As has been known for quite some time, Orioles shortstop Manny Machado is on the verge of free agency once the 2018 season wraps up. Given his elite status — both as a defender and a perennial .250+ average, 30+ home run hitter — it makes sense that the club would try to flip him at the trade deadline for whatever prospects they can get their hands on, rather than simply letting him walk away once his contract expires. The latest report from Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun claims that the Orioles are considering seven different offers from the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Brewers, Phillies, Braves, Indians and Cubs, with a few other teams rumored to be interested as well.
Encina adds that the list is structured in order of appeal, with the Dodgers leading the group. The specific players on the table have yet to be disclosed, and while it stands to reason that the Orioles would target the top prospects from each organization, no. 1 outfield prospect Alex Verdugo isn’t likely to move out of Los Angeles’ farm system anytime soon. Given how close the offers appear to be, it’s still anyone’s game (er, shortstop), though an agreement could be struck even sooner than the July 31 deadline if the Orioles find the right combo of prospects.
Machado, who turned 26 on Friday, is capping a seven-season campaign with the team, one that has seen three All-Star nominations, two Gold Gloves and three strong bids for AL MVP. He entered Saturday’s competition batting .310/.381/.560 with 21 home runs, seven stolen bases and a .942 OPS through 375 plate appearances. He’ll receive the remainder of a $16 million salary as he closes out his final chapter with Baltimore this year.