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Orioles trade rumors: Pumping the brakes on Manny Machado

Since talk about a deal started, it's felt like the Orioles had no choice but to trade Manny Machado. But the O's don't seem to be in a rush, and may even be leaning towards keeping him.

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The will they-or-won't they drama in the saga with the Orioles possibly trading Manny Machado is not settled yet. Once the topic first came up, it seemed like the team may have no choice but to trade Machado. That may even still be true, but that's not enough to make them do it. According to FanRag's Jon Heyman, the O's could end up pulling Machado off the trade block by the end of this week.

The only thing more depressing to me than the idea of the Orioles trading Machado is a scenario where the Orioles try to trade Machado, fail to do so, and then turn towards the 2018 season with two starting pitchers while trying to tell us that they are going to field a competitive team.

Heyman describes the Orioles as being dissatisfied with the offers that they have received up to this point, apparently not lining up with what they're seeking. We've seen that characterized elsewhere as wanting two young, controllable starting pitchers.

Specifically, the trade from three years ago that sent Jason Heyward from St. Louis to Atlanta seems to be the comparable deal the Orioles are aiming for. Our friends over at SB Nation's Cardinals blog, Viva El Birdos, also noted some similarity between the Machado situation and the Heyward one.

That Heyward deal brought Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins to the Braves, with the Braves also sending a reliever, Jordan Walden, to St. Louis.

At the time of the trade, Miller was 24 and had one good big league season and one OK big league season under his belt. Jenkins, 22 at the time, was a former top 100 prospect who had lost some shine, but was coming off of a decent (by ERA) season in High-A and the Arizona Fall League.

Miller has only had one good MLB season since the trade. The Braves got plenty of value out of Miller by trading him to Arizona after his one good season with Atlanta. Miller himself has not been what might have been hoped, though. Jenkins didn't make the MLB level until 2016 and wasn't good, so much so that the Braves put him on waivers for roster space after the 2016 season and lost him to another team.

O's fans can only hope that if they do end up trading Machado, they get a couple of players who are able to have more of a positive long-term impact than what the Braves got for trading Heyward.

The Wednesday news that Zach Britton has a ruptured Achilles introduces another variable into the process. Now that they know that they won't be able to trade Britton this offseason, and also won't be able to plow ahead into 2018 pretending that the 2014-16 version of Britton will be at the back end of their bullpen, will that affect their plans?

It doesn't take much imagination to think of a scenario where this Britton injury makes Machado even more of a must-trade, in order to get some value, any value, for somebody before the great free agent exodus.

MASN's Roch Kubatko got Dan Duquette to comment on the Machado situation while getting a reaction about Britton:

If that statement is taken at face value, it sounds rather definitive. On the other hand, there's wiggle room there as well. It's not a direct assertion: "We aren't going to focus on that after tomorrow." Duquette is not generally a loquacious speaker, so the extra words could certainly be obfuscation.

Maybe that kind of comment is just part of some game of chicken, with Duquette trying to shake a better offer out of one of the teams who've been checking in on Machado. Heyman said that at least seven teams have inquired about Machado. But if it's for real, and the Orioles are putting the talks to bed if they don't have a deal by this weekend, then we know what direction the Orioles are headed for next season.

At some point, hopefully someone will remind the Orioles that at this moment, their starting rotation likely consists of Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Gabriel Ynoa, Miguel Castro, and Mike Wright, and perhaps they ought to do something about that.