To Replace Manny Machado the Orioles Need to Trade for Adrian Beltre

Wouldn't this pose look great in an Orioles uniform?

Wouldn’t this pose look great in an Orioles uniform?

The Baltimore Orioles continue to take blow after blow when it comes to injured young stars. The Orioles have already lost Matt Wieters for the season, a major loss on both sides of the ball, and now they have lost Manny Machado, another two-way contributor.

(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)

We all know about Manny Machado’s glove. It’s made of gold. But Manny Machado was having a fine offensive season posting a 109 wRC+, 111 OPS+, and the best OBP of his young career.

And that home run power was starting to show as he had 12 of them in 327 at-bats after hitting 14 in a league-leading 667 at-bats last season.

After an 0-19 skid from 6/6 to 6/11, Manny Machad0 hit .328/.365/.522 with a 147 wRC+ with eight of his 12 home runs over those final 45 games. And after returning from his suspension on 7/5, Manny Machado hit .351/.385/.544 with a 159 wRC+. Simply put, there is no way to replace Manny Machado’s offense and defense internally.

Chris Davis is not really option. His bat has been dreadful this year and his glove is not adequate at third base, evidence by the -12.7 UZR in 655.2 career innings at the hot corner.

The good news is that Texas Rangers All-Star third basemen Adrian Beltre has cleared waivers and could be traded for. And, since the Rangers own the worst record in the American League, they can trade with anyone as they own the first waiver claim.

The Texas Rangers have top prospect Joey Gallo and his 80-grade power waiting to take over third base duties for the next six seasons and they could be eager to move Beltre and the money he is owed.

Adrian Beltre will not come cheaply, though. The cost might be Dylan Bundy plus. But the Orioles, whose window of opportunity is right now, should consider seriously trading for Adrian Beltre, not just because he helps them this season but also because he will be a part of their contending team next season, too.

Adrian Beltre has hit .315 or better in three straight season and four out of the last five seasons with a .296 season mixed in. Yeah, not bad. Over those five seasons he has not posted a wRC+ below 135 and played 154 or more games three times with 2014 looking to be the fourth time in five years he passes the 150 game mark.

Adrian Beltre’s lowest fWAR total in the last five seasons is his current 4.3 mark, which is All-Star level if his season ended now, and he will likely eclipse the 5-WAR mark this year for the fifth straight season. Over the last five seasons only Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, and Andrew McCutchen have compiled a higher fWAR total than Adrain Beltre. That’s it.

Adding Adrian Beltre ensures that the infield defense maintains its reputation and it adds a bat that has a .361 OBP and 138 wRC+ over the last five season.

The best part about trading for Adrian Beltre is that the Orioles would get him for not just the remainder of this season but for 2015 at a very reasonable $18M as well and there is a vesting option for 2016 at $16M.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy is set to be a free agent at year’s end and Manny Machado could move back to his original position with future hall-of-famer Adrian Beltre manning third base and future best-second-baseman-in-Orioles-history Jonathan Schoop locking down second base.

Yes, Adrian Beltre will be 36 next season, but Oliver projects Adrian Beltre to hit .300/.358/.482 next season with good defense. An easy 4-WAR player that will be very affordable as the Orioles only have about $33M on the books for next season before arbitration hearings.

I get the love for what Dylan Bundy could be. He’s a legitimate top pitching prospect with about six years of control. But what he could be and what Adrian Beltre already is are two different things and there is no time like the present.

Trading for Adrian Beltre comes at a cost, a likely steep cost,  but you know what you will get in Adrian Beltre and it’s one of the best overall players in the game and he is not just a two-month rental.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing at The Florida Post and you can follow him on twitter: @FigureFilbert

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About the author


Jonathan Mitchell   

Jonathan C. Mitchell is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Florida Post and has had articles featured on ESPN and FanGraphs, among others. He is a former contributor to DRaysBay and Marlins Daily (formerly part of ESPN's SweetSpot Network) and currently resides in Tampa with his beautiful wife and daughter. In his spare time you are likely to catch him at a local coffee roaster talking about sports, espresso, or single-origin coffees.


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9 Responses to To Replace Manny Machado the Orioles Need to Trade for Adrian Beltre

  1. Doug says:

    Well thought out. Agree with your conclusion. Other option is to keep Hardy, trade Manny due to questions whether his knees will be able to handle the rigors of shortstop. Bundy is a question mark. His performances this year were OK, but the strikeouts and velocity are significantly down. He is a question moving forward. I’d prefer Beltre while we still have Nick and Adam.

