BALTIMORE -- The rumors, speculation and wondering has come to an end. The barrage of questions over. Manny Machado exited Nationals Park after the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday night as a member of the Orioles for the final time, with a deal between Baltimore and the
BALTIMORE -- The rumors, speculation and wondering has come to an end. The barrage of questions over. Manny Machado exited Nationals Park after the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday night as a member of the Orioles for the final time, with a deal between Baltimore and the Los Angeles Dodgers consummated on Wednesday night.
The trade nets the Orioles five prospects -- outfielder Yusniel Diaz, third baseman Rylan Bannon, right-hander Dean Kremer, righty Zach Pop and second baseman Breyvic Valera. And regardless of whether some, none or all of those prospects ultimately pan out, there will be no filling the shoes of the 26-year-old superstar Machado.
"This is a bittersweet day for the Orioles and our club. We watched Manny grow up in our franchise over the past eight years, we all know what an exceptional talent he is," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "From the great plays he made to his elite hitting, he's always going to be an important part of this club's history."
Since first hitting the big leagues at 19 during the Orioles' 2012 run to the postseason, Machado has been one of the faces of the franchise and a key cog in three playoff appearances over the past five years. A fan favorite, Gold Glove winner, All-Star and a guy who matured enough to come into his own on and off the field, deftly answering trade questions and handling the spotlight everywhere he went this season.
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Machado, drafted third overall by the O's in 2010, spent the past seven seasons in the big leagues and is a free agent at the end of the season, expected to warrant a record deal. With the last-place Orioles headed into a rebuild, he was their biggest -- but far from only -- viable candidate to be dealt in advance of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
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"Today is the start of the rebuilding process," Duquette said. "Trading Manny is our first step in a multi-dimensional strategy to build a competitive club in the future."
That strategy involves much more than trades, as Duquette mentioned that ownership is committed to investing in the international market, beefing up scouting and analytics and strengthening several other components of baseball operations.
"The clubs that have been through it recently have given us an intrinsic road map of what to do. ... I think we have a good idea of what it takes to be consistently good," said Duquette, whose contract is up at the end of the year.
"Everybody understands some of the changes that we need to make. Orioles fans should know how deeply committed we are to making the important adjustments. Like I've said before, my heart is in Baltimore and I'd like to make the Orioles into a top contending organization again. Today is a new direction for the organization. I'm glad to be helping the club go in that new direction."
Without Machado, the Orioles are expected to move Timothy Beckham to his original position at shortstop. The long-term answer may be more difficult to find and is part of several questions facing the club, which will also look to trade closer Zach Britton, center fielder Adam Jones and reliever Brad Brach to help accelerate the rebuilding process.
Duquette confirmed that the trade interest in Britton is heating up, saying several clubs have "renewed" their interest in the lefty this past week and it looks like he will be the next likely player to be moved.
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Of the Machado haul, Diaz is considered the centerpiece. Ranked as Los Angeles' No. 4 prospect and the No. 84 prospect in the game by MLB Pipeline, Diaz is fresh off an impressive performance at Sunday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, becoming the second player to homer twice in the showcase's 20-year history. He's currently playing at Double-A Tulsa.
"We like the depth of the Dodgers' package, we like the quality of the Dodgers package, and we like Yusniel Diaz," Duquette said.
Bannon was ranked as the Dodgers' No. 27 prospect and Kremer was No. 28. The 22-year-old Bannon is batting .296/.402/.559 with 17 doubles, six triples, 20 home runs and 61 RBIs in 89 games with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. Kremer had recently been promoted to Double-A. The 22-year-old had a 3.30 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 79 innings at Rancho Cucamonga this season. Pop, 21, is a combined 1-2 with a 1.04 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 30 relief appearances between Class A Great Lakes and Rancho Cucamonga.
Valera is the oldest of the group at 26 and has appeared in 26 games for Los Angeles this season, going 5-for-29. He's hit .284/.350/.433 in 56 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City. The O's tried to acquire Valera this spring with no luck. He was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday, with the other four players headed to Double-A Bowie.
While news leaked Tuesday night of an agreement, the official word was delayed as the O's looked over medicals. Duquette said it was a rigorous process, given that six players were involved, and that it wasn't concerning despite reports that the deal had hit a snag.
"The expectation that everyone had was this deal was done when we were still in the process created a timeline that we couldn't meet," he said. "We thought it was important for Manny to represent the Orioles in the All-Star Game."
That was also important to Machado, who walked off the field Tuesday knowing that it was likely for the final time in black and orange.
"Clubs have to make the hard decisions," Duquette said, "and when you do that, you can be rewarded in the future."
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.