It may be early July but rumors are already swirling about where Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado will be traded before the MLB trade deadline at the end of the month.
Two early favorites have emerged – the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers. Both teams would likely attempt to sign the Orioles slugger to a long term deal, as part of a trade, if that is possible.
It is believed Machado wants a long term contract with a team playing in big market and both Philly and Los Angeles fill that requisite. Other teams mentioned in the swirling rumors around Camden Yards are the Cardinals, Cubs Diamondbacks, Indians and Padres.
If Machado does not sign any long term deal with a team he is traded to, expect him to be the most sought after free agent in the market during the offseason.
The Orioles have only won a couple dozen games with half the season played and Baltimore is 31 ½ games behind the fronting running Boston Red Sox in the American League East.
The Orioles are hoping they can win more during the second half of the season in order to avoid setting a record in futility for the franchise for most losses during one season, which the 1939 St. Louis Browns set with 111.
The Orioles are considering a complete rebuild and could receive a jumpstart on that by trading Machado for several top prospects otherwise they will lose him to free agency as soon as the World Series is completed in early November.
Machado has been one of the few bright spots for an Orioles fan this season. Machado leads the Orioles in nearly every offensive category. The slugger is batting .310 with 21 home runs, 59 RBIs and 99 hits. His on-base percentage is .377. He leads the team in each of those five statistical categories.
Baseball pundits believe that only teams that have a legitimate chance to win the World Series this season and are willing to rent Machado for a few months should consider trading for him. The Orioles shortstop is likely going to want to test the free agent market during the offseason rather than sign a long-term deal when traded in July.
However, there are those who believe a long-term deal with the Phillies, Dodgers and a half a dozen other teams is a possibility. The rumors have just started and will reach a frenzy by the time the end of July arrives.