Baltimore Orioles star third baseman Manny Machado is being inquired by other teams, suggesting a trade for the 25-year-old is imminent. Machado - a three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, is entering the final year of his contract - and is sure to earn a huge payday next winter.
Many believe the Orioles should hold onto their star player and work out a long-term extension, or at least give it one more shot in the postseason with Machado. But that doesn't exactly make a ton of sense, and the Orioles would be better off trading their star player while they can.
Here are five reasons why the Orioles need to trade Manny Machado this winter.
5. Orioles Need To Save Money
The Orioles have a lot of players they're going to have to re-sign over the next couple of seasons. This includes Trey Mancini, J.J. Hardy, Jonathan Schoop, Tim Beckham, Brad Bach and Zach Britton.
Baltimore got badly burned from the huge contact they gave to former 50-home run man, Chris Davis. They don't have the financial resources to pay everyone top dollar. Machado is easily going to cost at least $200 million, and the O's would be better off spreading that money around keeping their other top players.
Pouring that much into one guy just isn't worth it.
4. Cleaner Clubhouse
Machado undoubtedly makes the Orioles a much team, but the man is known for having a hot temper that has landed him in hot water.
During an April game against the Boston Red Sox, Machado delivered a dirty slide into Dustin Pedroia, who had to miss three games. Over the course of the next two weeks, multiple Red Sox hitters appeared to have intentionally tried to hit Machado. Back in 2014, he also sparked an all-out team brawl against the Oakland Athletics, receiving an ejection from the game.
In baseball, a calm and cool clubhouse goes a long way. Unfortunately for Machado, he's been involved in way too many incidents. Perhaps the Orioles are better off trading him and clearing out any tension in the locker room.
3. His Value Is At Its Highest
For his standards, Machado's 2017 season could be labelled a disappointment. He did have 33 home runs and 95 RBI, but he batted just .259, had a .310 OBP and .781 OPS - all well below his career averages.
Machado's defence wasn't that great, either. He registered 14 errors and posted a defensive WAR of 2.3 - also below his standards. If the Orioles were to hang on to him and then look to shop him at the deadline, they'd be playing with fire.
What if Machado has another off year? Teams will be weary of giving up so much young talent for him. Despite the down 2017 year, Machado's value remains sky-high, so now's the time for Baltimore to maximize the return.
2. Restock the Farm System
The Orioles farm system is one of the worst in baseball, with Chance Sisco their only prospect ranked in the top 100 by Baseball America. Seeing how AL East rivals like the Red Sox and New York Yankes have excellent young cores, the O's really could use a boatload of top-tier prospects to build the franchise around.
Machado is easily giving the Orioles two or three elite prospects, which is what the organization is lacking most right now. The Chicago White Sox are reportedly pushing hard to land Machado, and they have baseball's top farm system. They should have no problem supplying the O's with some great young pieces for the long-term future.
1. Machado Is Leaving In 2018
Whether the Orioles want to come to reality with it or not, Machado is more than likely leaving the team next winter - if he's not traded by then.
Machado is one of the league's elite young players, and will be playing at an MVP-caliber level for years to come. He's earned the right to chase big money next offseason, and it could come from a championship contender like the St. Louis Cardinals or even the New York Yankees.
There isn't any sense in keeping around a superstar that you can't re-sign. Even with Machado, the Orioles have too many flaws to be a playoff contender in 2018 and beyond. Now's the time to trade him and look forward into the future.