We all knew that 2018 would be the season of Manny Machado trade rumors. The Baltimore Orioles shortstop is in his walk year and is destined to become one of the highest paid players players in MLB history. With Corey Seager out for the season in LA, the trade rumors have already begun to swirl.

Our own Mike Long talked about what a potential package from the Dodgers would look like. Spoiler alert: he’s expecting a nice return.

Don’t expect the trade talks to die down. This will be a topic to watch all season long, especially because the Orioles are looking up at four teams far ahead of them in the AL East.

Earlier this week, Machado responded to the rumors linking him to the Dodgers and his comments made some headlines. “I want to win with this team,” Machado said. That’s the quote that got the most attention. It definitely sticks out. We haven’t seen Machado mention too many times that he wants to stay in Baltimore.

But if you examine it a little closer, it doesn’t necessarily say that. Here’s the full quote via Steve Melewski at MASNSports.com:

“I would like to stay here the whole year,” he said. “This is a team that we’ve been together the last seven years. I want to win with this team. Come July, come August, come tomorrow, I can’t control that destiny. I just got to go out there and do whatever I can today.

Yes, Machado wants “to win with this team”. But he never mentioned anything about wanting to win with the Orioles past this season. He’d like to “stay here the whole year.” Effectively, he’s saying he would like to not be traded and to enter free agency after a full season with the Orioles.

And why wouldn’t he? He’s raking in Baltimore and playing amazing defense. What happens if he gets traded to a contender and those numbers go down? He hurts his value on the free agent market.

“Everyone waits for the time when it comes to be a free agent,” Machado said. “You want to explore your options. But things change. Tomorrow you could get traded or I could be here the whole year. You don’t know what will happen. I’ll just play it by ear.

That’s the quote I expect to hear from Machado.

Throughout this season, we’ll see a lot of speculation and tons of rumors surrounding Machado. I haven’t seen any indication that he intends to remain in Baltimore. He’ll be more careful with his words as the season progresses, but it still seems as though the Orioles don’t expect him to remain in Baltimore past 2018.

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