To Machado, or not Machado—that is the question. ‘Tis whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer through giving up prospects for a rental…..
Ok, I’ll stop with the bad re-write of Shakespeare. Since the Dodgers‘ All-Star shortstop Corey Seager underwent Tommy John surgery in April and is out for the season, talks have swirled that the Dodgers would be in on trading for Baltimore Orioles’ shortstop Manny Machado before the non-waiver trade deadline. Just named to the All-Star game, Machado is on a one-year, $16 million contract for which the Dodgers would have to assume the remainder. Seeing as the Dodgers have long made it known that they are doing everything possible to stay under $197 million for luxury tax purposes, they would have to do just a bit finagling with the rest of the roster to stay within those confines.
Setting that issue aside, what would Machado bring to the Dodgers? He plays both third base and shortstop, is a four-time All-Star, two time Gold Glove and one time Platinum Glove winner. So far this season, he’s slashing .310/.380/.557/.936 with 21 homers. His defense is lacking this season, but it’s on par with Kiké Hernandez and a little better than Chris Taylor.
Inserting Machado in the lineup and on the field would lead to some shuffling of both. If you place Machado at short, then Taylor could move to second, Max Muncy to first, and Bellinger could then anchor the outfield. Acquiring a caliber bat like Machado’s allows for more versatility in the lineup, more resting of players through the long summer days, and hedge against either Matt Kemp or Muncy coming back down to earth, or God forbid another injury.
Even though the Dodgers are now losing Yasiel Puig to the disabled list for a yet-determined amount of time, moving Bellinger out there for more playing time means you have an overflow of outfielders. And if you now have a full time shortstop, it leads to then having four second basemen, in Hernandez, Taylor, Logan Forsythe and Chase Utley. Presumably, someone is going to be moved to make room for Machado. I’ve seen rumors of Joc Pederson. As much as I love him, I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be Forsythe.
There are varying rumors that the Dodgers have offered their number one and number eight prospects in Alex Verdugo and Yadier Alvarez, and that they have made an offer but neither of those prospects were included. It’s hard to know what is truth and what is speculation. It seems that both those guys should get the job done, but the Orioles front office has been known to turn down what seems an like obvious trade. Of course, the Dodgers are not the only team keen on Machado—many NL teams are in on him too, including rivals Arizona Diamondbacks.
But the fact remains that the most pressing need for these Dodgers is help for the bullpen. Machado would be a luxury, and not at the expense of a bolstered bullpen. The pitching is what let them down last year in the World Series, and I think every effort should be made to not let that happen again.
In another one of my highly scientific Twitter polls, only half the fan base thinks it would be a good idea for the Dodgers to trade for Machado. Most replied that they would much rather get bullpen help, and that if Verdugo and Alvarez are indeed included in the trade, they are too much to give up for a rental.
Making a splash and acquiring one of the biggest names on the trade market doesn’t really seem like the Dodgers front office MO. They are keen on keeping the team good for a very long time, and not much into sacrificing good prospects. But the sting of last season is still on us. Part of getting Machado would be not letting another NL contender get him. These last few weeks will be interesting to watch play out, but when it comes down to it, I don’t think Machado will be a Dodger on August 1.