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Orioles may hold onto Manny Machado for time being

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

It doesn't appear the Philadelphia Phillies are going to make a serious push to trade for Baltimore Orioles superstar Manny Machado. For the time being, the Orioles may not trade him at all. 

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, general manager Dan Duquette and the Orioles may elect to hold onto Machado, who a serious market has yet to develop for: 

The Baltimore Orioles, to this point dissatisfied with the trade offers for star third baseman Manny Machado, intend to pull him off the trading block in a couple days if the offers don’t improve, sources say.

Baltimore has been seeking young, controllable talent in return for Machado, generally considered to be one of the top five players in the game, but the Orioles will “move on to other things” if nobody steps up with what they see as a fair deal perhaps as soon as “today or tomorrow,” according to someone familiar with their thinking.

It is worth pointing out that this report was published shortly before Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Orioles closer Zach Britton had ruptured his Achilles, an injury that will likely cost him a majority (if not all) of the 2018 season. Part of Heyman's report suggested that the Orioles front-office would use the time that they've spent discussing Machado with other teams to evaluate the market for Britton, who can also be a free-agent after 2018. That appears to be off-the-table now. 

Though the Britton injury, in theory, could convince the Orioles that they stand little chance to contend in 2018 and should lower their price for Machado, the guess here is that won't happen. Even prior to the Britton injury or Heyman's report, Jim Bowden of The Athletic reported that there was "doubt" that the Orioles front-office could convince owner Peter Angelos to sign off on trading Machado. 

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If the Orioles do elect to open the 2018 season with Machado still on their roster, that would seem to benefit the Phillies. The Orioles may still ultimately trade Machado prior to the non-waiver trade deadline if they fall out of contention, though even that isn't a lock with Angelos. If they do, the Orioles would seemingly have to lower the price they are asking for Machado now - two controllable starting pitchers - that the Phillies aren't capable of meeting and teams like the Cardinals, who are capableof meeting it, seem uninterested in meeting. 

One holdup in any trade is that the Orioles don't seem like they are willing to include a 72-hour negotiating window to work out a long-term extension with Machado before a trade is completed. Some have criticized Duquette for this, though the Orioles would seem motivated to allow this negotiating window if it increased the return they could get for Machado. That they aren't willing to doesn't suggest that they are being unreasonable or stupid, it suggests that they know Machado wants to test free-agency, and would be unlikely to seriously consider signing a long-term contract right now. 

If he reaches free-agency next offseason, the Phillies, who have more financial flexibility than any big-market team, would seem likely to be a serious player for Machado's services. Many expect the New York Yankees to also make a serious run at the 25-year-old if he reaches free-agency. 


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