The Manny Machado mid-summer sweepstakes are over. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles announced that they have struck deal for one of the best players in the game. The Dodgers were on-again off-again favorites for Machado, and for a while it seemed as if the Yankees might pull of a bit of magic and land the prize of the summer market. In the end, the Dodgers came through with the deal that Orioles owner Peter Angelos felt was best for the franchise.
The deal almost didn’t happen. On Tuesday, reports were that a deal had been struck in principle, but one of the prospects the Dodgers were slated to send to Baltimore fell through on their physical. The two sides got together in the afternoon to try to hammer out a deal again as the key player in the Dodgers offer, Yusniel Diaz, was still on the table and cleared his medical screening. The Orioles went for a big package of minor leaguers surrounding Diaz to complete the deal, and also assumed the full $6.3 million left on Macahdo’s contract for the remainder of the season.
Joining Diaz in the deal are right-handers Dean Kremer and Zach Pop, along with infielders Rylan Bannon and Breyvic Valera, according to MLB Trade Rumors. None are expected to make an impact for the Orioles this season, and may serve as trade bait when restructuring over the winter. Bannon is considered to be near ready to make the jump to the bigs, and if the Orioles get much worse, he may be called up to see what he has. Valera has been up to the majors for a cup of coffee, but has not amassed enough plate appearances to judge his ability at that level.
Diaz is the key player for Baltimore, and he is ranked as the best player in their farm system right now. Diaz would be two years away from the majors if he remained with a contending team, but in Baltimore there is an outside shot of him making the roster next season, possibly even getting a fall call-up this season just to see how life is in the bigs. Diaz has been compiling impressive offensive numbers this season in Double A posting a.314/.428/.477 line. He only has six homers and eight steals, which is not what you ideally want from a guy pegged to be right fielder at the major league level, but he has time to mature at the plate still.
For the Dodgers, they get one of the most potent offensive weapons in the game as a rental. A natural third baseman, Machado’s defense at shortstop is still rated below average, but his bat makes up for what his glove is giving away. He may improve over the second half of the season, but the odds are what you see is what you get. Most analysts agree that the trade takes the Dodgers up a notch and makes them a favorite to go deep into the postseason. For the Orioles, they shed payroll, get something back on a player they were going to lose to free agency, and maybe get one or two guys that might play for them in the future.