LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Baltimore Orioles are reportedly shopping Manny Machado.
Baseball Twitter exploded Tuesday after The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Orioles are not just listening to offers for their star third baseman but actively offering him up to other teams.
Machado, of course, has long been desired by the White Sox fan base. A member of the outrageous 2019 free-agent class, Machado’s pending free agency and the lack of a highly touted stud prospect at third base has had rebuild-centric fans eyeing Machado as the free-agent piece that will propel the White Sox into contention. And obviously the idea of Machado playing alongside the likes of Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez and others is extremely alluring.
But while teams are apparently lining up here at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort to get a one-year crack at Machado, the idea of the South Siders making a trade simply makes no sense.
For one, the cost figures to be immense, with the Orioles surely hoping to get a haul of prospects back for a guy who’s been one of the game’s top hitters over the past several seasons. Do the White Sox have that minor league talent? Well, yeah, of course they do. But would they be willing to give up so much after only just accumulating all that talent? No. Why would they?
A trade for Machado — and only one guaranteed year of Machado, for that matter — would puncture holes in Rick Hahn’s carefully laid rebuilding plans.
Machado likely would rather test the free-agency waters than simply sign an extension with whichever team the Orioles would agree to a deal with. That way, he’s likely to get a far bigger contract — and you better believe that contract will be a really, really big one. The White Sox haven’t made a habit of handing out gigantic, lengthy deals. Machado could be the type of special player to change that strategy, but why take that risk before knowing how the rebuild will play out?
The common thinking is that the White Sox will be ready to compete come 2020, and it’s a good bet Machado knows that the team is set up for long-term success. But how can the White Sox know what the fruits of their rebuilding efforts will be by the end of next season? Why would they dedicate so many resources to one player when they don’t know what their needs will be? Even if every one of the highly rated prospects pans out, there will still be holes to plug, holes that might be unpluggable if the resources are spent on one contract.
Rosenthal’s report also included the nugget that Machado is hoping to move back to shortstop, the position he wants to play moving forward. While adding a player the caliber of Machado would obviously mean a team would make room for him, the White Sox are high on their own shortstop of the future, Tim Anderson.
But the bottom line in all of this is that a trade for Machado this week or this winter gets you one thing: Machado for the 2018 season, a season in which the White Sox are not expected to compete for a championship. Next winter, there will be more Twitter buzz about bringing Machado to the South Side, but that at least would only cost the White Sox money. Dealing away any one of the impressive group of prospects for one season of Machado is simply illogical.