As the calendar draws nearer to Major League Baseball's July 31 trade deadline, the more rumors and speculation swirl around Baltimore Orioles star shortstop Manny Machado.
With his team going nowhere —the Orioles are tied for the worst record in baseball with the Kansas City Royals — and free agency looming this winter, the 26-year-old's time in Baltimore is all but up this summer. It is unlikely that he would re-sign with the struggling O's, making it imperative for the team to get something in return for him.
Understandably so, Machado is the marquee man on the trade market this summer considering he is one of the best infielders in the game. The two-time Gold Glove winner was recently named to his fourth All-Star Game as he's batting .309 with 21 home runs and 60 RBI in his first 90 games this season. He is on pace to set career highs in all three of those offensive categories.
With the clock ticking on Machado's future and the ball seemingly in Baltimore's court, it appears as though three teams have become the frontrunners for the shortstop's services at least for the rest of the season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers could use a considerable upgrade at shortstop seeing as they've gotten little production out of Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez this season. In a wide-open NL West, they sit just a half-game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for the top spot in the division.
Adding a huge bat like Machado's would immediately make Los Angeles the favorites to win the division for a sixth-consecutive year.
It could come down to the availability of the Dodgers' top-two prospects Alex Verdugo and Keibert Ruiz along with No. 8 youngster Yadier Alvarez. While it is not known as of yet if any combination of the three promising talents has been offered, it would be a lot to give up for three months of Machado before he hits free agency.
Baltimore could be attempting to persuade the Dodgers by sweetening the pot as Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reported that the Orioles have also discussed moving All-Star closer Zach Britton.
Across the country, as expected, the Yankees are also in on the Machado sweepstakes as Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported Monday night that the Bronx Bombers have "increased interest."
They have the youngsters to get a deal done with the likes of Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield and Miguel Andujar. It would be safe to assume that Gleyber Torres would be off the table.
Machado would add even more to a New York lineup that has an embarrassment of riches in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees offense is already No. 2 in the league behind the Boston Red Sox.
The problem is that they might not have anywhere to put him. Didi Gregorius is coming off a 2017 season in which he set a Yankees franchise record for most home runs by a shortstop. While he's fought through a dreadful slump, he still has 15 home runs this year.
Even if the Yankees send Andujar to Baltimore, Machado has made it known that he does not want to move back to third base.
That puts the team in quite a pickle with Gregorius as they would probably ask him to move to third.
But the Yankees could lose out on the dark-horse Brewers that are coming on very strong lately.
Fox Sports' Jon Morosi reports that Milwaukee is one of the most aggressive suitors for Machado and have the pieces to immediately help Baltimore.
With one of the worst pitching staffs in the league, the Brewers could offer Corbin Burnes or Luis Ortiz and an experienced Major Leaguer to provide an immediate contributor to the Orioles' slumping side. Morosi noted that the Brewers' depth has made Keon Broxton, Domingo Santana and Orlando Arcia expendable.