Evaluating The Trade Of Manny Machado To The Dodgers
Today is a bittersweet day for fans of the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s have traded the most talented player this organization has ever produced, Manny Machado, to the Los Angeles Dodgers. For many Orioles fans, it will never matter what the incoming players ever do at this level. They will only care that they didn’t get to see Manny play for the Orioles for several more seasons. Before looking at the package of players the Orioles received, let’s give some love to Machado.
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When Manny came up in 2012, he changed that team. He wasn’t a great offensive player yet but his defense was excellent, and that helped immensely down the stretch. Over the next several years, Manny was the best player on the team that won more games than any other AL team from 2012-2016. The Orioles went to the playoffs three times in that span and perhaps if Manny is healthy in 2014, the Orioles win the World Series. Manny suffered two major knee injuries but fought his way back both times and became an MVP candidate. He was the best defensive player I’ve personally ever seen.
Many say he was better than Brooks and I think that argument can be made for sure. I personally will always hold it against this organization that Machado wasn’t extended several years back. Even if you are still trading him now, you would have gotten a lot more and/or had more options to figure out what to do with him. The lack of vision by this team to not have got a deal done earlier in his career is astounding to me.
I will say that while I would give him the mega 300+M dollar deal, I am okay with the Orioles not doing that. I do have some issues with his lackluster play and immaturity at times and part of me does worry about him when he gets that kind of money. That being said, I will always root for Manny and I hope the Dodgers win the World Series this year. Machado will be missed. It’s not easy to replace MVP caliber players, no matter what sport it is.
All of that being said, this is also an exciting time for the Orioles. It may sound weird saying that, since they are approximately 379 games out of first place, but this outcome isn’t a bad one. There were only two good outcomes to this season…make the playoffs or be terrible. To me, reaching the playoffs would have been nice but this team couldn’t have competed with the other big four in the AL. For the long term good of this franchise, the outcome of this season is actually better, even if it is embarrassing right now. The first shoe to drop is this trade of Machado to the Dodgers for 5 prospects
I know some O’s fans are upset with this return. I, for one, was really hoping May would be in the deal or, at the very least, Gavin Lux or Will Smith. That being said, I don’t think the package was really that bad. Personally, I would have dealt Manny for Diaz over any rumored deals that were out there by any team.
This deal is headlined by Yusniel Diaz. Diaz was signed out of Cuba in 2015. He received a signing bonus of over 15 million. In 2018, Diaz has risen to a guy that will be on many Midseason Top 50 lists. Baseball Prospectus, for example, has him in the Top 35. He has a 905 OPS in AA this season. In 220 at bats, he has 39 Ks and 41 BBs. His OBP is 428 and he is hitting 314. This after he debuted and played in 31 games in AA last year. He had an 881 OPS in that small sample size. He has gotten better as he has moved up the ladder, which is always what you want to see. There are some questions about his long-term power but he is still just 21, so that can develop. His hit tool is very strong. Scouting reports also suggest he can play all 3 OF positions. He has a strong arm that will play well in any of the OF spots. He apparently has good speed but he has 24 steals and 30 caught stealings in the minors, so that speed doesn’t/hasn’t translated into stolen base success. He seems to be a top of the order guy. A contact hitter that will draw a walk, hit for a good average and get on base. The Orioles have lacked those types of players, so that is nice to see. If he can develop more power, the Orioles may have just gotten an elite talent. If not, they still may have secured an above average ML starter that has some AS upside. He is rated in the Top 5 of the Dodgers system by MLB.com. Kyle Glaser, from Baseball America, also recently commented that he has a good makeup.
The other four prospects aren’t as inspiring as some of the names many O’s fans were hoping to hear but that doesn’t mean there isn’t potential and value there. My favorite out of this group is Dean Kremer. Dean is 22 years old and has some impressive numbers in high A this year. In 86 IP, he has 125 Ks and only 29 walks. He also has given up just 7 homers. In fact, in 197.2 MiL innings, he has only given up 13 homers and has 256 Ks. He is a little old high A, so I would like to see the Orioles move him up to Bowie once he gets here but you have to really like the peripherals that he has to offer. You have to figure that he can be, at the very least, a potential solid reliever and we all know that relievers carry a lot of value nowadays. Kremer was a 14th round pick in 2016, so he will be under the radar for the moment but if he can keep putting up those numbers, he won’t be ignored much longer.
Rylan Bannon, Zac Lowther’s former teammate at Xavier, is another intriguing player in this trade. Like Kremer, he is a bit old for his league, having turned 22 during this season. He has a 961 OPS and that includes 43 extra base hits in 338 at bats. He also is walking at a high rate. The biggest issue I see is that he also has 103 Ks. That could become a problem as he moves up the ladder. Scouting reports suggest he has good range over at third but his arm is a question mark. He is only 5’10” and with the questionable arm, I wonder if second base is a potential for him down the road? For now, he’s another guy I would like to see moved up and see what he can do.
Zach Pop is a relief prospect that was drafted out of Kentucky last year. He is averaging over a strikeout per IP and has given up just 1 homer in his short minor league career. He has a very good walk rate and a GO:AO ratio of over 2:1. Pop is likely the guy who was causing some hang up with this deal, as he battled some injury issues in his college career. MLB Pipeline had him as a Top 100 prospect in the 2017 draft, so he has some upside. He has been clocked in the upper 90s. He is a reliever that could move fast through the system.
The last player, 26 y/o Breyvic Valera has some potential to be a utility player but not anything more than that.
Is this some great package? No. Would I trade the other 4 guys for Dustin May, Smith or Lux? Absolutely I would. However, this isn’t a package devoid of potential. Diaz is a legit prospect. As I said, I would take him over any package of players that was rumored to be coming here. Easily take him over Adonis Medina, for example. There are 2 or 3 other guys in this deal that could prove to be potential contributors to this team as well. All in all, I would give the O’s a solid B+ for this deal.
We have to keep in mind that it’s for 2 months of Manny and to nab a Top 40 guy and a few other guys with good upside is pretty good. It’s not as good as we hoped but it’s not something I think we should be hanging our collective heads about either.