There are just 21 position players with more fWAR than Manny Machado through their age-24 season. Of those, two are active (Bryce Harper and Mike Trout). Of the rest, and not counting Alex Rodriguez, only three have not made the Hall of Fame: Cesar Cedeno, Vada Pinson, and very likely Andruw Jones. That means that, of those 21, 85% are Hall of Fame caliber, or on that current track.
I would usually say that players like this don’t become available too often, but Giancarlo Stanton is 32nd on that list (just a shade above Barry Bonds, Roberto Alomar, and David Wright), and he is now in pinstripes. That statement generally stands, though, and Machado is likely to be on the block.
The issue, as we know, is that the Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos has no interest in trading with the Yankees, despite the fact that the only other suitors are the White Sox, Phillies, Giants, and Cardinals. The Yankees being the winner has been described as a near impossibility, by some, but I honestly find the whole debacle a bit ridiculous.
The Orioles are in the position where they likely need to rebuild, and they need pitching. They Yankees have pitching in abundance—Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, and Al Abreu would headline any such deal. Yet, the Orioles rebuked any such offer, waiting on better offers from teams who, frankly, would be wasting their prospects on a one-year rental. This is where it gets complicated. There could be an additional swap, the Orioles trading to one team and then that team flipping Machado to the Yankees:
White Sox are very interested in trading for Manny Machado, and would then potentially trade him to the Yankees in return for prospects. Yankees don't like their chances of trading directly with Orioles. Phillies are also interested, with Cardinals and Giants the others in talks.— Dan Clark (@DanClarkSports) December 14, 2017
Knowing the White Sox would explore trading Machado to the Yankees, will this affect the Orioles' willingness to trade him to Chicago in the first place? I suspect it would. I'm certain nobody in Baltimore wants to see Machado in pinstripes next season (or beyond).— Dan Clark (@DanClarkSports) December 14, 2017
Because Dan Duquette has claimed that offering an extension negotiation window is off the table, this not only lessens the return, but boxes them into a corner. If the Orioles can’t trade with the Yankees, and they can’t trade with a team that will ultimately trade with the Yankees, then it means they’re either holding on to him until the deadline, or they will take their Cardinals Luke Weaker and Jack Flahery-led deal and they will like it. It’s insane, it’s inefficient, and it could hurt their franchise for years down the road. Anyway, on to how this affects the Yankees.
There are a lot of fans who are opposed to this type of move. In the Stanton deal, they did not give up major prospects. In the Sonny Gray deal, they gave up one (or two, depending on your opinion) top 100 prospect. In this deal, they would likely give up two of their best arms to get Machado for a rental. Yet, I am all for something like this.
Call me crazy, and I have had faith in Yankees prospects of late, but now is the time to tighten the screws on the league. The Orioles, Jays, and Rays are in disarray, and the Bombers are one big move away from making themselves definitively better than the Red Sox. Gerrit Cole, Chris Archer, Michael Fulmer, and even a free agent like Alex Cobb or CC Sabathia likely helps too, but acquiring Machado makes this offense a generational talent. A lineup headlined by Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Stanton, and Machado isn’t overkill, it is a capstone on turning a rudderless, dead Yankees team into a reborn juggernaut.
I get why people are opposed, and you all may in fact be right. It is one year, after all, and the possibility it puts the Yankees in the position of extending him are... dubious, at best. There are no guarantees he loves it so much that the Yankees would get some hometown discount, especially considering the buzz around that offseason writ large. This is more of an appeal from the emotional side, a side that just wants to see a Yankees team I would put together in MLB The Show, not in real life.
The odds are slim, and my money would likely be against Machado in pinstripes. Prospects may be better suited towards Cole, Archer, or Fulmer, sure, but watching what could be one of the greatest lineups of our lifetime would also be something worthy of awe. However this wild trade season ends, the Yankees are going to find themselves in a very favorable position.