The Boston Red Sox are amongst the best teams in baseball with a 44-22 record as they get set to take on the 19-45 Baltimore Orioles for a three-game set at Camden Yards. June is here, the contenders have begun to separate from the pretenders and the trade market has already started to heat up. The O’s have the most-sought after name on the market in SS/3B Manny Machado who is set to hit the market this winter. Allow me to now inject the question, should Boston consider a blockbuster summer deal to bolster their World Series chances by adding Machado?
Before you jump down my throat, at least hear me out on this one. The Orioles trading Machado in the division may seem ludicrous to many, but these teams have struck similar deals in the past (Andrew Miller for Eduardo Rodriguez) and Dan Duquette and Dave Dombrowski are long-time executives with a working relationship dating back to their days in the Montreal Expos front office. They discussed a potential deal for Machado this winter and the rebuilding O’s would be wise to take the best offer on the table, which could very well come from Dombrowski who isn’t afraid to give up what it takes to land his guy.
The 25-year-old Machado (turns 26 next month) is going to command a mega-deal this off-season, one few teams around the majors will be able to afford, lucky for Boston they are one of the select big market clubs that can pony up the dough to get an elite hitter. Machado is not signing before testing the open market, lets make that clear, Scott Boras is going to take his man to the market and extract every single nickel he can get, but why not bring him in for the playoff run and show him all Boston has to offer long-term?
The Red Sox released Hanley Ramirez a few weeks back which put them on the hook for the $15M he had remaining this season, but also prevented his $22M option for ’19 from vesting. That money they can now put back into the ballclub next season for Machado to man the hot corner with Xander Bogaerts at short. Machado is likely to get $30M+ per season due to his age and production, even this season on the only team yet to record 20 wins, he is slashing .311/380/.594 with 18 HR’s and 50 RBI’s.
As good as the Red Sox have been at the plate, the health of Dustin Pedroia is no sure thing and they could use another middle of the order bat to produce outside of J.D. Martinez and Mitch Moreland with Mookie Betts occupying the leadoff spot. Eduardo Nunez could continue his spot coverage at second with Brock Holt in the mix if Pedroia continues hit battle with knee issues and the young Rafael Devers would have to be the centerpiece of the trade to land Machado.
As much as everyone fell in love with Devers when he took Aroldis Chapman deep the other way to tie the game in Yankee Stadium last year, he is very raw at the plate with his approach as he’s consistently been hitting down in the low .200’s and his glove is a liability every time he takes the field at third base. The talk is he will eventually transition to first or as a pure designated hitter. Devers is only 21 and everyone talks about him as if he’s A-Rod moving from short to third. The raw power and potential is there, no doubt about that, but that’s what might be able to get you Machado from Baltimore with a fewer other lower-level prospects added in.
Make no doubt about it, if the Red Sox trade for Manny Machado they are doing it purely as a rental. They are going for it this season to capitalize their window for a championship with Betts, Bogaerts, Craig Kimbrel and Chris Sale all under contract at an affordable rate before they are up, and the money they have invested in recent years on guys lilke J.D. Martinez, David Price and Rick Porcello. At the same time, Boston is hedging their bet to sign Machado long-term through free agency if he comes to Boston for the final two-plus months and the postseason and clicks with manager Alex Cora, his teammates and the city in general.
To conclude, there are three absolute certainties here. First, Manny Machado WILL be dealt. Baltimore is awful, they are not going to re-sign him and are about the blow it up, they will use these next six-plus weeks to gauge the market and get the best deal they can for the superstar. Two, Boston becomes the odds-on favorite to win it all with Machado. They are already among the best with their rotation and production from Martinez & Betts, add Machado and that changes the game. Break away from the New York Yankees in the division and go toe-to-toe with the murders row of right-handed hitters for Houston Astros for the American League pennant. Three, Boston will surely be in on several free agents this winter including Machado, why not have both sides test drive each other through the remainder of the season while increasing your odds at winning the World Series?
As for all the back and forth from last season when Machado said “I’ve lost my respect for that organization” with the dirty slide and being thrown at on more than one occassion, most of that went out the door with John Farrell and the way that clubhouse was the last few years, but winning changes everyone’s point of view. Case and point David Price and David Ortiz putting all their bad blood under the bridge when Boston signed the left-hander as their ace and an embrace was captured on camera during their first encounter during Spring Training that season. I imagine something very similar would take place between Machado, Pedroia and Sale.
After reading all this if you still want to chirp me and jump down my throat, then more power to ya, but at least I did my best to make a pretty damn good case as to why the Red Sox should consider making a blockbuster move for Manny Machado.