The Baltimore Orioles will be paying Manny Machado $16 million this upcoming year. Or someone will be – this much we know. However another AL East third baseman signed a record contract for an arbitration-eligible player on Friday. Toronto signed Josh Donaldson to a one-year $23 million deal. Again, that’s a league record.
So how does this affect Machado, if at all? Well in the interim it doesn’t. Machado will making his $16 million, and Donaldson his $23 million. But it might come 2019. Notice I said might.
Machado is the best third baseman in baseball. He has been for a few seasons. Donaldson’s a darn good player, however. For his career, Machado’s hitting .279; Donaldson chimes in at .277. However in the field is where the two separate a bit. Machado’s fielding at a .967 clip for his career, with Donaldson at .956. Now with that said, while Donaldson’s a great third baseman who’s capable of amazing plays in his own right, neither he nor anyone else has Machado’s range. FACT.
So next season when Machado’s contract is up and he’s looking for a new deal (in Baltimore or elsewhere), don’t think that his agent won’t bring up the fact that a lesser third baseman made $7 million less than Machado in base salary in 2018. (I wouldn’t expect that Machado would feel slighted in his salary this year, because the fact is that he agreed to it in conjunction with the Orioles. If he thinks he’s underpaid, he has himself and his agent to blame for not negotiating a higher one.) From his agent’s perspective, my client is a better player than Mr. Donaldson, and he should be making a higher salary.
Incidentally, Donaldson also did himself a favor because when his deal is up after this season his agent will be negotiating from a position of strength. My client won’t accept a year-over-year salary that’s lower than what he made last season. That’s how the business of sports works, folks. Some might question what the difference is between $16 and $23 million. For regular people, that’s a valid point. But an agent’s response would be $7 million. And that’s a lot.
But remember that above I said that Donaldson’s situation could impact Machado. That indicates that it isn’t set in stone. Machado wants to play shortstop this year, whether it’s with the Orioles or someone else. If in fact he moves back to his natural position, he’ll cease to be the best third baseman in baseball. Not because his skills would have diminished, but because he won’t be playing third base anymore.
If that ends up happening, then using Donaldson’s deal as leverage is going to be much tougher. Negotiating parties will argue you can’t compare these two players and/or their salaries because one’s a third baseman and one’s a shortstop. And that’s a very valid point. But let’s put it this way; both Donaldson and Machado are going to be paid handsomely in 2019 and beyond.
The Baltimore Orioles were very busy yesterday. Ironically, the deadline to sign arbitration-eligible players before a hearing would have in theory been scheduled was 1 PM. However that’s almost a funny-dud type of deadline. Because players and teams often don’t make it to the hearing since they usually come to an agreement well before. Or sometimes the day of the hearing.
All players that the Orioles signed were after that 1 PM deadline. But again, big deal. The first was Manny Machado, who agreed to a salary of $16 million plus incentives. Caleb Joseph signed for $1.25 million, and Tim Beckham for $3.35 million. The big name was obviously Machado…as if the situation involving him wasn’t complicated enough already.
Brad Brach agreed to a $5.165 million deal later in the afternoon. Brach you’ll remember became only the second player in Peter Angelos’ stewardship of the Orioles to beat the team in an arbitration hearing last year. It made him a folk hero of sorts in the Orioles’ clubhouse. The Birds also reached a deal with closer Zach Britton, for $12 million. However keep in mind that he may miss half the season – at least.
That leaves Jonathan Schoop, and Kevin Gausman. So they’ll have arbitration hearings scheduled, but again the sides can reach an agreement before the hearings. I’ve long said that arbitration in MLB is the stupidest process in sports. If you actually go to arbitration the team’s in essence arguing that you, their player, aren’t worth the money that you think you are. Nevertheless, five out of seven players isn’t bad. And my prediction is that neither Gausman nor Schoop ends up going to arbitration.
Many people would argue that the Baltimore Orioles have left the cubbard bare with regard to the minor leagues. That may or may not be true. However another common criticism is that they can’t bring players along into the big leagues. Is that really true?
Perhaps it is with pitchers. Although I would submit that’s a bit overstated. However, the Orioles at one time thought that the likes of Ponson, Cabrera, Bergesen, Matusz, Arrieta, and others would be the future aces of the organization. That didn’t happen. However it appears that they’re hitting on the likes of Gausman, Bundy, and hopefully at some point Harvey.
But there’s another side to this; did Manny Machado not come through the Orioles’ farm system? Did Jonathan Schoop not do the same? How about Trey Mancini? Or Matt Wieters, who’s of course now down in D.C.?
Three of the aforementioned four are current starters on the Orioles right now. You can also add Caleb Joseph and even Chance Sisco to that list as well. (We don’t quite know what Sisco is or what he’s going to be, however at some point he’ll be a starter if he isn’t already.) So that’s somewhere between four and five out of six players who are expecting to see considerable playing time, and who are considered great players – all of whom came through the Orioles’ minor league system. And again, you can throw Gausman and Bundy in there as well.
So my point is this; is it really fair to say that the O’s can’t bring players through their system? Regardless of where he ends up and when, Manny Machado will always be a veteran of the Orioles’ farm system. So will the rest of them. That should speak volumes to people about the quality of coaches and instructors in the organization.
I’m on record as saying that if the Baltimore Orioles are going to trade Manny Machado, it absolutely can’t be within the AL East. To me, the reasoning for this is obvious. However I’m seeing a lot of progressive-type thinking, which leads me to believe that people aren’t necessarily against the idea.
Teams don’t make trades for no reason. They make them to better themselves. In the Orioles’ case, trading Machado wouldn’t make them better…for now. But it could make them better in the future. A team trading FOR Machado is going to be better right now. Get that? RIGHT NOW. Still think trading in the division is a good idea?
