The last time we talked about the Manny Machado-Cubs trade rumors, it was because a report out of Baltimore suggested three players have come up in trade talks with the Orioles: Addison Russell, Albert Almora, and Mike Montgomery. It wasn’t crystal clear from the report whether it was a package offer or demand, but Roch Kubatko, who presented the rumor, speculated that it wouldn’t be enough for the Orioles either way.
After regaining consciousness, I offered that I could certainly see those three names coming up in trade talks, but I cannot credibly see the Cubs offering – for one year of Machado at $17 million – four cost-controlled years of a 23-year-old stud defensive shortstop with offensive upside, five cost-controlled years of a 23-year-old stud defensive center fielder with offensive upside, and four cost-controlled years of a 28-year-old solid swing pitcher with starter upside. Furthermore, if the Cubs did make that offer, I cannot see the Orioles not leaping to accept it. There is either much more to the deal, or the deal does not exist.
Nick Cafardo now reports about the Cubs, Orioles, and Machado, listing the same three names as “reportedly discussed in a package.” Is Cafardo simply referencing the Kubatko report? Or is he offering some of his own confirmation that the three were discussed, explicitly, in a “package”? I am guessing it’s the former, because the swap does not look plausible (or, at most, the Orioles asked for it, and the Cubs declined).
Like I said this week, I’ve come to a place where I will not shred folks who want to swap Russell (and his contract/team control situation) for Machado (and his contract/team control situation). I strongly, strongly disagree with you, but I understand your reasons. But if any of you are out there who want to trade these three guys for Machado, my offer to fight you with fists of fury still stands.
To me, the more meaningful part of Cafardo’s report is his indication that the “most substantive” talks in the Machado trade saga “seem to be with the Cubs.” In other words, according to Cafardo, the Cubs are not merely one of a dozen teams checking in on an available superstar out of a sense of due diligence. Given that Machado is known to be very much on the block, it’s surprising to see the Cubs listed as *the* team most substantively engaged with the Orioles (either previously or currently). We knew they’d been involved at some level, but the most involved? Hmm.
We will have to see if these trade talks extend past the Christmas holiday, and if the Cubs remain “substantively” engaged. Unless the Cubs do swap Russell in a deal for Machado, then acquiring him will presumably involve also making a separate trade involving a Cubs middle infielder, since Machado would very likely be playing shortstop with the Cubs. I am of the opinion that *IF* the Cubs were going to trade Russell, they could get an excellent cost-controlled pitcher for him. And in a world where the Cubs can pull that off, while also picking up Machado for other pieces, well, then, sure, I’m super on-board. But, if I’m being realistic, that’s a lot of moving parts, and would be very difficult to pull off. It’s not like keeping Russell – and his elite defense and offensive upside – is a bad thing.
There were rumblings from the Orioles that they would take Machado off the market if a deal wasn’t struck by the end of last week, but they soon thereafter hedged, and it was a lot of “unlikely” this and “probably” that. If they get an offer they like, they will move him.