Orioles shortstop Manny Machado crosses home plate after homering.

Kamil Krzaczynski/USA Today Sports

Ostrowski: Comps For Manny Machado's Situation Are Few But Informative

Machado is expected to hit the trade market soon as the Orioles flounder.

Joe Ostrowski
May 23, 2018 - 10:32 pm
Categories: 

By Joe Ostrowski--

(670 The Score) As trade speculation regarding Orioles star shortstop Manny Machado reached a fever pitch this week in Chicago, it's worth asking a question.

Is there a Machado comp for his given situation? Machado, 25, is a three-time All-Star and two-time top-five MVP finisher who will almost certainly be traded in his prime on an expiring contract. The most similar batter to Machado through age 24 just so happens to be a former Cub, Hall of Fame third baseman Ron Santo.

Keep in mind that Machado has moved back to shortstop this season, fulfilling a wish of his. After two months, his Defensive Runs Saved mark is minus-6, the second-worst in MLB. As usual, Cubs shortstop Addison Russell is near the top at plus-6 DRS, good for second-best.

For the most part, pitchers have been the headliners who have been dealt at past trade deadlines. Justin Verlander, Yu Darvish, Jose Quintana and Sonny Gray were traded in 2017. Relievers such as Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Mark Melancon were moved in 2016. 

So recent times don't lend much insight on elite, young position players moving, but we can look further back.

Here's the criteria I used in my pursuit for a Machado comp: a position player who was traded in his 20s as a rental and who absolutely raked for his new club. The final prerequisite is an optimistic assumption, but work with me. It's what anyone acquiring Machado will expect as he submits an MVP-caliber campaign to date.

Mark Teixeira, traded from Braves to Angels on July 30, 2008

The Braves traded Teixeira, in his age-27 season, to the Angels for first baseman Casey Kotchman and pitching prospect Stephen Marek. In 54 games, Teixeira crushed it with a .358/.449/.632 slash line. He produced an absurd 3.7 WAR in one-third of a season for the Angels. Teixeira also hit .467 in the playoffs, but the Angels were eliminated by the Red Sox in the American League Division Series. Teixeira went on to sign a mega eight-year, $180-million contract with the Yankees.

Carlos Beltran, traded from Royals to Astros on June 24, 2004

Houston added Beltran, in his age-27 season, more than a month before the trade deadline in a three-team deal, giving up reliever Octavio Dotel and catching prospect John Buck. Beltran was a 4.5-win player with the Astros over 90 games and led them to the National League wild card. He was scorching hot in the playoffs, hitting eight home runs before the Astros were knocked out by the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. Beltran also went to New York in free agency, but it was the Mets that handed him a seven-year, $119-million deal.

Keith Hernandez, traded from Cardinals to Mets on June 15, 1983

This goes way back, but Hernandez's case is striking. Hernandez was already an MVP and batting champion by the end of his age-25 season in 1979. Four years later, the Mets changed the future of their organization by landing Hernandez from the Cardinals for pitchers Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey. Hernandez produced a 4.4 WAR with a .306 average and .424 on-base percentage in 95 games for the rest of the season.

The Mets finished with 94 losses, but Hernandez stayed in the Big Apple. He would ink a five-year, $8.4-million deal, one of baseball’s biggest contracts at the time. The Mets then went on to win the World Series with Hernandez in 1986. But maybe he’s more famous for his Seinfeld cameo.

None of these teams that traded for the star player made it to the World Series in that given season, but none regretted the big move. Machado may not match these dominant performances, but he has the potential for a better career than all three.

Baseball has changed a lot in the last 35 -- and even last 10 -- years, but maybe we’re overestimating Machado's cost for a few months. If that’s the case, the Cubs will be involved.

Joe Ostrowski co-hosts Hit & Run with Barry Rozner on Sundays at 9 a.m. and is 670 The Score's weekday morning update anchor. Here's a link to his weekly sports betting podcast. Follow him on Twitter @JoeO670.​