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Time of the essence for O's to deal Machado?

MLB.com @feinsand

A few weeks ago, a baseball insider suggested that the Orioles might not trade Manny Machado this summer if other teams aren't willing to meet Baltimore's asking price.

"The offers weren't good enough over the winter, and they're apparently not good enough now," the insider said. "With every day that ticks off the calendar, you'd have to think teams will offer less, not more. The O's may have overplayed their hand."

A few weeks ago, a baseball insider suggested that the Orioles might not trade Manny Machado this summer if other teams aren't willing to meet Baltimore's asking price.

"The offers weren't good enough over the winter, and they're apparently not good enough now," the insider said. "With every day that ticks off the calendar, you'd have to think teams will offer less, not more. The O's may have overplayed their hand."

The Orioles were said to be asking for a pair of young, controllable arms this past offseason, a price that seems unlikely to be met now that Machado is less than a half-season from free agency.

Although it appears that trade talks are heating up, each day that passes theoretically decreases Machado's value to some extent. No less than a half-dozen teams have been connected to the three-time All-Star, but if the O's continue to hold firm to their high asking price, is it possible they take another approach with their franchise player?

Re-signing Machado would appear to be the longest of long shots, but considering that the Orioles are likely to hold a top three selection in next year's Draft, could they add a compensation pick following the 2019 first round and try to dominate the Draft?

Last year, the Tigers opted to trade J.D. Martinez to the D-backs for three middle-infield prospects, none of whom has thrived in the Minors this season. Dawel Lugo (Triple-A), No. 12 in Detroit's system, and Sergio Alcantara, No. 24 in the Tigers' system, (Double -A) each have a sub-.700 OPS, while Jose King is hitting below .200 in Class A Short-Season ball.

Might Detroit -- which held the No. 1 pick in this past June's Draft -- have been better off hanging on to Martinez and adding another pick in the 30s after he presumably would have turned down a qualifying offer?

We posed that question to a number of Major League executives, and despite the return the Tigers got for Martinez, it was unanimous that the O's would be better off bringing back prospects in a trade this summer than they would be by adding a pick at the end of the first round next year.

"It's just one pick," one general manager said. "If they can beat the value of that, they should move him."

"There's so much variance in the Draft, they should take the more established and advanced pro players," one assistant GM added. "I'd still lean toward the three pro guys adding more value than one pick."

The Orioles are also facing the question of whether to trade left-hander Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones, both of whom are headed for free agency along with Machado. For Baltimore, extending either of them a qualifying offer in an attempt to land an extra compensatory pick would be risky, as they would be candidates to accept the one-year deal that is expected to be worth approximately $18 million next season.

With the exception of the Yankees' remarkable return for Aroldis Chapman in 2016, the rental market hasn't been particularly fruitful in recent years.

"Look at what the Royals got for Kelvin Herrera," one executive said, referring to last month's trade with the Nationals. "Teams aren't giving up their top prospects for a two- or three-month rental."

Kansas City landed three players from Washington, including the Nationals' Nos. 10 and 11 prospects. But while the Yankees were able to score the Cubs' No. 1 prospect (Gleyber Torres) in exchange for two-plus months of Chapman two summers ago, the Royals' return for their All-Star closer added players now ranked No. 7 (third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez) and No. 14 (outfielder Blake Perkins) in their own system.

The best return for a rental last summer was the three-player package the Dodgers sent to the Rangers for two months of Yu Darvish; Los Angeles sent its No. 4 (second baseman Willie Calhoun), No. 17 (right-hander A.J. Alexy) and No. 27 (infielder Brendon Davis) prospects to Texas in the deal.

Machado, of course, has the potential to be a race-changing player, so a team that believes it's one bat away from making a run could decide to go all-in. With that in mind, a trade in the coming weeks (or days) seems like a foregone conclusion.

"The Orioles should be able to get more for him in a trade than the equivalent of a comp pick," another GM said. "I'd be surprised if he wasn't dealt."

Mark Feinsand is an executive reporter for MLB.com.

Baltimore Orioles, Manny Machado