The Orioles have 22 days left to trade Manny Machado before the non-waiver trade deadline and that’s a lot of time for things to get weird. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal brought some of that to the table on Monday night when he reported that the Yankees have been showing “increased interest” in potentially trading for Machado.
My first reaction to hearing this rumor was, “What? Why?” Rosenthal speculates that the idea of trading Machado might appeal to the Yankees because, although the team’s greatest need may be starting pitching, there isn’t necessarily going to be a good one available.
So they might - if they follow Rosenthal’s thinking - see some interest in just getting the best player they can to add to the team. As a further bonus, the right-handed Machado could be an extra counter in their lineup to the left-handed-heavy Boston Red Sox rotation as the Yankees try to pass the Red Sox over the last two and a half months of the season.
The Yankees came up in connection with Machado over the offseason, when there was some hand-wringing about whether or not the Orioles brain trust would be willing to do something bold and deal Machado to a division rival. This made a bit more sense to the Yankees before they knew that they were going to get fine performance from rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar, who has batted .276/.305/.498 in the 2018 campaign.
Machado’s a boost over Andujar, especially back at third base, but would the Yankees want to trade out of their stash of prospects or young major leaguers in order to make such a deal happen? If they were, would the O’s be willing to ship Machado up to New York when push came to shove?
Although other reports from the last few days have suggested the possibility of a deal this week, Rosenthal says that “no deal appears close,” with anything not likely to come together until after the All-Star Game. Whether that’s because the O’s have some weird hang-up about trading Machado before the game - to the Yankees or wherever - is not clear.
The idea of Machado playing for the Yankees is not a fun one for O’s fans, but that could happen after this offseason regardless. Might as well pluck some of the Yankees farm system for the O’s benefit, setting up the O’s better for the future while depleting the Yankees stock of players in the minors.
If the Yankees are serious in their interest and if that drives up the price for the National League teams who have been said to be interested up until now, that’s a plus for the Orioles as well. Stay tuned. Things could get weird.