Rumors have been swirling and gaining strength all throughout the week. It even seemed early today that the trade was not going to happen. Tonight, though, the rumors became official news—Manny Machado is now a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Long criticized by talking heads for not giving up prospects for the big-name player that’s on the market, the Dodgers and Andrew Friedman may have finally put that narrative to rest. Included in the trade were OF Yusniel Diaz, SP Dean Kremer, RP Zach Pop, 3B Rylan Bannon, and INF Breyvic Valera.
Dennis recently wrote about Diaz, no doubt the centerpiece player of the deal:
“As far as Diaz goes, he definitely has five-tool potential. He is currently ranked among the Top 10 prospects in the Dodgers’ system by all the large outlets. Now a 21-year-old, Diaz was originally signed by Los Angeles as a 19-year-old free agent out of Cuba late in 2015. Last year, after dealing with an early injury bug, he went on to hit .292/.354/.433 with 11 long balls and 52 RBI in 114 combined games for High-A Rancho and Double-A Tulsa. This season, he’s slashing .314/.428/.477 with six homers and 30 RBI through 59 games. Diaz has the quickness to handle center field with ease, but his pure athleticism gives him the capability of succeeding at all three outfield spots. Additionally, both his arm strength and his speed on the basepaths grade way above average. And his emerging power with the bat has made him a much sought after commodity in this summer’s trade market among rival sellers.”
Breyvic Valera is a 26-year-old utility extraordinaire who has been up with the Dodgers several times this season. His inclusion in the deal makes a space for Machado on the 40-man roster.
Bannon was ranked No. 27 on the Dodgers prospects chart. The third baseman has been named the Cal League player of the week twice this season and was leading the Cal League in home runs.
The No. 28 prospect in the system, Dean Kramer, is a right-handed starting pitcher who recently was promoted to the Double-A Tulsa and has a whopping 125 strikeouts over an even 79 innings with both the Drillers and Rancho Cucamonga this season.
Zach Pop, while not in the Top 30 prospects at the moment, still looks to have a bright future.
Dennis wrote about Pop on June 30:
“In the Dodgers system, Pop started the 2018 season at Low-A Great Lakes where he posted a 2.19 ERA in 16 innings thrown over 11 appearances. He struck out 26 batters during that time which earned him a quick promotion to Rancho. So far with the Quakes, he has tallied a phenomenal 0.41 ERA and a 0.73 WHIP with five saves and 19 punchouts over 15 appearances.”
Machado has spent his entire career in Baltimore, and sports a lifetime .283/.355/.487/.822 slash line with 162 homers. This season he is having a career year, batting .315/.387/.575/.963 with 24 home runs, 21 doubles and eight stolen bases, and a 2.9 WAR. The 6’3″ righty also is striking out less and walking more than his career averages.”
Machado joins a team that has been rotating players at shortstop since the Dodgers own Corey Seager went out earlier in the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. In that context, Machado is a perfect fit for the team—a great player to fill in for the time being, wanting to showcase his skills heading into free agency and maybe getting an opportunity to play for a ring along the way.
Acquiring Machado gives the Dodgers more versatility with their other players and more chances to rest them down the stretch. Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor, who had been platooning at short, would most likely see more time at second. Max Muncy could slide to first, and Cody Bellinger would anchor the outfield in center. It also guards against possible regression in play by Matt Kemp and/or Muncy. It also protects against any injuries that might be incurred between now and the playoffs. (Knock on wood). Additionally, the trade steps up everyone’s games because if you want playing time, you have to make your time on the field count.
Before the trade, the Dodgers had $6m to $10m room under luxury tax threshold (depending on bonuses and accounting). Manny Machado takes up $6.3m of that. No cash is going from the Orioles to the Dodgers. Los Angeles is still projected to be under luxury-tax $197M threshold, even though the Dodgers are in need of bullpen help. There are definitely more moves to be made, but by the Dodgers going all in on one of the biggest names on the market this early, it is clear they are getting the team ready for a very deep playoff run.