Dan Duquette, Orioles Understand Trading Manny Machado Seems Inevitable

Machado has been linked to the Cubs in trade speculation.

Bruce Levine
May 19, 2018 - 6:37 pm
Orioles shortstop Manny Machado

Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports

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By Bruce Levine--

(670 The Score) As the Orioles sat at 14-30 and 15.5 games off the pace in the AL East entering play Saturday, a trade of star shortstop Manny Machado and possibly other veterans seemed inevitable.

Baltimore general manager Dan Duquette admitted as much, even if there's no set timetable yet regarding the trade market scene.

"We wanted to have a competitive team this year," Duquette said on Inside the Clubhouse on 670 The Score on Saturday morning. "We thought we could contend after we signed (Alex) Cobb. Unfortunately, that is not how the season started. We got off to a horrible start. We didn't really hit much. Our pitching wasn't very good, and our defense wasn't up to speed. We got ourselves in a little bit of a hole here. The Red Sox and Yankees have things together right now. They have great depth to their organization and obviously some great young players.

"At some point, we're going to have to reckon with the fact that some of these players that are currently on our club might be more help to get us players that will help us win in future. We're still taking a look at that."

The 25-year-old Machado is having an MVP-caliber season, hitting .347 with MLB-best marks of 14 homers and 42 RBIs. He's in the final season of his contract, so he's expected to be traded by the July 31 non-waiver deadline. When the Orioles do solicit offers, Machado will be coveted by many teams. That includes the Cubs, who have been linked to Machado in recent trade rumors.

Duquette indicated the Orioles could start listening soon.

"Usually, we try to go to Memorial Day and see where you are on Memorial Day and see what the strength and weaknesses are of the team are and how we can supplement what we need to compete," Duquette said. "I am not sure we will be in that position this year."

The asking price for Machado will be steep. Shortstop Addison Russell and outfielder Ian Happ are the two Cubs who have often found their names tied to Machado trade rumors, and as cost-controlled young players under contract for quite some time, they represent the type of return the Orioles are seeking. 

"Manny is having an offensive year like few guys have had," Duquette said. 

"He has handled (the trade talk) like a pro. I am really impressed with him so much. He has matured so much."

The Orioles received inquiries about Machado in the offseason, but the offers weren't what they were seeking. The catch now, of course, is that any team adding Machado knows it could lose him after just a few months, which Duquette is well aware of. After that, Machado 

"The issue for the Orioles would be, 'Will the Orioles ultimately trade a player who's on his way to a Triple Crown or possibly MVP season?'" Duquette said. "That's an issue for the club. And in the offseason, there were some teams interested in Manny, but there wasn't a lot of talent coming back. Because teams know it's going to take a lot of money to re-sign Manny. So if a team wants a player as good as Manny Machado is, it's to help them not just get into the playoffs. It's to get into the playoffs and win the pennant and World Series. There will be a few teams like that. But whether we will match up with them or not, I don't really know the answer to that yet."

Perhaps surprisingly, the interest in Machado of late has been minimal, Duquette said.

"Our scouts have ben working," Duquette said. "We haven't had that many calls, frankly. There are some teams that thought they would be in contention that aren't in contention. And then there are some other teams that are still evaluating their own ball club. We really haven't gotten that many calls. There are some teams that are going to be looking to bolster their bullpen, and we have Zach Britton, who's going to be a free agent at the end of the year. He's going to come back (from injury) at the end of the month. We also have another closer in Brad Brach. So I think you'll see a number of teams that are trying to bolster the bullpen. There are every year. So I think you'll see more activity there. 

"The selectivity of the position players, I think that's kind of hit or miss. I think it will be a robust market for relief pitchers."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.​​