It was just eight months ago that Baltimore Orioles All-Star Manny Machado spiked Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia after an aggressive slide, setting off a series of hit batters, suspensions and profanity-laced rants that had MLB officials on high alert.
Aside from Aaron Judge’s historic home run binge in April, that escalating feud dominated baseball headlines more than any other story over the first two months of the season. Now though, as the calendar gets ready to flip to 2018, it’s possible we could see Machado feeding Pedroia on double plays and feasting on Orioles pitching next season. That is if the Red Sox get their way.
According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, the Red Sox are continuing to show interest in trading for Machado despite their heated past. How motivated the Orioles are to actually move Machado remains a mystery. The team has reportedly fielded several offers, though none that have piqued their interest enough to continue the conversation.
Rumors have also indicated that Orioles owner Peter Angelos would be reluctant to approve any trade involving Machado, and especially one to a division rival. But just the fact the Red Sox appear to be so interested is, in fact, pretty interesting.
From a baseball perspective, the Red Sox would obviously view Machado as a building block. Still just 25, Machado has already proven himself as a dynamic hitter and an elite defender at third base. Even without a clear opening on the infield, he’s a guy you’d want to build around. But the problem is there’s no guarantee Machado would even stick around after the 2018 season with his first foray into free agency looming. Machado is going to cash in next winter, and any team that did acquire him would risk being left hanging when he does.
Maybe Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski thinks a year with Machado in Boston’s clubhouse would be enough to change his perspective. They would definitely have the money to make a competing offer when that time comes. If they welcome him with open arms and make him feel comfortable, a year from now that feud could be a distant memory, thus improving their chances to re-sign him. It seems like a long shot, but that would have to be the rationale behind Boston even considering parting with a package of prospects to acquire Machado.
From the Orioles perspective, trading Machado now would definitely make sense. He’s one of several core players who will be free agents next winter. With the Orioles not likely to be a serious contender this season anyway, getting a package of prospects would start the rebuilding process that seems inevitable.
Machado has no trade veto power right now, so the Orioles could move him anywhere they see fit. If business dictated that to be the Red Sox, it would be truly fascinating to see how that entire process, from Angelos’ approval to the players involved, played out. And if Machado did end up in Boston, it would be interesting to see if there’s any apparent awkwardness.
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