The Diamondbacks continue to make a push to land Orioles infielder Manny Machado. Machado is in his final year of team control with the Baltimore Orioles, with the O’s not looking too good in 2017. Machado lines up pretty well with the Diamondbacks in terms of a trade. The team is looking to make 1 big push to build on their 2017 success while most of their core is still intact. In addition, Machado has wanted to play shortstop and the Diamondbacks will be easily able to accommodate that wish with Jake Lamb as the incumbent starter at 3B and they can move Ketel Marte from SS to 2B.
There are four prospects I would absolutely be against moving for Machado and that’s Pavin Smith, Jon Duplantier, Taylor Clarke, and Daulton Varsho. In the case of Duplantier and Clarke, both guys are safe bets to be in the rotation by the end of 2019, if not the start of 2019. I would be a bit hesitant to include Banda in the deal given that the next prospect behind Duplantier with a future in the starting rotation is Jose Almonte, who’s coming off a strong season in Visalia. Almonte’s timetable is late 2019/early 2020 if things go right in AA.
The inclusion of Drury in the deal suggests that the organization sees him as the most expendable infielder on the roster. While Drury has experience at 3B and 2B at the MLB level, the team has better players entrenched at those positions although you can argue Drury is a better player than Chris Owings. If the team added Machado, Drury’s at-bats evaporate. Ketel Marte is the best middle infielder in the organization, so he’s going to play over other options at 2B.
Earlier this week, the Orioles and Machado settled to a $16M salary. That seemingly puts cold water on this rumor, although you can’t say never until the Dbacks front office stops asking. In Ken Rosenthal’s piece, the Diamondbacks have included 2B Brandon Drury and LHP prospect Anthony Banda in a hypothetical trade discussion. Earlier this offseason, the team balked at the idea of sending Lamb over to Baltimore in a deal. I’m not sure this deal will happen because I think other teams can offer a package that’s more to the Orioles liking and the Dbacks might not have the payroll space to absorb that $16M salary unless Ken Kendrick opens up the wallet for this one opportunity.