It’s hard to believe, but we are fast-approaching the quarter pole of the 2018 MLB season. Heading into Monday night, both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox found themselves tied atop the American League East with records of 28-12. Both teams have World Series aspirations, and both will be seeking key additions at the trade deadline to separate themselves from one another.
The Orioles, however, currently sit 15.5 games back and have the second-worst winning percentage in baseball. The expected fire sale of their impending free agents could begin sooner rather than later. I’m here to propose a trade that could shape the face of the American League East for years to come, but could be the best possible scenario for both clubs.
The Yankees would receive another difference-making, impact bat to add to the middle of their lineup. Imagine facing a lineup that has Machado, Judge, Stanton, Sanchez batting 2-4. Good luck. They can slide Manny back to third base, leaving reigning AL Player of the Month Didi Gregorius at shortstop. While Machado may feel more comfortable at short, he certainly made much more of an impact defensively at third.
Machado’s expiring contract may be a concern for the Evil Empire, but they’re projected as a likely landing spot for Machado this off-season anyway. Winning a championship this season could give Machado even more reason to stay in the Bronx. If Machado does leave town, rolling the dice with their current roster and a .700 winning percentage in mid-May isn’t a bad idea. As Orioles fans are well aware, a championship window doesn’t stay open forever. 🙁
In Baltimore, the Orioles would receive the number two prospect in all of baseball. Torres has seen some time in the big leagues already this season, slashing .319/.360/.493 in 69 at bats. He’s hit three home runs, with three doubles and 12 RBI. Rated as the number one shortstop in minor league baseball, Torres has primarily played second base for the Yankees, but can also play third.
He’s been an absolute superstar in the minors, and is as close to a can’t miss prospect as you can get. “After being named the youngest Most Valuable Player in Arizona Fall League history, batting .403 with a 1.158 OPS in 18 games for Scottsdale in 2016.”
“Torres will be an offensive second baseman who has a chance to be a plus defender. He’s got good actions. He’s got plus arm strength. The only thing he doesn’t do is impress you running from home to first. He’s not a burner, but he can go first to third. He’s got power and he can really drive balls the other way. He also has the ‘it’ factor. You saw it in the Arizona Fall League (in 2016). You sat there watching him and you’re thinking, ‘Is he really that age the way he gets after it?’ Yeah, multiple All-Star Games for this guy. Maybe three or four.’”
Torres could slide back into his natural position with the Orioles, and provide some consistency up the middle for the team with second baseman Jonathan Schoop. Schoop, who’s contract is up at the end of the 2019 season, could be another fire-sale casualty this year or next if the Orioles can’t lock him up long- term. Torres, 21, just made his major league debut, and is under team control for the foreseeable future. The lack of depth in the Orioles infield provides a variety of options for the young Torres.
While some fans cringe at the thought of Manny in pinstripes, we need to remember the importance of maximizing Machado’s value. Letting him play out the regular season in Baltimore and getting nothing in return will only set the organization back even more in the future. Getting a player of Torres’ caliber in return for only a few guaranteed months of Machado’s service is an absolute steal. It’s more likely the Yankees would say no to such a trade, but the Orioles front office is in the unique position of taking advantage of teams in the midst of a pennant race.
It’s for this reason that I never understood the “Machado’s value is never higher than it is right now” argument in the off-season. Once teams are jockeying for positioning headed into the all-star break, they begin to outbid one another in hopes of acquiring impact talent. The Yankees adding a player of Machado’s skill is essentially addition by subtraction, not allowing him to join another World Series contender.
A player all to familiar with the trade process is Gleyber Torres. He’s already been traded once for a rental player in his young career. In 2016, he was traded to New York at the trade deadline for closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman helped close the door for the Chicago Cubs and they won their first World Series championship since 1908.
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