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Machado In Pinstripes? A Worse Possible Outcome Exists

With the Yankees in Charm City this past weekend, the opportunity existed for the New York media to ask Orioles 3rd baseman Manny Machado about a possible future in the Big Apple.

Understandably, this potential outcome can make any O’s fan queasy. After all the young superstar is quite arguably the most talented player the Orioles organization has ever drafted and developed. Not yet even 25 years old (his birthday is July 6th), Machado is one of the games premier all-around players and still several years away what should be his prime. As this 2017 season dawns, he has emerged as one of the brightest faces.

Should he spend his career in Baltimore, it’s easy to imagine his #13 joining 4,5, 8, 20, 22, 33 (and 42) in the LF Upper Deck at OPACY. It’s easy to imagine a bronzed Machado statue existing out behind the bullpen. Frankly, unless there is a crippling, unexpected injury – it’s hard to imagine any future for Machado which does one not day include an induction at Cooperstown. He’s a Hall-of-Fame talent, and if he’s an Oriole for life, he will likely end his career regarded as the greatest O of them all.

Missing out on that, and seeing him become part of the Evil Empire? Yuck.  Watching him face the O’s 19 games a year as part of the Bronx Bombers? Brutal. Disgusting. Horrific.

The link above, is based on the hypothetical of Machado becoming a Free Agent after the 2018 season, and signing with the Yankees.

That – Machado playing out the ’18 season in an O’s uniform – and leaving as a FA for anywhere is the worst possible outcome in my opinion. Him possibly landing with the Yanks would just be the icing on that horrible cake.

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

There really are only a few alternatives of how things work out at this point.

Does Manny want to stay in Baltimore? Enough to forfeit the ability to hit the open market?
If the answers to those questions are yes, then it’s about the contract.

Are the O’s willing to offer Machado 5 to 10 years (whatever Manny wants of course) at $30 to $40M per year? Are the O’s willing to offer Machado the ability to opt-out (and maybe twice during the duration of the contract)? Is Machado willing to take deferred money?

If the answers to those questions are yes, then an extension is possible.
If the answers to those questions are no, then we are coming to the end of Machado in an O’s uniform.

I believe most Orioles fans think that Majority Owner Peter Angelos should be prepared to effectively offer a blank check.

If the O’s do what is necessary to retain Machado, I’m not going to complain. Like any other O’s fan, I’ll celebrate the extension and enjoy watching him obliterate the Orioles record books. You can give Machado the type of deal we have framed above, and build around him.

It’s the not the outcome I think makes the most sense though.

I’d love for Machado to be an Oriole for life. It would be more practical had the O’s pursued an extension with greater intensity earlier in his tenure. Had they used some foresight to realize he was only going to get more expensive. To realize that when they held years-and-years of team control with Machado, that was when they had some power to sway him into a deal which benefited both sides.

Effectively, that time has passed.

The O’s can still sign Machado, but it’s doubtful anything about such a deal will be regarded as ‘team-friendly.’ As we said above, I do think the Orioles could extend him to such a contract, and still build around him. By any measure though, it will be harder.

The most logical outcome in-my-opinion is trading Machado following this ’17 season (unless the wheels were to completely fall off before July, which I do not expect). If you look to trade him this coming off-season, you will get a huge return. Even with only a year of team control left, you have to believe numerous teams would bid with their best.

Adding 5 or so high-ceiling players under long-term team control, and having that would be $30-$40M in annual salary to play with? All things considered, that seems relatively attractive to me.

In any event, I acknowledge the obvious. No Oriole fan wants to fixate on Machado’s future just as this ’17 season begins. 

Overall, I’m pretty comfortable with where things go from here. The O’s can extend him, and that outcome could be great. The O’s could trade him, and that outcome could be great. 

The only outcome that should truly scare Oriole fans is Manny playing out the ’18 season, and leaving Baltimore for nothing.

We don’t have to think about that right now though. Right now I’m going to take the advice I would give to other O’s fans. I’m going to enjoy watching Manny here in 2017. I’m going to hope this season ends with him celebrating the franchises 1st World Championship since 1983, dog-piling with his teammates on the mound at OPACY.

Live in the present and enjoy this year O’s fans, the future will be what it is.

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Chris Stoner

Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, CBS 1300, Q1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. He has also been interviewed by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, and PressBox (TV). As Owner, his responsibilities include serving as the Managing Editor, Publicist, & Sales Director. You can reach him via email at Chris.Stoner@baltimoresportsandlife.com.

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