Cleveland Makes too Much Sense for Manny Machado
The Baltimore Orioles enter play on Wednesday with a record of 19-47. Every other team in baseball has at least 20 wins. No other team has fewer than 22 (Kansas City) and only six teams have 40-plus.
The long and short of it is that the Orioles are going nowhere fast, and it’s time to part this thing out.
(Discuss this on the BSL boards here!)
The worst-kept secret in the game is that they have to move Manny Machado, and my theory is that the sooner they do it, the better. Not only does moving Machado early give the Orioles leverage from the standpoint of how much value he’ll provide to the acquiring team — thereby driving up the price — but they can also help set the market rather than reacting to it as we get closer to July 31.
In a way, that’s beneficial to the Orioles two-fold.
Setting a strong market only benefits the Orioles because they’ll also be moving on from at least a few more players, like Brad Brach, Darren O’Day and Zach Britton, health-willing. They shouldn’t stop there, either; tear it down to the studs.
Anyway, a top-down teardown makes the most sense. Put up the for sale sign and open up the phone lines.
Also, I think moving Machado sooner rather than later decreases the chances that this becomes the summer of his discontent, where he demands a trade because Baltimore is playing so poorly and as a result sabotages the potential return.
This might be an unpopular take, but I think Cleveland is the perfect place to send him.
Cleveland’s window is beginning to close. Their bullpen is terrible — and that’s where the Orioles can push to expand the deal here, too with Brach/O’Day/Britton — and Andrew Miller is slated to hit free agency after this year. As an aside, it couldn’t be at a worse time for him, since he’s battled injuries all season.
Anyway, it’s not just Miller. Cody Allen is a free agent at the end of the year. So is Zach McAllister, who hasn’t been great this season but has been one of the team’s most steady performers in the bullpen in recent years. On the offensive side, Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall are both headed for the open market.
That’s a lot of money off the books, and while that can mean the Indians can get creative — especially with studs like Jose Ramirez and Corey Kluber signed to very, very team-friendly deals — it also means they may have to retool a bit in the upcoming years.
Pushing all their chips in the middle to win the World Series this year makes a lot of sense.
So my theory is that the Orioles should engage the Indians on these fronts:
– Machado can play third base for you, and Ramirez can move to second.
– We have relievers we can trade you.
– We are willing to take back Jason Kipnis’ salary to increase the return on the deal.
The primary caveat has to be this — Francisco Mejia is included in the deal.
Now I know what you’re saying….what about Chance Sisco? I hear that, but in a deal like this, you can’t let that get in the way when maximizing a return. One of these guys can play first base — or even third, in the case of Mejia — as each have had questions about their defense in their young careers.
Anyway, from there it’s about piecing together the correct parts of the trade. One guy I’d focus on is Greg Allen, a good defensive outfielder who ranks No. 9 on Cleveland’s top-30 prospects list on MLB.com. Not only is he MLB ready and cheap, but he’s the natural replacement in center field for Adam Jones, who is a free agent at the end of the season. Allen can really, really run, and could be a fit at leadoff if some of his on-base skills from the minors translate.
Pitching is also going to be important to get back. Do the O’s want to take a crack at Danny Salazar as a lottery ticket? It’s unclear if Cleveland has any inclination to make a move there — he hasn’t pitched yet this season — but it’s no big deal either way. The Indians have enough depth in their farm system to facilitate a move either way if the Orioles like Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie or someone lower on the list like Aaron Civale.
So here’s the general framework I’m thinking of, as the Indians push their chips into the middle for another run here:
– O’Day / Brach / Britton (Pick one)
– Bieber / Salazar / McKenzie
That’s a solid jump start to the rebuild. Thoughts?