Believe it or not, the baseball season has passed its numerical halfway point, with every team playing at least 81 games. The ceremonial halfway point is still a week away as the A.L and N.L. prepare to square off in the All-Star Game next Tuesday. In the meantime, the hot stove is heating up and to no one’s surprise, Orioles shortstop, Manny Machado is the prize catch among major league teams.
According to a report in the Baltimore Sun over the weekend, as many as seven teams have inquired about Machado, who is preparing to enter free agency at the conclusion of the season. Of the seven teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks appear to be the frontrunners.
Machado has been the lone bright spot for an otherwise disastrous season for the Orioles. As of Monday night, the Orioles have already lost 65 games and are the worst team in baseball by a wide margin. Machado looks poised for his fourth-straight 30+ home run season as he has 21 through 88 games thus far. In fact, he is on pace for a career-year across the board. Currently, Machado is sporting a .321 average to go along with his 21 homers and 60 RBI’s. He ranks in the top 10 in A.L. in just about every hitting category.
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Needless to say, whoever acquires the shortstop is getting one of the best players in the game and at only 26-years-old. However, as mentioned before, acquiring Machado will come with a risk as he is only signed through the end of the year. His name has surfaced in trade rumors for a couple seasons and has been linked to the Yankees in the past. However, already one of the best offensive teams in baseball, it seems their priority will be in the pitching department.
So, where will Machado land?
Despite interest from several teams, it looks as though it is going to be a two-team race between the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers. Just as the report in the Baltimore Sun indicated. The N.L. West has by far the tightest division race in all of baseball with the Diamondbacks holding a one-game lead over the Dodgers. Both the Giants and Rockies are within 3.5 games as of Monday night.
The Orioles are said to be seeking top prospects from any trade partner. Whether they get it or not is another question as they would presumably prefer something in return for a player with one foot out the door in Baltimore. Plus, with free agency on the horizon for Machado, teams may not be willing to mortgage the farm system for a rental. However, it will be worth monitoring the N.L. West race in the coming weeks as it will likely dictate the cost of acquiring Machado.
Where do you think Machado will finish out the season?
— Full Press MLB (@FPC_MLB) July 10, 2018