The next era of the Orioles is officially under way. After an at times strange saga over the last month and particularly over the past few days of the All-Star break, the O’s and the Dodgers came together on a deal that will send Manny Machado to Los Angeles in exchange for five prospects. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report that the deal was finally done.
Rosenthal also reported on the five players the Orioles will receive: Outfielder Yusniel Diaz, righty starting pitcher Dean Kremer, third baseman Rylan Bannon, possible utility infielder Breyvic Valera, and righty reliever Zach Pop.
Diaz, 21, is unmistakably the headliner here on the day of the trade. The Dodgers gave him a $15.5 million signing bonus to sign him out of Cuba three years ago and paid a 100% tax on that bonus. He has made his way up to Double-A for this season, where he is batting .314/.428/.477 through 59 games.
In the last MLB Pipeline prospect rankings for the Dodgers system, Diaz was the #4 prospect in the system, and he was recently included in the top 100 prospects in the midseason rankings update by Baseball America.
It’s a long way down for the next prospect. Bannon, 22, is the next-best-rated prospect in this deal and he’s the 27th best in the system according to Pipeline. Earlier visions of top prospects galore coming back in this deal, including giant red-haired pitcher Dustin May and infielder Gavin Lux, did not come through.
Bannon was an eighth round pick last year out of Xavier. The Pipeline scouting report on him from before the season noted that he has to “prove the bat will play at higher levels.” Whether he has done that by the .296/.402/.559 batting line he’s posted for the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, I don’t know, but it’s better than looking and seeing the O’s got a guy who has sucked this year. Bannon has struck out 103 times this year, but also walked 59.
Kremer, 22, began the season at High-A and just recently got a promotion to Double-A. The Dodgers drafted him in the 14th round of the 2016 draft. Across two levels this year, Kremer posted a 3.03 ERA with 125 strikeouts and just 29 walks in 86 innings. That’s a lot of strikeouts! He was the #28 prospect in the Dodgers system in the spring update from Pipeline - they might end up in the bullpen.
Pop, 21, was not ranked, probably because he’s just a reliever. They drafted him in the seventh round last year and he’s split time this season between Low-A and High-A, with 47 strikeouts and 13 walks in 43.1 innings.
Valera is 26 and in my estimation barely worth mentioning. He was signed by the Cardinals all the way back in 2010 and has all of 45 MLB plate appearances to his name across two seasons. He has played chiefly second base in the minors, also logging time at third base and shortstop, and was batting .284/.350/.433 for the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate this year.
Whether you like it or not, those are the guys. The Manny Machado era is over and whatever comes next has begun. Feeling melancholy? Excited? Bittersweet? What do you think of the return? Let us know in the comments below.