Baltimore Orioles: The problem with the 2018 Manny Machado plan
The Baltimore Orioles have a real problem: Manny Machado and the fact that he will be entering free agency at the end of the 2018 season.
The Baltimore Orioles third baseman is one of the elite players in the game. So, he is expected to earn a hefty salary that the Orioles might not be willing to pay.
Along with the Manny Machado free agency problem, they have other more pressing issues that Machado could help solve.
But, in a post on MLB Trade Rumors on Oct. 1, Dan Duquette shared his plans regarding the Platinum Glove winner. The plan is to keep Machado and attempt to extend his contract. This could potentially at $20 million to the Orioles’ growing salary obligations.
If the Orioles let Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez just leave, the team will have $10 and $13.5 million open up. That could be the amount that covers Machado in 2019. However, the Orioles need pitching or having a player like Machado will be completely pointless.
In the same post on MLB Trade Rumors, Duquette confirms that the Orioles will not be in rebuild mode. So, this suggests that Zach Britton, who occupied $11.4 in salary in 2017 will also be ready for negotiation. The 2018-19 free agency class also includes Adam Jones and Brad Brach, too.
Is keeping Machado realistic?
With so many needs, is it realistic to think the Orioles can afford to keep Machado and Britton, AND find starting pitching that could put them into contention? There is nothing building in-house, so the only pitching that Showalter will be able to use will be men Duquette signs as free agents or acquires through trade.
Unfortunately, there is nothing in the minor leagues worth trading. But, Machado, Britton, and a few other veterans could bring in several worthy prospects. After the 2018 season, most of the veteran players are off the books with the exception of Chris Davis ($21 million), Mark Trumbo ($13.5 million), and Darren O’Day ($9 million). There are several players who will be in arbitration years in 2019 and 2020. But, those needs are not pressing right now in a win-now situation.
More from Orioles News
- Orioles News: Should the O’s Pursue Eovaldi? + More MLB News
- Should the Baltimore Orioles Consider Signing Nathan Eovaldi?
- Orioles News: Predicting the Opening Day Infield and More MLB News
- Last Chance O’s Fans: Bet $40, Win $700 if ONE POINT is Scored in ANY NFL Game This Week
- Predicting the Baltimore Orioles Opening Day Infield
Learning from other teams’ mistakes
The Orioles are in a tough spot and Duquette has to be feeling some pressure. If the Orioles are going to be in win-now mode, they will have to spend. And, possibly trade away the few worthy pieces they have in the minor leagues. The last team to have done this was the Detroit Tigers and it did not work. The Tigers have spent most of 2017 trading brand name players for prospects and they ended up with the worst record in baseball.
There is a big lesson that Duquette could learn from the Detroit Tigers, especially in 2014. In 2015, Max Scherzer entered free agency. But, the Tigers held on to him throughout 2014, despite his immense value at the trade deadline. Dave Dombrowski could not put together a package that would keep Scherzer in Detroit and at the end of the season (after the Orioles swept the Tigers in the ALDS), Scherzer was gone like a fart in the wind. The Tigers got nothing for him, but the sad memories of what could have been and what they could have gotten. Tigers fans are still reeling to this day.
Machado could be the Orioles’ Scherzer.
Next: 87 reasons why we love the Orioles
Duquette can do better. Machado sells tickets and he is a joy to watch, but he cannot win a pennant on his own. Looking at the teams in the 2017 playoffs, they all have one thing in common: outstanding starting pitching – especially the first, second, and even third starters. And, what is one thing that the Orioles do not have: consistent starting pitching. Trading Machado could bring in a motherlode of prospects that could help stock the pitching for the future.