The Orioles have four weeks until the non-waiver trade deadline to move Manny Machado and their other players who might have value to other teams. That they will trade Machado is a given. The only questions are when and what they might get back.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported a bit on the “when” in a Tuesday morning article. Rosenthal wrote that the Orioles “want to act sooner rather than later” on Machado, with the recognition that they ought to be able to extract more value for Machado if he’s able to play most of July with his new team, rather than if he’s only traded at the end of the month.
For any Orioles fan who wants to see the team be able to get as much future value as possible out of the trade, it’s an encouraging development. With the Orioles sitting 31.5 games out of first place, Machado can offer nothing that matters to the 2018 team, no matter how good he is for the rest of the month.
On the other hand, if trading Machado tomorrow rather than three weeks from now nets the Orioles more or better prospects, that’s something that could really matter to the future of the team.
Rosenthal’s report says that talks have “accelerated” in recent days. This is also encouraging, though it’s vague. A car that goes from a complete stop at a red light to 15 miles per hour has accelerated, but if the speed limit on the road is 45, the car still isn’t moving as fast as it needs to be moving.
The oft-discussed Orioles front office dysfunction may still be something that must be dealt with. Rosenthal raises the possibility that any team that reaches a tentative agreement with GM Dan Duquette may still also have to get into contact with VP of baseball operations Brady Anderson in order to seal a deal.
This makes no sense whatsoever, but the flood of stories over the last year makes it clear that the Orioles just don’t operate in a way that makes sense. Setting aside the significant question of whether Anderson would even have any idea what is or isn’t a good trade for Machado, there’s simply the matter of chain of command. It’s no wonder the O’s couldn’t trade Zach Britton or anyone else last July if every trade had to run past both Duquette and Anderson.
If talks are accelerating, perhaps the O’s playing the next couple of days in Philadelphia will allow for some face-to-face negotiating with the cadre of former Orioles executives who were in charge here when the O’s drafted Machado. The Phillies, along with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, have been previously reported as current aggressive trade partners.
I’ll believe that the Orioles are actually going to strike early when I see it happen. They simply do not do this. These are the same people who, over the offseason, hemmed and hawed for six weeks over whether to sign Ryan Flaherty, ultimately missing out on the chance to sign him. Now they’re going to trade Machado before the All-Star break? Sure, they could, but they probably won’t. And so value is being lost every day.