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. Overall I agree with the article, just think one area is somewhat misleading.

    When talking about the struggles of the Os developing pitchers (which I agree they have largely failed in this department) Andrew Miller, Josh Hader and Eduardo Rodriguez are used as the examples and all three are misleading

    Miller: Never in the Os minor league system and had an ERA+ of 297 while he was with them

    Hader: Had a sub 2 era while in the Os system and was one of their top prospects at the time he was dealt. Given up because they wanted Bud Norris (several years of team control and MLB experience)

    Rodriguez: Was In the Os top ten prospects when dealt, and was considered a middle to back end starter. Had a career mid 3s era in the Os system and was given up largely due to make up/attitude concerns

    I fully admit Arrieta was a botch job, but the other three don’t fit the argument.

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    1. Perhaps I could have worded my point better. I should have included that “poor pitching talent evaluation” was another issue the Orioles struggled with.

      Dealing Hader+ for Bud Norris, who had actually been a below-average league pitcher during his tenure in the bigs (89 ERA+) is just not a savvy move for the future of the franchise, regardless of if you’re in need of MLB arms. Any prospect of Hader’s caliber paired with another prospect (though Hoes wasn’t exactly a blue-chipper) should probably have been able to at least net a league-average starter.

      Miller is a flat-out bad example, I will give you that.

      Rodriguez is another one that can probably be thrown in the “bad evaluation” bucket; there’s usually not a whole lot of good reasons to give up a blue-chip prospect for a middle reliever, especially when this trade was made (it was before the whole reliever revolution that baseball is experiencing right now). So while I understand your point on Miller and Rodriguez, I don’t necessarily agree in Rodriguez’s case.

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      1. Eduardo Rodfriguez wasn’t an example of bad evaluation. They wanted to keep him, surely. But at that time they were the closest to making a strong playoff run in decades and had to pay a steep price with a division rival. They traded him for Andrew Miller to shore up a hole in the bullpen, who was a big key in making some noise in the playoffs that year. I don’t think any of the O’s management ever felt ERod wasn’t a good pitcher. It was the circumstances that forced their hand. He’s not a good example of your argument either.

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  2. Machado will become one of the top ten greatest players EVER!, Defensively there’s no one close. Power …….wow…..leading American League now, RBI. Wow….always a Dodger problem! BAtting average…..351 now…..wow! Attitude…..he’s the greatest. Trade for him and Scoop in a package deal. They are best friends….inseparable. So, give up virtually anybody and anything…Oriole fans should be filling up the stands, but they are like Ravens fans. Can only support a team that is winning which makes them losers.. They blame Peter Angelos but there is only so much money out there for asbestos lawsuits anymore. If Cal Ripken could team up with some big money and buy the Orioles from Angelos, he could save them. Machado is a one-in-a-however long player. With him the Dodgers would win every year. I love the Orioles and am a Steeler fan and Pirate fan but lived in L.A. Years ago. I love the Dodgers too! Scoop and Manny work magic with the glove and Scoop has 35 HR power. Go for it!,

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  3. Alvarez has shown nothing but unfulfilled promise and I don’t see the Orioles settling for him as the centerpiece of a Machado deal. I don’t even think White/Christian Santana and a couple of other guys gets it done considering the other teams that will be bidding against the Dodgers. Dennis Santana, on the other hand, I wouldn’t include in a trade for 1/2 season of Machado. The Dodgers pitching depth is weaker than it has been in a long time and Santana is showing himself to be a legit upper end prospect that they can’t afford to get rid of. Kershaw may be gone after this year and is proving injury prone. Ryu is a free agent after this year. Hill after next year. Maeda may very well wind up back in the bullpen where he seems to be more effective. That leaves Alex Wood and Buehler as the only sure things for the next few years. They need to keep Dennis Santana.

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  4. Orioles fan here. Good piece of writing. The only issue I’d have with your scenario is that I hope the O’s don’t target specific positions in any trade. As bad as the farm is, get the best players you can, and sort the rest out later. If they’re dealing with the Dodgers, I hope they push for DJ Peters. Everything else can fall where it may. I just hope they don’t purely target pitching. It’s unpredictable, and they’re not the best at development. Their track record is much better with position players.

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