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The MLB All-Star Game proved to be Manny Machado’s final game representing the Baltimore Orioles. According to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, Machado is headed to the Los Angeles Dodgers in MLB’s first blockbuster deal of the summer.
The Orioles will reportedly receive five players in the deal. The biggest name heading to Baltimore is outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz. He’ll be joined by pitching prospects Dean Kremer and Zach Pop, second baseman Breyvic Valera and third baseman Rylan Bannon.
Of course, It wouldn’t be an Orioles trade without a little drama. Reports suggested this trade could be announced as early as Wednesday morning, but new reports then surfaced about a possible snag in the deal regarding medical records for a prospect headed back to Baltimore. Clearly, that hurdle has been cleared and the deal is done.
Machado, who will become a free agent at season’s end, should be the biggest name to change addresses ahead of the July non-waiver trade deadline. Momentum toward his inevitable exit from Baltimore really started building over the winter, and only grew from there with the Orioles falling out of contention basically the moment the 2018 season began.
Machado, 25, has not seemed the least bit distracted despite the trade rumors that have swirled around him for the last year. He’s putting up his typical All-Star level production this season, hitting .315/.387/.575 with 24 home runs, 65 RBIs and eight stolen bases. He hasn’t had much help from an Orioles team that sits 39.5 games out of first place in the American League East. But it hasn’t stopped his star from shining.
He’ll immediately slide in as a middle-of-the-order run producer, along with surprising bats like Matt Kemp and Max Muncy. If other stars like Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig can get hot and stay healthy, the Dodgers lineup will be very deep and very scary.
Who did the Orioles get in the trade?
The centerpiece of the trade is outfielder Yusniel Diaz, a 21-year-old Cuban who was signed in 2015. He hit two home runs in the 2018 Futures Game, which is why you may have heard of him. He’s listed at No. 4 on MLB’s list of top Dodgers prospects, and he’s No. 31 on the Baseball Prospectus mid-year top 50. Diaz has spent the entire year at Double-A, and has hit .314/.428/.477 with 41 walks, six home runs, and 39 strikeouts in 264 plate appearances.
None of the other four prospects going to Baltimore are in MLB’s top 100.
Ryan Bannon, 22, was the Dodgers No. 27 prospect. He’s hitting .296 with 20 home runs at Advanced A-Ball this season. Dean Kremer, 22, was the Dodgers No. 28 prospect. He has a 3.03 ERA across 86 innings this season between High-A and Double-A.
Zach Pop, 21, has a 1.04 ERA, 47 Ks and 13 BBs in 43.1 innings of relief at two levels in Class A this season. Breyvic Valera is a 26-year-old infielder whose also played in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
Where will Manny Machado play in the field?
Machado has said time and time again that shortstop is his primary position now. That’s where he’ll slot in with the Dodgers. Their regular shortstop, Corey Seager, is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Is this a full-fledged rental?
Very much so. The Dodgers are obviously known for spending money, but they’re so very close to the luxury tax threshold already and wouldn’t be able to bring Machado back without doing some major dealing. Beyond that, with Seager coming back next season they’ll also have their franchise shortstop back. That would seemingly make Los Angeles less attractive to Machado.
Who will Baltimore trade next?
Now that the Orioles firesale is officially underway, expect plenty of dealing from general manager Dan Duquette over the next two weeks.
Machado is the headliner among players they’re expected to trade, but there are plenty of assets that should follow him out the door. In the bullpen alone, closer Zach Britton, who has looked healthy and effective over the last month, and top set up relievers Brad Brach and Mychal Givens are known to be on the block. Given the league wide interest in Britton, it’s possible he’ll be the next to go.
Baltimore has no shortage of veteran hitters that could help a contender. Outfielder Adam Jones, infielder Danny Valencia and designated hitter Mark Trumbo could all go before the deadline.
If Baltimore’s trade possibilities are any indication, this could be a wild two weeks around MLB.
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