Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Best Machado fit might be Cleveland

Tribe has depth in rotation to send Baltimore a much-needed starter
MLB.com @jonmorosi

The Manny Machado trade market has been relatively quiet in recent days, but a number of intriguing destinations remain -- including Cleveland, where his brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso, signed a two-year contract in December.

The Indians and Orioles were in contact last month regarding a possible Machado trade, although sources said Friday that the sides aren't actively discussing him now.

The Manny Machado trade market has been relatively quiet in recent days, but a number of intriguing destinations remain -- including Cleveland, where his brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso, signed a two-year contract in December.

The Indians and Orioles were in contact last month regarding a possible Machado trade, although sources said Friday that the sides aren't actively discussing him now.

The O's signaled early in the offseason that they are willing to entertain trade offers for Machado. The D-backs have shown the "most persistent" interest in trading for the three-time All-Star, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.

• Hot Stove Tracker

On the surface, the Indians and Orioles match up well on a Machado trade. Baltimore has only two proven Major League starting pitchers on its roster -- Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman -- and Cleveland has a surplus of starters.

Video: NYY@CLE: Salazar K's 12 over seven frames vs. Yankees

Many in the industry believe the Indians are open to trading right-hander Danny Salazar, a talented yet inconsistent starter who has averaged roughly 120 innings pitched over the past two seasons. A trade of Salazar would signal that the Tribe is confident in Mike Clevinger as a full-time starter in 2018; Clevinger compiled a 3.11 ERA in 121 2/3 innings for the Indians during the '17 regular season, mostly as a starter, but pitched out of the bullpen during the Tribe's American League Division Series loss to the Yankees.

If Machado were traded to the Indians, he'd likely become Cleveland's everyday third baseman, with Jose Ramirez at second base. That would leave Jason Kipnis without an everyday position on the infield, unless he was included in the trade to Baltimore or dealt elsewhere.

The Mets nearly acquired Kipnis in a trade earlier this offseason before the deal fell apart, "very likely" for financial reasons, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Machado and the O's avoided salary arbitration last week by agreeing to a one-year, $16 million contract. Machado is on track to become a free agent after the 2018 season; based on recent trades involving J.D. Martinez and Andrew McCutchen, teams are reluctant to pay a high acquisition cost for one year (or less) of control on even the most accomplished position players.

Thus far, the Orioles have not made major moves in advance of what's likely to be a pivotal year for the franchise. Machado, center fielder Adam Jones, manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette all are unsigned beyond 2018. If the O's trade Machado now, they could find his long-term replacement in a slow-moving free-agent market that still includes third basemen Mike Moustakas and Todd Frazier.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.

Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Manny Machado