After weeks of speculation, the Manny Machadosweepstakes are over. He's officially a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. That leaves a batch of teams who were in on the former Baltimore Orioles star to wonder: "Now what?"Waving goodbye to the biggest name on the trade market stings, but the contenders
After weeks of speculation, the Manny Machadosweepstakes are over. He's officially a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. That leaves a batch of teams who were in on the former Baltimore Orioles star to wonder: "Now what?"
Waving goodbye to the biggest name on the trade market stings, but the contenders who missed out on Machado still have ways to improve. And just because they were honed in on Machado to play either shortstop or third base, it doesn't mean their options are limited solely to those positions.
In some cases -- like with the Indians, who responded quickly by acquiring Padres relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber for top catching prospect Francisco Mejia on Thursday morning -- these four Machado-less clubs may be better off shifting gears entirely and targeting other areas of need.
The Phillies were in on Machado until the end because the left side of their infield has been in flux all season, as third baseman Maikel Franco has failed to develop while rookies J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery have battled injury and inconsistency, respectively. For a team that enters the second half surprisingly atop the National League East, Philly still needs some sort of stabilizing veteran presence at either short or the hot corner.
MLB.com's Todd Zolecki puts it succinctly: "The Phillies need a bat, particularly on the left side of the infield. Mike Moustakas and Eduardo Escobar are possibilities." Both are 29 years old and can be free agents at the end of this season, meaning either Moustakas or Escobar would bring help in 2018 and not stand in the way of the Phils' expected pursuit of Machado in free agency this offseason.
The alternative would be to address the bullpen, where the Phillies have plenty of live arms, like rookie closer Seranthony Dominguez, but lack a left-hander and -- you guessed it -- experience. They have been connected to lefty Zach Britton, and having discussed Machado with the O's already might help general manager Matt Klentak in that regard.
Perhaps no contender needed Machado more than the Brewers, whose shortstops have combined for a measly .567 OPS -- second worst in baseball this season -- as youngster Orlando Arcia has failed to follow up his 2017 breakout campaign.
Problem is, there's not much left on the shortstop market now, with the likes of Freddy Galvis (Padres), Jose Iglesias (Tigers) and Adeiny Hechavarria (Rays) among the most available names. None of those fit all that well, considering the Crew needs a boost from an infield bat.
So here's suggesting Milwaukee pivots and goes after another need, say, at second base. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal points out James Dozier becomes an expected target.
Dozier, the longtime Twins second-sacker, is having a subpar season by his standards, but the free-agent-to-be has turned it on in July (.298/.369/.632) and has been one of the premier power-and-patience keystoners, averaging a .349 OBP and 38 homers from 2016-17.
That kind of production would be big for the Brewers, whose second basemen have registered a .658 OPS so far -- 10th worst in MLB -- which is better than their collection of shortstops, but not by much. Jonathan Villar has regressed since his monster 2016 and is on the DL with a sprained right thumb.
Machado made sense for Arizona because his offense would have brought an upgrade over Nick Ahmed. That said, Ahmed already has hit career highs in doubles (20), homers (12) and RBIs (38). And it's not like the D-backs would gain much from going after someone like Galvis or Iglesias when Ahmed already is an elite defensive shortstop.
The best approach might be adding an arm or two, as MLB.com's Steve Gilbert writes, especially to a rotation that has lost Taijuan Walker for the year and Shelby Miller for at least the immediate future. Expect the D-backs to check in on rental arms like J.A. Happ (Blue Jays) and Nathan Eovaldi (Rays), but they also might aim for a controllable starter -- perhaps the Mets' Zack Wheeler or the O's Kevin Gausman? -- since All-Star Patrick Corbin will be a free agent in a few months.
New York Yankees
The Yankees were in on Machado, but it seemed like they were only willing to acquire him on their terms. After all, with veteran Didi Gregorius at short and rookie Miguel Andujar at third and an offense that leads MLB in homers by a wide margin, well, the need just wasn't as acute.
There's a chance GM Brian Cashman could make a play for Moustakas to provide another option at either third or first base, as MLB.com's Richard Justice suggests. But really, this team's focus is on a starting pitcher to beef up a rotation that has questions after ace Luis Severino.
"The Yanks have been connected to Michael Fulmer of the Tigers, Cole Hamels of the Rangers, Happ of the Blue Jays and Wheeler of the Mets, among others," MLB.com's Bryan Hoch writes in covering the club's quest for an arm. With a deep roster and an even deeper farm system, Cashman has plenty of pieces to offer to get what he wants.
*Jason Catania is a reporter for MLB.com.*