Will the Phillies really push for Manny Machado next offseason?
Phillies fans have many white whales as they look towards the future of the ballclub. Among superstars Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Christian Yelich sits Baltimore Orioles infielder Manny Machado.
The connections to Machado within the Phillies organization are well documented. Both team president Andy MacPhail and general manager Matt Klentak were in Baltimore when Machado was drafted. They’ve reportedly been part of trade talks with Machado, but the lack of a longterm deal prevents them from making a blockbuster offer.
The intangibles with Machado are just as clear as his connections to the organization. Despite being a career .279 hitter Machado has the power to be a 40 doubles/40 home runs player, something no Phillie has done since Chuck Klein in 1933, who accomplished the feat three times.
One of Machado’s greatest gripes with the Orioles is where he plays every day, third base or shortstop. The 25-year-old has played 715 of 767 major league games at third base, but his heart appears to be at shortstop.
Former number one overall pick of the 2008 amateur draft Tim Beckham will be moving over to third base to accommodate Machado’s request. Beckham has played just nine games at third in his career, and it appears the Orioles have no plans to add a starter, despite Todd Frazier and Mike Moustakas remaining on the market.
Where this affects the Phillies is when, not if, Machado hits the free agent market this offseason. If Machado has forced the organization to move him to short he’s likely to insist he starts at short while negotiating a contract.
Philadelphia appears set on top prospect J.P. Crawford starting at short after trading Gold Glove-caliber veteran Freddy Galvis to San Diego. Machado’s place in Philadelphia would be at third base if Maikel Franco fails to advance in his development this year.
No matter how much money the Phillies throw at Machado, expected to be approximately $400 million, Machado appears committed to playing up the middle.
Unfortunately for the Phillies, Machado is the only realistic option in free agency if they decide to trade Franco. Josh Donaldson is a productive player but at the age of 32, he doesn’t fit the organization’s image going forward.
Clearly, it’s in the organization’s best interest to see Franco become the superstar he was expected to be. Their options beyond him are limited if Machado refuses to handle the hot corner. Unless there’s a new development in Machado’s interests, the chances of Philadelphia landing him are diminishing.