Manny Machado was talked about in trade rumors throughout the entire MLB offseason and is still seeing his name mentioned occasionally. Lately, however, there has been one team that has been connected to Machado in particular. That team would be the Chicago Cubs.
Theo Epstein pursued Machado a bit during the offseason, but the Cubs were not terribly aggressive. That has seemingly changed after the Cubs’ slow start to the 2018 season. Now, it appears that the Cubs are focusing on trying to acquire Machado ahead of the MLB trade deadline.
According to a report from MLB insider Jon Heyman, the Cubs view Machado as their “main target” ahead of the trade deadline. That should draw some excitement from Cubs’ fans.
“Machado was speculated by FRS Sports a few weeks back as a likely candidate for the Cubs, with Addison Russell seen as part of a possible package for the Orioles, and word now is that he is the Cubs’ main target at the deadline.”
Thus far in 2018, Machado has been putting up big numbers for the Baltimore Orioles. He has batted.342 batting average to go along with 13 home runs and 38 RBI’s. Those numbers certainly have placed him in contention for the American League MVP award at the end of the season if he stays in the AL and stays on the same pace he has been on.
Chicago’s offense has been going through quite a few consistency issues this season. Addison Russell was one of the names mentioned as the centerpiece of the trade package for Machado. He simply has not performed the way that the Cubs have needed to at the plate.
Russell is still one of the league’s top defenders at the shortstop position. Chicago has also been rumored to be willing to part with Mike Montgomery in the Machado trade, which does intrigue the Orioles. That being said, Chicago would likely have to be willing to include one of their remaining talented prospects.
Machado is a 25-year-old shortstop that is set to hit free agency this coming offseason. Chicago could be giving up an awful lot to acquire half a season of Machado. That is a dangerous move, but Epstein has been known to be aggressive in his pursuit of championships.
It will be interesting to see what happens at the deadline. Other teams like the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, and Boston Red Sox have also shown interest in acquiring Machado. Assuming Baltimore shops him around, there will be quite a few offers from other teams as well.
Expect to see the Cubs end up being one of the most aggressive in trade talks with the Orioles. They seem to want Machado and Epstein usually finds ways to get his guy.