We’ll just call this some Friday fun, as the Chicago Cubs are mentioned prominently:
a baker's dozen of teams that could play for manny machado as a free agent. includes the 9 teams that tried to trade for him, 3 others, plus the o's, course. https://t.co/fOnzaKNv6J
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) April 12, 2018
Yes, the Cubs are among those teams, having previously talked to the Orioles about a trade for Manny Machado before this season (can you imagine how things would look right now if something like that had happened? Certainly weird to mull, and that whole era of rumormongering was just so strange). Jon Heyman has the Cubs behind only the two most obvious landing spots – the Yankees and Phillies – in the race for Machado, who, like Bryce Harper, will be a rare 26-year-old superstar free agent after this season.
Like I said: at this point in the year, this is mostly just for fun.
I do think it’s fair to include the Cubs in these kinds of speculative write-ups, though, for a number of reasons:
- For one, it’s fairly well accepted at this point that, whatever the offers were, the Cubs did have interest in trading for Machado before this season (knowing that the price would be extremely high, and he’d be a free agent after the year). They must like him, and how he coordinates with the rest of the core.
- For another, if you believe the Cubs would accommodate Harper by moving other guys around and/or making trades, then it’s in the same range of plausible that they would do it for Machado, even if the positional questions are slightly more complicated.
- For still another, 26-year-olds who can put up 6+ WAR seasons just don’t become free agents every day. If he’s at all interested in your club, you make sure to have some dialogues and consider what is possible. It would be irresponsible not to.
- And for still another, the Cubs went to great lengths to stay under the luxury tax this year so that spending aggressively this coming offseason – if they chose to do so – would not be quite as painful. Moreover, Theo Epstein has already indicated that if the right opportunity came along, the Cubs would still be able to spend big even after making a big commitment to Yu Darvish this offseason.
Heyman recently performed this same exercise with Harper, whom he actually had as a longer shot to the Cubs than Machado. The mathematical reality of either of these players is that the Cubs are far more likely to get neither one than to get one of them. The contracts they receive will be otherworldly, and, although the Cubs certainly have the money available to support that kind of deal, that doesn’t mean they’re a lock to be the team that does it.
Moreover, you’ve got so many large market teams either in a competitive window or just about to emerge from a rebuild that I could think of a ton of immediate potential suitors for these guys – Angels, Rangers, Astros, White Sox, Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Nationals, Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Giants possibly among them.
Yes, it’s realistic that the Cubs could be in on these guys. I’m just saying, keep your expectations that they actually land one in check.