PHILADELPHIA -- Could Manny Machado find himself in a red cap and red pinstripes at Citizens Bank Park before the end of the weekend?A source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi late Monday night that the Phillies are the most likely destination for Machado because of their willingness to include No.
PHILADELPHIA -- Could Manny Machado find himself in a red cap and red pinstripes at Citizens Bank Park before the end of the weekend?
A source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi late Monday night that the Phillies are the most likely destination for Machado because of their willingness to include No. 2 prospect Adonis Medina in a deal, while other organizations have been reluctant to include top pitching prospects. Medina is the No. 73 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. Brewers right-hander Corbin Burnes (No. 55) and Dodgers right-hander Dustin May have not been included in formal offers for Machado, sources told Morosi.
Sources said earlier Monday that the Phillies remained in the thick of the Machado sweepstakes. No agreements have been made, despite rampant speculation, but a deal could be completed before the season resumes Friday. In fact, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported the Orioles are "very close" to a deal.
Many believe the Phillies, Dodgers and Brewers have been Baltimore's most likely trade partners. But the D-backs and others are involved in discussions, too. One source said the Yankees are not positioned to land Machado.
Of course, negotiations can change with one text or one phone call.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the chances of the Phillies acquiring Machado were a long shot, but things changed since they moved into first place in the National League East. They have become more aggressive because they now have a chance to play for more than one guaranteed game in the NL Wild Card. And it just so happens that the only true impact hitter on the market plays the same position as the position of the Phillies' greatest need.
The Phillies' shortstops have a .634 OPS, which ranks 27th in baseball. Machado has a .963 OPS, which ranks eighth in baseball. According to FanGraphs, Phillies shortstops Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford have a combined zero Wins Above Replacement (WAR), while Machado has a 3.8 WAR. If that number holds true in the second half, Machado could mean an extra two to three wins in the second half for the Phillies.
That could be enough to help them win their first NL East title since 2011, avoiding the peril of a one-game Wild Card playoff and the cost of burning one of their top two starters just to advance to the Division Series.
"Philly did good [with] that ovation when [we] got there," Machado said Monday at the American League All-Star team's media availability in Washington, D.C., referring to the cheers he heard in an Interleague series earlier this month at Citizens Bank Park. "It was pretty cool to have these cities that want you."
It remains highly unlikely, even if push comes to shove, that the Phillies will sell the farm -- even for a talent like Machado, who is a two-plus-month rental that will enter the free-agent market this offseason. So, yes, it would be stunning if the Phillies included Class A Clearwater right-hander Sixto Sanchez, who is the No. 23 prospect in baseball, or big league arms like Zach Eflin or Nick Pivetta in any trade.
But the Phillies still have plenty of pitching depth in their system to put together an attractive package for Baltimore.
If Machado goes elsewhere, the Phillies will turn their attention to position players like Mike Moustakas and Eduardo Escobar. They will look to upgrade their bullpen. They will look to upgrade their bench.
But everybody is waiting for Machado to be traded first. Everything else will happen after that.
The fact the Phillies are this close is a testament of the team's turnaround. The Phillies certainly will be pursuing Machado in the offseason, too. Machado said Monday that he prefers to remain at shortstop, which would not impact the Phillies' pursuit.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.