With the wheels having officially fallen off for the Baltimore Orioles, this franchise is showing signs of a rebuild that could take some time. For the past few years the O’s were a competitive team that saw them make three postseason appearances since 2012, while also claiming one American League East Title. But those days are gone, and as the Orioles have fallen by the wayside as far as being a contender, they missed a chance last year to trade All-Star infielder Manny Machado.
Machado is one of Major League Baseball’s finest talent, and at the age of 25, he is set to cash in when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this winter. Machado is a three-time All-Star who is always in the discussion of being the American League MVP due to his ability at the plate as a power hitter and run producer, as well as his wizardry on defense which has led to him winning a pair of Gold Gloves. And being that Machado is in the prime of his career, he should cash in big in free agency.
Instead of trading Machado last year, and getting back some prospects in return, the O’s have rolled the dice and are going to come up snake eyes. There is not a scenario where the Orioles are going to re-sign Machado which means that he is going to leave town and the only thing that they will receive in return will be an additional draft pick. But as Machado is set to hit the free agent market and cash in on a big deal, which team will be the best landing spot for him?
Don’t look now, but the rebuild of the Philadelphia Phillies is coming along at a very good pace. Three out of the last four years have seen the Phillies finish in the basement of the National League East, but at 35-31, they are in contention for a postseason berth this year. Phillies president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has shown that he isn’t afraid to spend money as he went out just prior to the start of this season and signed starting pitcher Jake Arrieta to a three-year, $75 million contract, and I expect them to at least put out a feeler about signing Machado.
A buzz is once again being created in Philadelphia for this team and signing Machado could be what the Phillies need to make them a serious contender once again in the National League as he could be the big bat to get them over the top.
Boston Red Sox
With a record of 48-22, the Boston Red Sox are well on their way to winning 100 games for the first time since 1946. But as the Red Sox have the look of once again being a World Series contender, don’t expect them to rest on their laurels. Red Sox owner John Henry has shown in the past that he isn’t afraid to spend money, and although that Boston has a good team, there is still room for them to be a juggernaut.
The Red Sox are very familiar with Machado as they see him 19 times a year in the American League East. Boston went out last off-season and signed outfielder J.D. Martinez who has been as good as advertised being that he is one of the top power hitters in A.L., and the combination of him with Machado could be lethal.
New York Yankees
The 2018 New York Yankees lineup has the look of the 1927 Yankees who were known as “Murderers Row”. And with that good luck to any pitcher that has to face the Yanks as he has to deal with the likes of catcher Gary Sanchez as well as outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees have a need a third base which Machado could fill, while also making Major League Baseball’s deepest lineup ever deeper. But Machado joining the Yankees would come down to whether or not that team co-owners Hank and Hal Steinbrenner would be willing to take on another big contract after they acquired Stanton last off-season from the Miami Marlins.
Los Angeles Angels
You cannot overlook the Los Angeles Angels in regards to having one of Major League Baseball’s deepest lineups, but they still have some flaws. Machado could fit in perfect for the Angels at third base, while also cushioning the blow of Los Angeles having to rely on a washed up Albert Pujols to protect the bat of outfielder Mike Trout in the lineup.
The Angels already have $116 million committed to player salaries for next season, but team owner Arte Moreno has always been known to put up the bread if he sees a player that he wants.
St. Louis Cardinals
It’s a long shot, but Machado joining the St. Louis Cardinals makes sense on several levels. Ever since the Cardinals lost Albert Pujols following their World Series Championship in 2011, they have been lacking a superstar in the lineup. The Cardinals went out this past off-season and they were able to acquire outfielder Marcell Ozuna from the Miami Marlins. Ozuna has been solid for the Cards as he is on pace for the third consecutive 20-homer campaign of his career, but he doesn’t put fear in opposing pitchers in the fashion that Machado can.
Machado going to St. Louis would come down to whether or not that the Cardinals would be willing to back up the Brinks truck in order to sign him, but it would be worth it. Last year with the Marlins, Ozuna blasted a career-high 37 homers as he enjoyed playing in the same lineup with Giancarlo Stanton. Ozuna could enjoy that same production if he were to play with Machado, while St. Louis would immediately go from being a mediocre team to being a contender.