    • Jonathan Mitchell says:

      Thanks!

      I think adding Beltre to the current group is a huge upgrade and leaves them wanting little going into free agency this offsesason.

  2. Matt says:

    Further, it’s possible that Beltre costs no more in ’15/’16 than Hardy will. Jhonny Peralta’s bWAR in his three years leading into free-agency (at age 31) were 3.7/1.1/3.3. And after serving a PED-related suspension, he got 4/$53m. Hardy will be a FA at the same age, and his four bWARs leading into free-agency will be 4.1/3.2/3.9/3.5. Hardy will get a contract ranging somewhere from 4/$60Mto something as high as 5/$85M.

    If it’s the high end of that range, then Hardy’s ’15-’16 cost is the same as Beltre, without committing to ’17 and ’18.

    Bundy for Beltre makes perfect sense both for this year and for the next two.

  3. Elliot F says:

    I tweeted the same thing last night, and have been discussing it with friends on FB.
    The O’s can even throw Davis in as an insurance policy for Fielder for next year. He’s got one arb year left, and the O’s aren’t going to keep both Davis and Wieters.
    Got to say, though, an infield of Machado, Beltre, and Schoop would be historically good defensively and outstanding offensively.
    As for first base, keep Pearce and maybe find a righty-masher as a platoon player in case Steve regresses to his historical performances vs. RHP. A Wilson Betemit type. Or a Chris-Davis-except-the-first-half-of-2013 type.

  4. Derek says:

    I agree with the sentiments of the article, as I would be ecstatic to see Beltre come to Baltimore, but I’m not with you on the conclusion. I agree, Bundy hasn’t had the year we would have liked to see and Beltre is extremely consistent. However, taking on a 35-year old’s contract is still a gamble to some degree regardless of past performance, and we’ve seen some really dynamite stuff from Bundy in the past. Bundy, like Gausman, has the potential to be an ace-like starter, and I don’t think a down year immediately following TJ surgery is enough to go by to be okay with trading him.

    I’d rather see the O’s examine other options for trading (though not much comes readily to mind), but if the question is between trading Bundy for Beltre or not getting Beltre, I’d rather stick with what we have, no matter how badly I’d like to see him in the hot corner. I’m not with the thinking of sacrificing years of the future for one big run now.

  5. O's fan in Cincy says:

    There’s much to be said in favor of your proposal, but a potential problem with it is a point raised by Jim Duquette on The Fan. When Machado returns, it remains to be seen whether he’ll ever play short again or whether it would be prudent to move him back there, given him having major surgery on both knees in consecutive years (and he also had a lesser injury on one of them in the minors).

    Certainly, that’s at least a question mark, and if the Orioles are thinking the same way Duquette is, then what are they going to do with two All-Star third basemen, let Hardy go and move Beltre to short? He’s only played seven games there in his career (none in the minors), so that won’t work. Move Schoop to short and Beltre to second? Unfortunately, he’s only played one game there, both in the majors and minors.

    Maybe the O’s would have no qualms moving him to short and take their chances. I think it’s a receipe for disaster, if that’s the mindset in the warehouse, then full speed ahead to make that trade.

  6. Doug says:

    To o’s fan in cincy.

    I don’t think anyone is suggesting Beltre ever move to SS. If he would be traded for it would either be for Manny, and then they’d look to resign Hardy for 2015, OR they keep Manny move him to SS, and then don’t resign Hardy. In the latter scenario it would most likely cost Bundy.

  7. DT in NC says:

    I have had a few ideas of what to do with the MASN $25-40 million that Angelos may NOT have to pay the Nationals. With this money available, Beltre is the perfect solution for so many problems. For this year, we adjust to injuries as a proper contender should do. How many chances come along to win the WS? What if another injury happens in September? Beltre only makes sense.
    For next season, he can start at third if Manny can’t make opening day. But if Manny is ready, Beltre is the insurance, or even upgrade for 1. Chris Davis not returning on fire, and Beltre switches to first base, a natural move at his age, and/or 2. Nelson Cruz leaving to FA market. 3. If we lose Hardy, Beltre stays at third and Manny moves to short, 4. We are in a tight race and need another starting pitcher from the National League, Beltre could be late season trade bait. Texas would already have his salary for next year available, maybe we could get him for cash, eg extra $10 million.

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