The Baltimore Orioles, to this point dissatisfied with the trade offers for star third baseman Manny Machado, intend to pull him off the trading block in a couple days if the offers don’t improve, sources say.
Baltimore has been seeking young, controllable talent in return for Machado, generally considered to be one of the top five players in the game, but the Orioles will “move on to other things” if nobody steps up with what they see as a fair deal perhaps as soon as “today or tomorrow,” according to someone familiar with their thinking.
The Orioles are telling people they’d be interested in a deal along the lines of what the Braves got several years ago for young star Jason Heyward as a “five-year” young star (meaning one year to go before free agency). Atlanta received top young pitcher Shelby Miller in that trade for Heyward before sending Miller to Arizona a year later in an even more-remembered trade for Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte.
Baltimore has fielded trade inquiries for Machado from the Cardinals, Cubs, White Sox, Yankees, Giants, Phillies, Diamondbacks and others. But, with a trade and free-agent market flush with very good third basemen (Mike Moustakas, Todd Frazier, Evan Longoria and perhaps Josh Donaldson), the offers for Machado haven’t come close to even tempting to this point.
While no one is calling this a hard deadline for a Machado deal, and they could return later to this pursuit, the Orioles are suggesting they will shift to other priorities if things don’t pick up quickly. The Orioles are seeking two starting pitchers to bolster a rotation fronted by young starters Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman but pretty thin after that.
They also are expected to more seriously gauge interest in star closer Zach Britton, who’s believed to have drawn attention from the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals, Rockies and others. Interest in Britton, like Machado, who is free agent after the year, is starting to pick up after the contracts for set-up men and middle relievers came in high at the Winter Meetings.
As for Machado, just about all those teams have the young talent to go in a deal for Machado, though the White Sox, Cardinals and Yankees may be best positioned in terms of the right type of prospects. The Cubs and Diamondbacks would seem to be thinking of Machado as a shortstop since they have young star third basemen, and Arizona has not shown any inclination to this point to include Jake Lamb in a Machado deal.