It’s not the offseason quite yet, but with the Orioles playing the way they are, no surprise that eyes are turning towards the offseason and the future beyond that. Here’s a little tidbit from FanRag’s Jon Heyman: The Orioles don’t intend to trade Manny Machado this offseason.
For Orioles fans, this news inspires the same sort of reaction that you might get if there was a press conference announcing that a previously unknown asteroid will not obliterate life on Earth in two days time. That would absolutely be a good piece of news to receive, but since you weren’t sitting around worrying about the asteroid, the news that it’s not going to kill you won’t affect your plans for three days from now.
So it is with the idea of the Orioles trading Machado prior to the final season before he becomes a free agent. I never believed that the O’s would even consider it, especially after seeing how they approached the trade deadline this July. The Orioles are unwilling to give up on the right now, even when the right now is the worst starting rotation in MLB.
There’s a second part to Heyman’s writing on Machado that is much more panic-inducing. According to Heyman, the Orioles “haven’t yet decided” whether they will make a big effort to extend Machado before he becomes a free agent.
It is absurd that this is even a question that still needs to be answered, but there you have it. Let’s hope that the reluctance is not, as Heyman writes, that owner Peter Angelos hasn’t made the big commitment yet, because if the owner, at this point, still needs to be convinced of Machado’s value, then Orioles fans might as well start counting down the days until Machado is gone.
Angelos comes up a second time when Heyman mentions that during a prior attempt to have a contract extension discussed with Machado. At that time, supposedly, Angelos was “leery of Machado’s history of knee injuries.”
Though it seems like forever ago now, Machado’s 2013 and 2014 seasons were both ended by knee injuries. Some concern over that at the time would be reasonable. Machado then played all 162 games in 2015, 157 games last year, and barring something strange, will top 150 games this season. I will be an unhappy blogger if I hear anything about Angelos worrying about Machado’s knees this offseason.
This paragraph from Heyman doesn’t read like something that was scorched by medical concerns:
The Orioles are said by sources to have come “within $8 million or $9 million” of locking him up a couple years back, though one person familiar with those talks said the offer was for “well below $100 million,” and that person suggested he didn’t believe the sides were especially close to a deal. However, it seems Machado’s side might have made some sort of counteroffer to stay, or at least provided parameters, since sources are suggesting the gap ($8 million to $9 million) existed.
With the Orioles, who ever really knows?
It’s worth noting, though, that a previous time Heyman wrote about this rumored near-extension, he characterized it as a deal that was both “on the cusp of reality” and “all but done.” That was in June of last year when he wrote about a deal discussed some time within Machado’s first two seasons. So, that rumor was already two years old by the time Heyman ever wrote about it.
The above doesn’t sound like something that was ever all but done. Sources stories seem to have changed. Whatever the case, it’s going to cost a whole lot more to do a long deal with Machado now. Although it would be nice if this deal had happened and there was another year or two of Machado on the O’s, the fact would still remain that sooner or later, the O’s would have to pay up in a big way in order to keep Machado around.
The Machado question will be an important thing to figure out this offseason because if there’s not going to be a big Machado contract from the O’s, then the window is 2018 and they must approach next season as if this is the case.
Hopefully, that would involve some better signings and trades than the last couple of years worth of “win now” moves have brought them. Re-signing Chris Davis, Darren O’Day, and Mark Trumbo under the belief that at least they would still be around for the last years before Machado is a free agent hasn’t worked out.
There’s now about a year and six weeks until Machado can officially become a free agent. Hold on to your butts.