With Giancarlo Stanton having found a new home, Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado has suddenly become the crown jewel of the 2017 MLB Winter Meetings after his name was floated out on the trade market.
Stanton's new team, the New York Yankees, have expressed interest in acquiring the 25-year-old, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.
Of course, they have. The Yankees have made the most noise this offseason and general manager Brian Cashman is having the winter of his life as he somehow found a way to deal for Stanton while keeping his top prospects from the Miami Marlins.
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Somehow acquiring Machado would not only put the cherry on top of Cashman's masterful offseason, but it could possibly create the most imposing lineup Major League Baseball has ever seen.
That's not an over-exaggeration either.
While the thought of the three-time All-Star in pinstripes will make any Yankees fan giddy like a schoolchild, there are a series of circumstances that are going to make a trade for Machado extremely unlikely.
Sorry to rain on your parade:
1. Free agency
Machado is under team control until the end of the 2018 season as he'll have to go through a third year of arbitration this winter. Unless it was all but guaranteed that he would re-sign with the Yankees once he becomes an unrestricted free agent, Cashman and Co. would obviously be extremely wary of sending away any sort of significant talent for something that could be a one-year rental.
2. The asking price
While this is a team that is still capable of flashing the cash, as they did by taking on the rest of Stanton's contract, the Yankees have made its young talent a priority. This is nothing new though, seeing as the young talent they held on to is now flourishing at the major-league level in the form of Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez.
With more top prospects poised to make the big club in 2018 in the likes of infielders Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, the Orioles would likely pursue at least one of those names in exchange for Machado. Baltimore's farm system is rated among the worst in the majors, with just two prospects rated in the league's top-100. Neither of them is within the top 40. Giving up either Torres or Andujar is quite a large price for one year of control.
3. The future contract
Even if the Yankees somehow find a way to snag Machado from the Orioles, — and let's not get into specifics of whether it involves a top prospect or not — the prospect of re-signing him is quite an imposing feat. This is a player that is not even entering the prime of his career, has averaged 35 home runs and 92 RBI over the last three seasons, won a pair of Gold Glove Awards and has finished in the top 10 of the American League MVP voting three times.
When he hits free agency, his contract could be nearing or even top Stanton status, which would be over or near the $325 million mark.
Even his last season under team control in 2018 could see him make around $20 million depending on his arbitration hearing. After Stanton's acquisition, the Yankees have around $22 million to spend before hitting their luxury tax threshold of $197 million. For a team that is also in the market for an upgrade at starting pitching, it just can't happen.
4. These two teams just don't hook up
Put the numbers and the prospects aside for a moment and just ask yourself, why would the Orioles actually want to deal their best player to a division rival? It's bad enough they have to face the harsh reality of losing their star, but to deliver him to the American League East favorites and let him rip you apart for possibly the foreseeable future while you wallow in third or fourth every year? That's madness.
Over the past 25 years, the Yankees and Orioles have completed just six transactions with no formidable talent actually swapping hands. Unless you consider either Steve Pearce or Jaret Wright big-time names.