This week started what is likely to be a full tear-down of the Orioles roster. Mired with bad contracts (cough Chris Davis cough) and bad players (cough nearly everyone else? cough), Baltimore knew they needed to blow up the entire roster in order to position themselves to compete in the future.
The first major piece came to fruition this week, when the Os traded Manny Machado to the Dodgers for a handful of prospects. It was clear during the All Star game that Machado was going to be dealt (or that there was a handshake deal already) and it would be his last time in an Orioles uniform.
Unsurprisingly, the Dodgers were the favorites due to the season-ending injury to Corey Seager earlier this year. Considering the Orioles will not be able to compete with the behemoths of the AL East any time soon, this transaction was a bit of a ‘no-brainer’.
Today, we look at reactions from around the sabermetric community, to see what they are saying about the deal. Our own Daniel Epstein wrote-up the particulars in a column earlier this week to discuss the trade in some detail.
The initial reaction from O’s beat writer Roch Kubatko emphasizes the point that Machado has only played for one franchise in his entire baseball professional life, and that will require an adjustment. The only constant in life is change.
Being around Machado the last few days, it's even more obvious how much he's going to miss #orioles. Excited about entering a playoff race - yes, with the Dodgers - but sad to leave behind so many friends/teammates. The losing this year didn't change that. This is tough for him— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) July 18, 2018
The nice thing about this fit is the willingness for all the Dodgers players to play where needed. 15 players on their roster have played more than one position this season, including Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez, and Cody Bellinger. Depending on the daily need, most of the roster is fairly flexible. Although Machado considers himself a shortstop first (we’ll see if the market agrees with that assessment this winter), he’ll log time at third base as well.
Farhan Zaidi: Dodgers plan to play Manny Machado at SS and 3B, says Dave Roberts already has spoken to him about it.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) July 19, 2018
Here’s what is buzzing around the rest of the community:
- The Ringer’s Michael Baumann thinks that the addition of Machado instantly makes the Dodgers an instant NL-favorite. Baumann makes the point that this is a move to help make the Dodgers World Series favorites, since they were likely to win the division even without him. “...this trade is not about merely making the playoffs, but what happens after the Dodgers get to the NLDS”.
Additionally, Baumann points out this is bad news for the other ‘fringey’ contenders in the NL.
“The trade boxes the Phillies and Brewers out of the running for the best player on the market at the deadline, and Machado could’ve been a game-changer for either team since the shortstop situations in both Milwaukee and Philadelphia are even more dire than the one Los Angeles faced.”
It’s an important upgrade in this zero-sum game, considering the Dodgers have played as a mediocre team throughout most of the season.
- 538 however, makes the point that a late-season rental is rarely the difference between a contender and a World Series winner. While the short-term goals are obvious, Neil Paine suggests this is a ‘classic rental’, with the Dodgers unlikely to to sign Machado for 2019 and beyond, due to Seager’s return.
“L.A.’s acquisition does, however, signal that Machado is probably an old-fashioned deadline rental — presumably, he won’t be back next season, with Seager returning to reclaim his familiar spot at shortstop and third baseman Justin Turner also under contract through 2020.”
Dodgers’ General Manager Farhan Zaidi made it sound like that would indeed be the case.
Zaidi on Machado's pending free agency: "This is about 2018 for us. We hope he plays well and creates a good market for himself."— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) July 19, 2018
- FanGraph’s Dave Szymborski looks at the new-and-improved Dodgers in the context of ZiPS, but discusses that the Orioles waited too long to get a top prospect name.
“The truth is, there was never going to be a Walker Buehler in this trade, there was never going to be an Alex Verdugo–Keibert Ruiz–Yusniel Diaz package out there.”
It does make you wonder what the return would have been had the Os dealt Machado last winter.
- Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic views the trade in a historical context, as only two players have ever played in an All Star Game for one team, and finished the season with a different team.
Steven Martano is an Editor at Beyond the Box Score, a Contributing Prospect Writer for the Colorado Rockies at Purple Row, and a contributing writer for The Hardball Times. You can follow him on Twitter at @SMartano