We’re finally nearing the point in the year where trade rumors really begin to heat up. Given their status as a division leader, the Arizona Diamondbacks could have a large part to play in what happens between now and July 31st. And their most obvious trade target is one that most squads will envy.
The Baltimore Orioles are going to trade Manny Machado. It’d be ludicrous not to. He’s unlikely to re-sign as a free agent this winter, and they’re not going to let their best player walk for nothing. Any MLB trade rumors are going to begin with his name featured. As such, a host of contenders are likely in the mix for his services. The Diamondbacks have been mentioned multiple times as a suitor. They’ll have competition, though. The Cubs, Cardinals, Phillies, Red Sox, and even the rival Dodgers are all considered potential landing spots.
It’s absolutely essential that the Diamondbacks are able to outclass each and every one of them in their offer. It’s not going to be cheap. As J.P. Morosi states, at least one of Jon Duplantier or Pavin Smith would have to be included as a discussion starter. Whether or not it’s worth surrendering minor league talent for a rental in a second consecutive year is certainly up for debate.
But the contention window for the Diamondbacks is not something that’ll last forever. It may not even have much longer before closing aggressively. A.J. Pollock is a free agent after the year. Paul Goldschmidt comes up the year after him. Who knows how much longer you’re getting out of Zack Greinke before the front office seeks to move that contract? The position that they’re in right now indicates that now is likely the time to “go for it.”
The Snakes boast a strong starting staff that’s getting healthier. Their bullpen has been among the best in baseball. Their defense has been top notch, certainly aiding the strong pitching. The offense is one of the best in baseball, and should get better with Pollock’s eventual return. There are a wealth of pieces in place. They’re a threat in the National League as it is. Manny Machado would be the one to put them over the top.
Offensively, he’s one of the best in baseball. His .304 average and .369 OBP are both the highest of his career, while his power continues to develop. His .250 ISO is easily the highest mark in his career, with 18 homers ranking him among the league’s top power hitters. Defensively, the numbers don’t look as good at shortstop as they once did at third base. Nonetheless, his arm and his range allow him to compensate for a lot. He could even mix in some starts at third for Jake Lamb against left-handed pitching.
Most importantly, though, acquiring Machado not only solidifies your lineup, but keeps him away from other NL Contenders. The Cubs and Dodgers are going to be in the mix regardless. The Braves, and to a lesser extent the Phillies, don’t seem to be going away quite yet. The likelihood of Machado ending up on a team that the Snakes will have to battle on their road to a World Series berth seems higher than him remaining in the AL. It’s another incentive for them to pursue the best available trade chip.
It bodes well that we’ve heard multiple times about the Diamondbacks discussing Machado with the Orioles. It was a rumor that popped up again this week. So it’s somewhat likely that some groundwork has already been laid for a potential trade. In the comings weeks, his name is going to pop up in rumors more frequently. And the Arizona Diamondbacks are going to be a team consistently mentioned along with him. It’s imperative that they acquire him. With their future contracts somewhat uncertain, and many players (particularly in the pitching staff) performing at a high level, now is the time to go for it.
And who knows? Perhaps Manny Machado enjoys his time in Arizona, they move the Greinke contract, and then they’re able to explore a longer term contract. It seems spectacularly unlikely that he’d be in Arizona long-term, but one can dream.