This offseason, the Orioles finally appeared to be a team with sound leadership.
Manny Machado, one of the game’s brightest young superstars, was put on the trade block after years of playing with underachieving teams in Baltimore. Reportedly, somewhere around ten teams bid on his services.
Baltimore had a prime opportunity to strike it rich with a prospect return. Yet on Thursday, Orioles’ G.M. Dan Duquette reportedly turned his attention elsewhere and away from dealing his stud third baseman.
So how does this affect the San Diego Padres? Well, they can reap a few benefits from the decision. Even before the 2017 season ended, there was a realization that San Diego’s own infield had to be remade.
The combination of Yangervis Solarte, Cory Spangenberg, Carlos Asuaje, and Carlos Villanueva had taken up too much roster space. One, predictably Solarte, was expected to leave before spring training. However, conditions were only made more confusing when former Friar Chase Headley was reacquired on December 12 from the Yankees. Now the team looks to possibly unload two aging veterans in a market that is already full.
The removal of any third base options signals great news for San Diego. The fact an outstanding talent like Machado is off the market certainly makes the Padres’ men more appealing. They pale in comparison to Machado, but each provide better value than Moustakas and steadier reliability than Frazier and Nunez. Moustakas will cost you an arm and a leg after having a career year in 2017.
Playoff hopefuls like the Brewers, Cardinals, Mets, and possibly the Dodgers and Yankees could also be in the market for proven assets at second, where Solarte thrives. As such, the amount of leverage Preller has in any proposed trade has increased due to the Machado incident.
Moreover, by keeping Machado on the Orioles, Duquette has kept the slim hope of a Machado-San Diego union alive.
Many of the teams that had placed calls on the third baseman this offseason were looking not only towards 2018, but beyond that. He is a free agent after 2018 and so whoever takes him from Baltimore has a better chance of retaining him for the long haul. This is why the Chicago White Sox, a ball club nowhere near competing yet, was said to have put forth one of the strongest offers. A cornerstone like Machado could greatly affect their future in terms of being competitive.
Luckily, the thought of an exchange has been put to a halt, giving San Diego an opportunity to chase the superstar soon as well. He will not stay in a bad team’s uni and will certainly look for a team on the rise in his free agent winter. Thus, the fact that the White Sox and other teams with bright futures were not able to work out a deal with Baltimore, could bode well for America’s Finest City.
There is more hope that Machado can one day be Wil Myers‘ bashing buddy, even if it remains really slim.
Overall, Duquette’s choice to not cash in on his most productive player helps the Friars.
Teams that will strive to be competitors in 2018 will turn their attention towards Yangervis Solarte and Chase Headley on the trade market. As a result, Preller will make the infield picture clearer in San Diego, while further adding to one of the best minor league systems in all of the game. It is an excellent scenario for the Friars.
Also, with Machado not on the move and not receiving lucrative extension offers because of it, the Padres have a greater chance at signing him in the 2018-2019 free agency period. If hope turns to reality, then watch out for the San Diego Padres. They may just return to the promised land. With Manny Machado leading the way?