LOS ANGELES -- Although there's radio silence from the Dodgers, multiple reports Tuesday indicated that Los Angeles is close to an acquisition of Orioles superstar shortstop Manny Machado. Whom the Orioles would receive in return is not clear at this point, although one possible name that surfaced on Tuesday was
LOS ANGELES -- Although there's radio silence from the Dodgers, multiple reports Tuesday indicated that Los Angeles is close to an acquisition of Orioles superstar shortstop Manny Machado. Whom the Orioles would receive in return is not clear at this point, although one possible name that surfaced on Tuesday was Yusniel Diaz, the 21-year-old Cuban outfielder at Double-A Tulsa, who slugged two home runs in Sunday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. Diaz is ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the Dodgers' organization and No. 84 overall by MLB Pipeline.
MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported "with more certainty" on Tuesday night that Machado will be dealt to the Dodgers.
Regardless of the destination, a trade announcement is not expected on Tuesday, when the spotlight is reserved for the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.
At various times in recent days, the Dodgers, Phillies, Brewers, D-backs and Yankees have been reported to be in pursuit of Machado. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported that the Dodgers became the frontrunners when they included Diaz in the talks. On Tuesday night, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported the Phillies had leapt to the front upon including pitching prospect Adonis Medina (No. 73 overall) in talks with the Orioles.
Machado, 26, is the most impactful player known to be available leading into the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. He is a four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner with three top-10 finishes for the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
Machado, who represented the Orioles in Tuesday night's All-Star Game, is batting .315 with a .963 OPS, 24 homers and 65 RBIs. He's had three seasons with at least 33 home runs, but none with at least 100 RBIs.
The Dodgers consider him the ideal rent-a-replacement for shortstop Corey Seager, who is out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but he is expected back early next season. Machado is eligible for free agency after this year. Chris Taylor has replaced Seager at shortstop, but Taylor has not been able to repeat last year's offensive breakthrough. Taylor can also play second base, the outfield or serve as a super-utility player.
Machado is owed about $7 million for the remainder of the season, and the deal could require the Dodgers to move a contract, with John Forsythe, Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood possible candidates.
Acquiring Machado to play shortstop every day would allow the Dodgers to upgrade second base offensively from Forsythe to Taylor, with Player Page for Max Muncy at first base, Cody Bellinger in center field and Enrique Hernandez spot starting all over the place.
Even with the acquisition of Machado, the Dodgers might have enough financial flexibility to acquire a reliever without surpassing the luxury tax threshold. With a rash of injuries to relievers, the most pressing need at this time is bullpen support.
The possibility of a Machado-like midseason splurge was the impetus for the Dodgers stay mostly quiet through the offseason, balancing a desire to reduce the payroll below the tax threshold and delay spending the remaining $10 million until it could be directed with more certainty.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.