With free agency looming after the 2018 season, the Baltimore Orioles have put star third baseman Manny Machado on the trade market and are reaching out to interested parties, asking them to make offers for the 25-year-old, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
It’s unlikely that Machado will re-sign with Baltimore when the team’s control over him expires, which is why he has become available. However, it’s still shocking to see considering this is one of the best third basemen in baseball. Over the past three seasons, he is averaging 35 home runs and 92 RBI while continuing to show his defensive prowess in the field.
In return, the Orioles are looking to get a pair of young pitchers. However, one year of team control for whoever trades for Machado could knock down the asking price to just one arm.
It has also become known that Machado wants to move from third base to shortstop.
Enter the New York Mets… or at least this should be their cue to enter.
Just as much as they need a healthy pitching rotation, the Mets need another big bat to support Yoenis Cespedes, who also proved last year that he has problems staying healthy.
Last season saw the Mets average 4.54 runs per game, which came in below the league average and put further pressure on a depleted pitching staff.
They also need help on the left side of the infield. With David Wright’s career in jeopardy due to a slew of debilitating injuries, Asdrubal Cabrera, normally a shortstop turned second and third baseman, is slated to take over the hot corner while second base remains a question mark.
Wilmer Flores is the leading candidate for the position, but he is not an everyday player. Ideally, he should be used as a utility infielder that can eat up left-handers.
The one position that seems set is shortstop, Machado’s desired spot, as top prospect Amed Rosario is poised to start his first full MLB season with the big club.
That obviously throws a wrench into those pipe dreams, right? Not so fast.
New York might have the arms Baltimore could be interested in. If I’m general manager Sandy Alderson, I put every arm but Noah Syndergaard and Jacob de Grom on the table and say, “take your pick.”
The Orioles have already been linked to Matt Harvey, but it would obviously take much more than that to attain a talent like Machado. So the Mets would have to part with additional assets in order to do so. It just can’t be too much because they would be gambling on the fact that Machado would actually want to stay in Queens after becoming a free agent next winter.
A competitive team in New York could sway Machado into staying, even if it meant he’d have to remain at third base. This city contracted Mets fever in 2015 on their way to the National League pennant.
Machado’s addition to the Mets lineup immediately makes them a contender at least in the NL East. Depending on the health of their pitching and Cespedes, that contention status could be aimed at higher objectives.
For a player that has appeared in just seven postseason games, the prospect of making regular playoff appearances could coax him into staying.
And if it comes down to him playing shortstop, the Mets could attempt to move Rosario to second considering that the youngster is not the most sterling fielder at the position. Using his stats from his short MLB debut in 2017, Rosario has a 162-game average of committing 21.6 errors, which would have been second-most in the majors among shortstops last year.
Granted, this all comes down to Alderson and ownership’s willingness to make a splash, which historically, they don’t necessarily like to do. So Mets fans will most likely be relegated to dreaming “what if” instead of seeing a big-market franchise act like one.