For many fans of the Dodgers, the main focus Tuesday evening was trying to keep track of all the specifics of the impending Manny Machado trade with the Orioles. At the beginning of the evening, there seemed to be a decent chance the deal would go down, but by around 7:00 p.m. Pacific time, most of the reliable reports surfacing on Twitter indicated that the trade was imminent. All this while the MLB’s 89th All-Star Game trudged along on television sets in the background.
Although it’s not likely that the trade will not officially be announced until sometime Wednesday at the soonest, it is believed that Yusniel Diaz—he who took the minor league world by storm at the Futures Game on Sunday—is the centerpiece of the package that is headed to Baltimore. Rumors about the remainder of the Orioles’ haul vary anywhere from Dustin May to Yadier Alvarez to Gavin Lux to Alex Verdugo. There are also rumblings that the Dodgers could include a player from their active roster, most specifically infielder Logan Forsythe, to offset part of Machado’s salary so the team can stay below the 2018 luxury tax threshold.
In the same breath, several reporters suggested that the deal could linger for several days, as Baltimore is likely to be very meticulous with medical reports and player physicals for the players they will be welcoming. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic suggested this to be especially true after the complications involved in the deal with the Astros and lefty reliever Zach Britton last summer.
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.
The 26-year-old Machado, who is set to be a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, spoke to the media in the American League clubhouse just before Tuesday’s contest and said he had not been notified of any news from neither the Orioles or his agent.
“Nothing,” he said. “I haven’t heard anything. I’m just worried about the game today. Whatever happens moving forward will happen, and there will be a time and place for everything.”
Even Dodgers’ outfielder Matt Kemp, who is very close friends with Machado, told reporters before the game that Manny would have told him if the deal was firm.
However, by the time the sixth inning of the actual game rolled around, the trade was reported as being “in the bank,” as both sides were waiting for the smoke to settle from the game news, in addition to securing the medical records of all the involved parties.
In terms of the game itself, the National League squad made a valiant comeback when Christian Yelich homered in the eighth, followed by a two-run, ninth-inning blast to right by Scooter Gennett, tying the score and sending the game to extra innings. Nevertheless, Dodgers’ righty Ross Stripling got touched up for three runs in the top of the tenth after teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer both went yard, followed by a sacrifice fly off the bat of Michael Brantley.
Joey Votto led off the bottom of the tenth with a solo home-run which brought the NL to within two runs, but it wasn’t enough, as lefty J.A. Happ was able to record the final three outs and secure the 8-6 victory for the American League.
Kemp, who started in left field and hit fifth for the National League, ended up going 1-for-2 with a double. Moments after his extra-base hit, the 33-year-old veteran posed with Machado at second base while Manny snapped a photo of the pair.
Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen did not pitch in the contest.