The Yankees are showing "increased interest" in Orioles star Manny Machado, according to MLB Network Insider Ken Rosenthal for The Athletic. The shortstop/third baseman has been on the trade market since last offseason, and with Baltimore in last place in the American League East and Machado set to become a free agent at season's end, it is expected he will be moved prior to the upcoming July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Machado is putting together his finest season in the Majors, slashing .309/.379/.555 with 21 home runs entering Tuesday. Though rookie Miguel Andujar has been impressive at the plate this season (.500 slugging percentage with 12 homers through Monday), Machado would be an upgrade both offensively and defensively at third base for New York, having two Gold Glove Awards to his name before moving to shortstop this year.
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Already boasting a powerful right-handed lineup featuring sluggers Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, Machado would add another big right-handed bat to the order, which would be particularly helpful given New York is battling the Red Sox atop the AL East. Boston's starting rotation features four left-handers in Chris Sale, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Thomas Pomeranz.
While the Yankees' greatest need currently appears to be starting pitching, the market for starters who could make a significant impact for a World Series contender is thin, and that factor coupled with the chance to make a great lineup even better (the Yankees didn't necessarily need a right fielder last offseason but traded for Stanton anyway) could make acquiring Machado an appealing prospect.
On the pitching front, the Yankees also have shown interest in O's relievers Zach Britton and Brad Brach, as well as right-handed starter Kevin Gausman, according to Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun.
Britton, a lefty, and the righty Brach -- popular names on the rumor mill given their late-inning resumes and status as impending free agents -- could add to an already loaded Yankees bullpen. The 27-year-old Gausman, however, is under club control through 2020, making it less likely Baltimore would part with a current and future piece of its rotation, as Encina notes.
The Yankees also boast a very strong farm system from which to make the Orioles an offer for Machado, even if Baltimore would want a bigger return for the four-time All-Star because New York is a division rival.