The Dodgers Should Trade for Manny Machado

A Chicago Sun-Times report came out yesterday (May 8th) that said the Cubs would be pursuing Manny Machado via trade over the next few weeks. I don’t doubt the validity of the report—the Cubs are in the middle of their contention cycle and seeking a return to the World Series and the Orioles are decidedly out of the playoff picture despite the fact that we are just a month and change into the regular season—but I am confused as to why the Cubs, not the Dodgers are the first team to be linked to the Orioles’ star infielder.

For starters, the Dodgers would make the most sense for a Machado landing spot prior to the July trade deadline. Shortly after Dodgers SS Corey Seager was placed on the DL for the rest of the season due to a torn UCL, Machado to the Dodgers was floated around by MLB Trade Rumors and other websites. The Dodgers, however very clearly indicated that they preferred to go with in-house options a la Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernandez, at least in the short run. Taylor and Hernandez are by no means bad ballplayers (Taylor owns a .271/.333/.471 triple-slash with 27 HR in just over 200 games with the Dodgers and Hernandez owns a just-about-league-average .232/.310/.413 triple-slash in just over 350 games with the club), but neither is going to lead the Dodgers to the World Series.

There are not many players in baseball who will be able to replace Seager’s production; the 24-year-old is the owner of a .302/.372/.494 triple-slash with 54 HR in 355 games. Manny Machado is one of the few.

Machado has a .282/.333/.482 career triple-slash line in just under 800 games for the Orioles. During his career in Charm City, he has knocked 147 HR (that’s a 162-game average of 30) and played fewer than 156 games just once (save for his rookie season when he was called up mid-year) in his seven-year career. The Miami native is also just 25 years old (he turns 26 in July) but that is rendered irrelevant by the fact that he will be a free agent at season’s end if he does not sign a long-term extension with the Orioles or whatever team lands him in a trade. So Machado’s contract, not his age, would be more of a deterrent in a potential trade.

Getting a star player as a short-term rental is typically a turn-off to teams because the team that gets the star typically has to surrender significant prospect capital for just half a season of a player. The Dodgers, though, have demonstrated that they are not averse to half-season rentals; last year the team acquired Yu Darvish from the Rangers for the team’s #4 prospect, Willie Calhoun, and two other lower-level prospects (A.J. Alexy, a projectable right-handed pitcher, and Brendon Davis, an also-projectable infielder). This is not a huge package to give up for Darvish, but losing an organizational top-five prospect is never a cheap price to pay for a rental.

This brings me to the Dodgers acquiring Machado. It would certainly take more than the Darvish package to acquire Machado, but that should not deter the Dodgers, who have one of the deepest farm systems in all of baseball. MinorLeagueBall.com ranks the Dodgers’ system as #10 overall which indicates that they can afford to lose a little bit of minor league talent to improve the MLB roster and bring the team back to the World Series.

Putting Together a Package for Machado

What would the Dodgers need to give up to get Machado? This is a difficult question to answer because the price is going to be somewhat market-dependent. Machado will obviously be a target for many teams prior to the trade deadline, but if teams with deeper farm systems (think Yankees) don’t pony up and make offers for Machado, that will severely limit the upside of a potential package heading back to Baltimore. If the Yankees do make a push for Machado to bolster their roster for the playoffs, though, a bidding war for the Baltimore infielder could very likely ensue.

At the very least it seems that the Dodgers will have to give up at least one of Mitchell White, Yadier Alvarez, or Dennis Santana, the top three pitching prospects in the team’s system. Unfortunately for whoever ends up going to Baltimore, the Orioles have an absolutely awful track record with developing pitching talent.

I’m not saying that being shipped to Baltimore is a death sentence for any of these pitchers, but the Orioles are notoriously awful at developing pitching prospects. Jake Arrieta, Andrew Miller, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Josh Hader are just a handful of pitchers who were unimpressive with the Orioles and then blossomed into reliable starters/relievers with other teams. Arrieta is the most notable example of the group though Rodriguez has been more than serviceable during his tenure with the Red Sox, and the latter two pitchers have developed into lights-out relievers.

In addition to one of the aforementioned arms (White, Alvarez, and Santana), the Orioles with probably ask for a solid infield prospect and another lower-level guy. Ryan Mountcastle, the Orioles’ #2 prospect, is a third baseman but could likely make the move to second fairly easily should any acquisition necessitate it. Gavin Lux and Cristian Santana are both infielders at the Dodgers High-A affiliate in Rancho Cucamonga, with the former being a middle infielder and the latter being a third baseman. Lux has drawn mixed reviews with his bat but the consensus is that he will end up at the very least a good defensive second baseman. Questions still remain with the bat.

Cristian Santana, on the other hand, is more of an offensive threat. That is not to say he will be a big league slugger, but he has solid raw power from the right side and should be an average player in all facets as a third baseman.

Beyond one player from each of the above groups, it is nearly impossible to predict what the Orioles will ask for. Baltimore could probably net another prospect or two outside the Dodgers’ top 30 but whoever is shipped to Baltimore with a pitcher and an infielder is going to be far off from the majors.

If adding two more lower level guys (note the fact that I used “guys” and not “prospects”…it shouldn’t take a ton more beyond the players I mentioned above) to the deal gets Machado to Los Angeles, the Dodgers should jump at the opportunity. Adding Machado to a Dodgers lineup that already features Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner (who will return soon), Yasiel Puig, and Alex Verdugo (who might I add, is unlikely to be moved this deadline considering that the Dodgers do not exactly have a surfeit of big-league ready outfielders to replace him) would be lethal. Machado would easily slot in at SS which would allow the Dodgers to deploy the aforementioned Chris Taylor in the outfield, should they so choose.

