While it seems like the Orioles are not going to end up trading Manny Machado, it's a rumor that just won't go away. In fact, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman fanned the flame on Friday when he reported the Yankees have been keeping tabs on the Machado market and could
While it seems like the Orioles are not going to end up trading Manny Machado, it's a rumor that just won't go away. In fact, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman fanned the flame on Friday when he reported the Yankees have been keeping tabs on the Machado market and could be prepared to make a splash.
So let's say that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and Orioles GM Dan Duquette get on the phone to have a serious conversation about a Machado deal. What does a reasonable Machado-to-the-Yankees deal look like?
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Before we get to that, it's important to note a couple of things.
• Machado is eligible for free agency next winter and there is little indication he will sign an extension before he can test the market. And while the Yankees are one of the only teams that might be able to persuade him to consider an extension, any trade for Machado would likely be a one-year "rental."
• Many teams hate to trade within their division, which is a big hurdle here. And it's not just about the Orioles not wanting to get burned by Machado. The Yankees are surely nervous about the idea of trading a couple of young players to the O's who could haunt them for years, which would look worse if Machado walks in a year. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's look at what a reasonable deal might look like. The kind of deal where if you propose it to a friend and ask, "Who says no?" They aren't sure.
With that in mind, let's look at this from two perspectives, one where the Orioles accomplish a clear objective, and one where the Yankees do the same.
Option No. 1: O's get their pitching
Proposed deal: LHP Jordan Montgomery and RHP Chance Adams for Machado
I recently suggested the Orioles should try to get Gleyber Torres in any Machado deal with the Yankees -- we now know that Baltimore is focused on bringing back pitching, and is looking for a deal similar to the one the Braves got when they traded Jason Heyward -- then a year from free agency -- and reliever Jordan Walden to St. Louis for right-handers Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins prior to the 2015 season. That's a good point of reference to use as a guideline here.
At the time, Miller was an established young starter who was four years from free agency and Jenkins was an exciting young prospect. And while Miller's career has gone off course since then and Jenkins never panned out, it was considered a formidable package at the time of the deal.
Montgomery lacks the upside Miller had when that swap was made, but he has less than one year of service time and showed last year that he could be a solid mid-rotation starter for years to come, posting a 3.88 ERA in 29 starts as a rookie. Adams is ranked as the Yankees' No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline, and he is just about ready for the Majors after posting a 2.89 ERA in 115 1/3 Triple-A innings in 2017. If you get two exciting young pitchers with hardly any service time for a player likely to leave in a year, you have to consider it. And I could see the Yanks, who have a deep system, possibly throwing in a pitcher in the low Minors to try to sweeten the pot.
Option No. 2: Yankees unload Frazier
Proposed deal: Outfielder Clint Frazier and Montgomery for Machado
When the Yankees traded Andrew Miller to the Indians at the 2016 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Frazier -- then one of the game's top prospects -- was the big piece New York received in return. Of course, now that the Yanks have traded for Giancarlo Stanton, Frazier no longer has an obvious future in the Bronx with Stanton and Aaron Judge manning the outfield corners. As a result, Frazier has become trade bait, and he has been floated as part of the rumored Gerrit Cole-to-the-Yankees deal.
Frazier, 23, is no longer technically a prospect, as he exhausted his rookie eligibility while putting up a .231/.268/.448 slash line in 142 plate appearances in 2017. The raw stats don't look good, but he has elite bat speed, and his hard-hit rate of 40.2 percent -- as measured by batted balls with an exit velocity of 95 mph and above -- ranked 32nd in MLB among the 466 hitters with at least 50 batted balls in play. In other words, he still has a lot of value in the eyes of MLB execs.
Montgomery, as noted above, has the makings of a solid starter, and would give the Orioles the pitching they covet.
Obviously, this trade doesn't give Baltimore the pitching quantity it covets, but it matches up nicely with an Addison Russell and Mike Montgomery offer the Cubs were apparently ready to make for Machado. I think this is actually a better package than Russell and Montgomery, as Russell hasn't quite lived up to his promise, and both Frazier and Montgomery are six years from free agency, while Russell and Montgomery are eligible for free agency after the 2021 campaign, four seasons from now.
Jim Duquette, who was the Mets' GM in 2004, offers his opinions as a studio analyst and columnist for MLB.com.