Not much more than 24 hours have passed since the first report that the Orioles were really willing to listen to offers about Manny Machado. The slow-moving O's have unsurprisingly not traded their star player just yet, but according to GM Dan Duquette, there are "more than a handful" of interested teams - and the O's are still gauging that interest.
Meeting with Orioles reporters for the Wednesday evening information dump, Duquette had a lot to say - again unsurprisingly - about the Machado situation. Notably, there were more meetings with teams that took place on Wednesday, so it's not like the initial wave of suitors, whoever they are, has proven to be the only one.
One team that's been reported to be interested in Machado is the Yankees. At least as far as Duquette is concerned, the idea of trading within the division is not a barrier to pulling off a trade. This is the right answer to the question:
Duq when asked if it would be tough hypothetically to see Manny 19x in opposing colors. “We have control over that now. We won’t a year from now.”— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) December 13, 2017
There's no question that it would sting for fans to watch Machado playing for the Yankees, or the Red Sox, next season. But two years from now he could be in either one of those places and the Orioles wouldn't have any consolation prize for that except for one late first round draft pick.
You don't have to search very far to find baseball writers, including MASN's Roch Kubatko, who are skeptical that the ownership level of the organization would actually allow Machado to be traded to the Yankees. It's another thing to consider if this situation moves along.
However, it's clear where Duquette stands about it, if the Yankees come in with the best offer. The Orioles need to look everywhere they can to find where that offer comes from.
There is still the question of what they would consider the best offer. Duquette had something to say about that, too, although the reasoning is less encouraging than his thoughts about an in-division trade:
Duquette would like MLB ready pitching in a major deal “That would be our first choice. Whether we can do that, that’s another story.”— Dan Connolly (@danconnolly2016) December 13, 2017
That the Orioles are in desperate need of starting pitching for the rotation next year is not in doubt. A big factor in why it seems like it may be for the best for the Orioles to trade Machado is that the current state of the rotation is a mess and there's not much of a way to fix that in the parts of the free agent market that the Orioles are willing to participate in.
Whether they should go all in prioritizing starting pitching is a different story. Using the Yankees as an example, if they were willing to offer, say, infielder Gleyber Torres for Machado, the O's would have to listen to that even if it doesn't include much pitching. Torres is currently the #2 overall prospect by the MLB.com rankings.
Responding to that hypothetical offer with, "We want pitching," would be foolish - although the Yankees do currently have two top 100 pitching prospects. Still, the philosophy should be the same as the draft: Get the best players you can and worry about how to fit them in later.
Because laughter is the best medicine, one final thought from Duquette:
Even if #Orioles trade Machado, Duquette does NOT want to use the "rebuild" word. Indicated trading him would need to net starting pitching that can help team be competitive in 2018.— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) December 13, 2017
This is one of those times where we had all better hope Duquette is not telling the truth. If he won't pursue a rebuilding strategy even in the event that Machado is traded, that's bad news. Sometimes, Duquette says things for public relations purposes. Perhaps refusing to use the word "rebuild" is one of those. After all, the O's will eventually be trying to get people to renew season tickets for 2018.
The trade-or-not drama seems like it will stretch on beyond the end of the winter meetings, so don't lose any sleep tonight for fear of something happening.
Duquette said it's "a little ways down the track" before teams have to make their final decisions on that kind of stuff - although certainly the Cardinals, a possible Machado destination, pounced on getting Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna on Wednesday while the O's were still just having meetings about Machado.