Additionally, the Dodgers would have a shot at extending Machado. It’s unlikely, especially because Machado has indicated that he wants to “test the waters” at the very least, but if there is a team who has the funds to make it happen, it’s the Dodgers. And even if LA can’t make a Machado extension happen, adding Machado would likely make the Dodgers instant favorites to repeat as National League champions. Anything in addition to that is just icing on the cake.

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11 thoughts on “The Dodgers Should Trade for Manny Machado

  1. If the Dodgers finally get serious about pursuing Machado this season instead of this upcoming winter, this is how they should do it. Offer Peter Angelos:

    -Corey Seager (Machado wants to play SS regularly if any prospective club wants to sign him long-term in the offseason and you can’t have Seager getting in the way of that, plus there’s no guarantee Seager recovers fully from his TJ surgery next season so a move to 1B might eventually be in the cards for him and the Dodgers pretty much have Cody Bellinger as a long-term option at that spot so…)

    -Alex Verdugo (Dodgers won’t keep him because they already have Joc Pederson whom they seem to want to hold on to indefinitely as well as Andrew Toles for that matter; MLB-ready OFs are NOT an issue for them at this point, plus they have DJ Peters, Yusniel Diaz, and undervalued prospect Luke Raley not far behind on that particular depth chart)

    -Keibert Ruiz (top C prospect in the Dodger farm system as of today, but if there’s anything the Dodgers aren’t running low on right now it’s quality C prospects and Ruiz is the one I can definitely part with in this deal; Will Smith’s another viable trade option at that position and is more MLB-ready by comparison, but his defensive versatility makes him far more valuable to the Dodgers long-term as a result so I wouldn’t include him in this deal or ANY deal for that very reason)

    -Rich Hill (gotta make the money side of this deal work and Hill’s salary matches up perfectly with Machado’s, plus his departure opens up a slot for one of the Dodgers’ AAA starters that might have ended up being blocked this season if Hill wasn’t moved in a timely manner)

    I swear, if THIS trade proposal doesn’t woo Angelos into coughing up Machado outright then the Dodgers can give him the middle finger and move on to more pressing matters (like getting that problematic bullpen resolved once and for all this season). Truthfully speaking, however, I don’t think he’s gonna find a better trading partner this late in the day regarding his best player and soon-to-be FA this winter. Should’ve swung him in a deal this past offseason for a king’s ransom, but you know what they say when you wait a year too late instead of taking action a year too early.

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    1. This is just silly. There is no chance that the Dodgers give up Seager to get Machado. Seager is under contract for three more seasons; trading him alone for Machado would be enough to get him if the Dodgers go that route. There is absolutely no reason to give up an additional two prospects, and blue-chippers at that, to get Machado.

      And the Dodgers needn’t add Hill to the deal either; there’s no hard salary cap in baseball so the money does not need to match up. An offer of Seager+Verdugo+Ruiz+Hill would just be a ridiculous overpay and there’s absolutely zero chance that the Dodgers would offer a package remotely close to this for Machado.

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      1. Listen, the Dodgers are not the only players in town for Machado this season. That trade package I proposed would certainly get Angelos thinking long and hard about pulling the trigger at the very least because even he knows he’s not going to get a better offer elsewhere this late in the game. And yeah, theoretically offering Seager straight-up for Machado would probably get it done. HOWEVER, there will always be concerns about whether he fully recovers from his TJ surgery or not and you know a seasoned GM like Angelos wouldn’t agree to such a deal unless the Dodgers “sweeten the pot” a bit. That’s where those two prospects come in. Believe me, Verdugo and Ruiz are very nice pieces but they don’t exactly fit the philosophy of this current Dodger front office plus they’re deep enough in quality prospects at their respective positions as it is already. Check out the farm sometime when you’re not too busy!

        And as for Hill, you’re also forgetting that the Dodgers’ top priority this year is to stay under the luxury tax threshold. Throwing him in the deal would not only help tremendously in that sense, they would also be ridding themselves of yet another godawful contract situation they inadvertently placed themselves in. Killing two birds with one “baseball”, so to speak.

        So you think my trade proposal is a “ridiculous overpay”, eh? Young man, you still have much to learn about how business is truly done in MLB these days. This isn’t fantasy baseball we’re discussing here, lol…

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      2. Manuel, my friend, I’ve got to side with Max on this one. I guarantee you that Seager alone would be more than any other team would offer. If he doesn’t have his arm strength after the operation, the O’s could always move him to second or even first base and still have way more than their money’s worth since the Dodgers would only getting Machado for 1/2 season which is way less than Seager has left before free agency. At this point, Ruiz is pretty much universally considered their best catching prospect, even if he only plays that one position. He’s hitting just under .300 in AA at the age of 19. Some have questioned his power but he already has 6 homers this year in 133 at bats where last year he only had 8 in almost 400 at bats. Many scouts consider him already MLB ready defensively. If the Dodgers offered the players you mentioned, Angelos would not only take the deal, he would fly Machado out to Dodger Stadium in his personal private jet and take the entire Dodger front office to dinner when he got here. The only way anyone is going to take on the $25,000,000 plus remaining on Hill’s contract is if they are presented with a deal like you propose, but I really don’t see Friedman even considering that. Let’s agree to disagree on this one.

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