There are 18 days left for the Orioles to trade Manny Machado. That’s a lot of time left for twists and turns in the saga. The Friday rumor mill brought word that one Machado suitor, the Phillies, have upped their offer. However, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees and Dodgers have still made the best offers to date.
Whatever the Phillies put in their new offer, it seems to have gotten the Orioles attention, as Rosenthal also reported on Friday afternoon that the O’s have increased their efforts to scout the Phillies minor league system. That’s something that matters because the O’s need to have a good idea of who is a good player to try to acquire.
Much like you can’t show up for a college course for the final exam without having attended lectures and expect to pass, you can’t just start scouting teams the day before a big trade and expect to have any idea what is what. Hopefully, the efforts of O’s scouts fanning out across the minor leagues will pay off.
One player who’s not in the Phillies offer is apparently their top prospect, Sixto Sanchez, a 19-year-old righty who was pitching well in High-A this season before landing on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. Sanchez, the #23 prospect in the game according to MLB Pipeline, now hasn’t pitched in over a month. The Phillies are keeping him.
A name Rosenthal mentioned as being on the Orioles radar is the Phillies #2 pitching prospect, Adonis Medina, who is the #74 prospect on the Pipeline ranking. He said that the Phillies are willing to trade from their starting pitching depth all through their minors. Medina, 21, has a high ERA in High-A but is working with good strikeout and walk rates. Medina bumped up his prospect stock after striking out 133 batters in 119.2 innings with Low-A last season.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman also reported on the Phillies and O’s, describing “some progress in Manny talks.” Heyman is not the only baseball writer to note that the Phillies front office is heavily stocked with former Orioles executives who were with the O’s when Machado was drafted here in Baltimore.
From the Philadelphia side, NBC Sports Philly’s Jim Salisbury reported on Friday that the Phillies have been “aggressive” about Machado lately and are also seeking to potentially get Zach Britton in the same trade. That would make for quite the blockbuster.
Salisbury noted several prospects who could be on the Orioles wish list in addition to Medina: Pitchers Franklin Kilome and Ranger Suarez, infielder Arquimedes Gamboa, and outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz. He adds that a couple of big league Phillies, 25-year-old third baseman Maikel Franco and 27-year-old outfielder Aaron Altherr, could also find their way into a trade in some way.
Teams offering more for Machado now that a bidding war has begun is encouraging to hear. You don’t have to look very far to find cold water being thrown on the idea of a swift resolution, though. Here’s ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick sounding a familiar tune:
The overwhelming sentiment is that Baltimore will move Manny by the deadline. But does it matter who's leading on July 13 if the #Orioles don't move him for another two weeks? The O's have done nothing to this point to dispel their reputation as very methodical deal-makers.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 13, 2018
This lede from Yahoo’s Jeff Passan does not inspire confidence in the O’s front office being able to avoid dysfunction, either:
At times, executives involved in the Manny Machado sweepstakes say, they get the impression that the Baltimore Orioles are ready to make a deal, to ship out the best player on baseball’s trade market soon. And then time ticks by, silence fills the air and the next conversation is an exercise in break-pumping, to the point where the executives wonder if the Orioles want to trade Machado at all. ... As the All-Star break approaches and teams jockey to move to the front of the Machado queue, what was expected to play out – the Orioles’ notoriously finicky ways slowing the process to a grind – is hewing to form, multiple executives discussing a Machado deal with Baltimore told Yahoo Sports.
It is not a new notion among the baseball press that there is something screwed up in the O’s decision structure. We can only hope that none of this dysfunction rears its ugly head and screws up the Orioles getting a promising trade return for their few tradeable assets, especially the most valuable one, Machado.
If things start to drag out, it’s not necessarily a sign that there is some kind of crazy Angelos involvement. Maybe Dan Duquette wants to see if he can shake out some better offers. Many teams could use Machado and they’re going to have to pay a price to get him right now.
Eventually, though, if the offers don’t improve, the O’s will have to decide which of the existing offers they like the best and make a decision. They don’t want to wait so long that teams get frustrated and turn their eyes to other infielders, like Royals Whit Merrifield or Mike Moustakas, among others.