns are mixed on his fielding at that premium spot, he has proved capable of manning it on a daily basis (notable given his past knee injuries). Machado is also a pending free agent, and by all accounts he's determined to test the market. Given that the Dodgers have Seager and Justin Turner installed at short and third, respectively, they can sensibly take Machado on as a temporary fix.
Rosenthal spoke to Machado about the rumors during Tuesday night's All-Star Game at Nationals Park. Here's what he said on what may be his last day as an Oriole:
"I just try not to think about it, to be honest. I try to enjoy this moment with the American League guys and just enjoy this with these guys that I've played with for a long time.
"It's been a tremendous honor to wear this uniform. They gave me an opportunity to come up and play in the big leagues -- that's everyone's dream. They gave me that. They gave me the opportunity to play shortstop again. The organization has done everything, so if this is the last time, hopefully I treated them well and did everything I could for this organization.
"I'm just trying to enjoy this off day tomorrow. I mean, I don't know if I'm going to get a call or not, but I'm just trying to enjoy this last off day. As of now, I haven't heard of anything."
The SportsLine Projection Model was already high on the Dodgers for the rest of the season and has them as the leader in World Series probability in the National League. The forecast gives the Dodgers a bit of a boost, going from 94.1 wins without Machado to 94.6 with the addition of the Orioles infielder. Postseason odds go from 94.7 to 96.5 percent. As far as winning the World Series? Machado would raise the Dodgers' chances from 23.7 to 24 percent.
No, that's not a huge difference, which reflects two facts: we're well past the midpoint of the season, and SportsLine was already quite bullish on the Dodgers moving forward.