Phillies free agency target profile: Shortstop Manny Machado

jtown
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Manny Machado #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers flies out during the tenth inning against the Boston Red Sox in Game Three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: Manny Machado #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers flies out during the tenth inning against the Boston Red Sox in Game Three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Manny Machado is perhaps the biggest name on the free agency market this year. Will it be worth it for the Phillies to sign him?

The offseason Phillies fans have been eyeing for years is finally upon us. The club can and should be one of the most active teams on the market as they hope to sign one, if not more, game-changing talent.

One of those game-changing talents on the market is former Oriole and Dodger Manny Machado. The 26-year-old is expected to potentially get a record-setting contract as a player of his age and talent rarely reach free agency.

Before Philadelphia possibly spends almost half a billion dollars on Machado, let’s break down the case for and against signing him.

More from Phillies News

Reasons to sign Machado

The biggest argument for signing Machado is the immediate impact he makes for the Phils. He was worth six or more Fangraphs wins above replacement in three of the last four seasons. In 926 career games, he has a .282/.335/.487 line with a 121 OPS+, 175 home runs, and 513 runs batted in. In seven seasons, Machado has already been named to four All-Star teams, received MVP votes three times, and won two Gold Gloves.

Machado also happens to fill a void of production for Philadelphia. They ranked 27th in WAR at shortstop and 23rd at third base. Maikel Franco showed some signs of promise in 2018, but Machado would be a massive upgrade at third. If Machado insists on playing shortstop, he would be an even bigger upgrade at the position.

If Machado replicates his production from 2018 in 2019, he should theoretically add six wins to Philadelphia’s record. While this still would not make them a playoff team, only Bryce Harper can match him in potential impact.

Another benefit of signing Machado is that he does not have any qualifying offer attached. Other top free agents do, meaning that whatever teams sign them have to give up draft picks and/or international signing pool money. Since Machado was traded midseason to the Dodgers, he was not eligible to receive a qualifying offer.

More from That Balls Outta Here

Reasons not to sign Machado

The most obvious reason not to sign Machado is the money necessary to sign him. As mentioned earlier, he could get a deal close to $500 million. MLB Trade Rumors predicts Machado will sign a 13-year, $390 million contract. Jim Bowden of the Athletic (subscription required) predicts he will sign a 10-year, $310 million contract.

Committing at least $30 million to a player over 10-plus seasons is a tall order. This contract would last well into Machado’s thirties when he could be on the decline. Any team handing out this contract knows that they will likely overpay for production on the back end of the deal.

The other large deterrent to signing Machado were his actions during the NLCS this year. After publicly stating he will never be a player who will always hustle, he was criticized as a dirty player for running into the legs of Jesus Aguilar at first base on a ground ball. The combination of these, especially the lack of hustle comments, would potentially turn Machado off to Philadelphia fans. However, it does not appear this has affected the club’s front office.

One other thing to point out is Machado’s insistence he plays shortstop despite the fact that he is likely a better defender at third base. He already won two Gold Gloves there but strong-armed the Orioles into having him play shortstop this year. While in Baltimore, Machado’s defense was poor with -18 defensive runs saved and a -7.2 ultimate zone rating.

On the other hand, after his trade to the Dodgers, Machado started grading out much better defensively. In about half as many innings at shortstop as he had in Baltimore, Machado had five defensive runs saved and a 0.8 ultimate zone rating. That difference indicates that Machado may not be the complete dumpster fire at shortstop that we originally thought. Plus, if he is producing on offense at his normal rate, it will outweigh his defensive deficiencies.

Verdict

Despite his flaws, Machado is still one of the best players in the game. The opportunity to sign a player like him rarely comes around and the Phillies would be doing a disservice to themselves and the fans by not pursuing him heavily. They have the money and the luxury tax room to absorb Machado’s salary, even if they have to overpay on the back end.

Should Phillies be deterred by qualifying offers?. dark. Next

For now, all we can do is wait for the MLB Hot Stove to get cooking. Check back here for updates on all the latest offseason rumors.

facebooktwitterreddit