Now on the flip side, you’re taking prospects away from your division rivals. And ultimately, it might well be a fair point to ask why you wouldn’t take a deal from say Boston or NY if in fact that’s the best deal out there. If that’s the best the Orioles can do, is it really smart of them to turn the offer down? Isn’t that akin to cutting off one’s nose to spite their face?
Perhaps it is. But ask yourselves…do the Orioles really need to make a deal? If anything, if they wait until the trade deadline and re-evaluate things based on the first half, they might get more for him than they otherwise would have. (If they decide to trade him at that time.) But the Orioles don’t need to worry about getting his salary off the books for any reason. So it’s not wise to take a deal just for the sake of making one.
And it’s not wise to basically help out your main competition. Yet many fans seem to question why the Orioles wouldn’t listen to offers from New York. And I suspect they’d be the same ones who would in turn question the Orioles further when thousands of fans come into Camden Yards wearing pinstriped Machado jerseys. Why did they do that? How could they do that?
I suppose that new school thinking says that you should at the very least consider trading within your division if the opportunity arises. But just because something’s new doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better.
The Baltimore Orioles are still actively taking offers for third baseman Manny Machado. Over the weekend we heard once again that the New York Yankees had called on the Orioles regarding Machado. They’re interested – big time. However neither they nor any other team has been willing to offer the Orioles want they want and quite frankly what they deserve and need for Machado: pitching.
However that aside, there’s one part to this story that hasn’t been reported for awhile. When we first heard that the Orioles were shopping Machado (about a month ago), part of the narrative was that he wanted to play shortstop moving forward. And part of the Orioles’ methodology was that they didn’t have a need for him at shortstop, so they thought the timing might be right to trade him.
But we aren’t hearing too much about that any longer. In fact, we’re hearing about teams like New York who want him, but who do have a hole at third base. With Gregorious set as NY’s shortstop, Manny Machado would be guarding the hot corner in the Bronx if that’s where he went. Ultimately the Orioles probably don’t care too much about that, nor should they. At that point he’d be someone else’s issue if he wasn’t happy at third.
But was that either Machado’s agent or perhaps Machado himself saying that he simply wanted out of Baltimore? If that were the case, you might take a moment of pause and concern. Why would Manny Machado want out of Baltimore? By all accounts he’s never had an issue with anyone in the clubhouse, or the coaches, etc. He’s also said all the right things about the organization, and how he wouldn’t mind staying in Baltimore.
It’s hard to say, because few players are truly candid these days. Nor should they be. Most players are going to talk about what a class organization of which they’re a part and so forth, and how they really like being there. Who knows how true any of that is for any player. But one would hope that we could take Machado at his word.
We know that the Baltimore Orioles need pitching. We also know that they’re trying to deal Manny Machado. Seems simple enough, right? If a non-AL East team has pitching prospects that they’re willing to deal, they can have Machado.
The issue however is that the pitching prospects haven’t been on the offer table on the part of other teams. Now teams have thrown a few decent offers the Orioles’ way, however none of them have been for what the Birds want to get in return for Machado.
So the question is whether or not the Orioles should simple take the best offer out there and deal Machado. My stance personally is that it would be a bad idea. It would indicate that the goal is to either just get Machado off the roster (which I don’t think is the case), or that they’re willing to take anything. In essence, they’re willing to be bullied into taking whatever someone else is willing to pay.
And in sports that’s a very dangerous trend to begin. It allows opposing teams to think they can wiggle your top players away from you for peanuts. The Chicago Cubs reportedly offered the Orioles a package that included SS Addison Russell in exchange for Machado. Russell’s a good player, without a doubt. However…the Orioles don’t need a shortstop. They traded for Tim Beckham last summer.
As big a shot in the arm as Beckham was, I would submit that Russell’s a better shortstop. Beckham himself would probably agree! However there’s no point in upgrading a position that doesn’t in theory need to be upgraded, especially if it takes you away from the prize that you really want: pitching.
So again in my view the Orioles are doing the right thing by either standing pat or waiting for the right deal. This is a hall of fame caliber player in Machado with which we’re dealing; other teams should recognize that.
Over the weekend reports emerged that the Baltimore Orioles had continued interest from Boston regarding Manny Machado. And that in and of itself is interesting. Multiple people around baseball have suggested that there would be some response from Boston after New York acquired Stanton from Miami – might Manny Machado be that response?
I’ve said before that it’s a bad idea to trade within the division. Of course various people who think it’s fashionable to go against-the-grain in anything and everything wonder why. The answer should be obvious, but the fact is that teams don’t make trades to help another club improve itself. Boston wants Machado because he would in theory make them better.
Obviously however, it’s not that one-sided. If the Orioles were going to listen to trade offers from a division rival, it would have to include a huge haul – heavy on pitching at that. So Boston would deal with the Orioles for a price. Again though, not a good idea to deal within the division.
Then there’s also the matter of Machado not being a huge fan of the Boston organization given the situation with them throwing at him after a takeout slide involving Pedroia on the base paths. Machado didn’t mince words about how he felt about the situation. However if the Orioles had a deal in place to send Machado to Boston, there would be little he could do about it. He doesn’t have a no-trade clause.
Again if the Orioles were seriously going to listen to an offer from a division rival, the return would have to include pitching. And the tug-of-war since the winter meetings has been that nobody wants to give up anything of value in that department for what amounts to one year of Manny Machado. But for the Red Sox or anyone else, could the Orioles not pull off a sign-and-trade?
That’s another column for another day – perhaps tomorrow or the next day! However the fact is that Boston’s showed a continued interest. I do believe that the Orioles need to play it safe here and ensure that a division rival doesn’t have Manny fall into their laps. On the flip side however, if you had the opportunity to gut the farm system of a division rival, do you not take that chance?