It’s all still speculation in an Orioles offseason in which the front office has been anything but active. At some point the front office will make some moves, they have to; but for now, the entire league seems to be in a standstill. It’s quite possible that everyone around the MLB is simply waiting for someone to overpay for Eric Hosmer and kick-start the market back into a frenzy. Breathe easy, it won’t be the O’s overpaying.
The hometown birds continue to hold their cards close to the vest, but a little rumor slipped into the end of Roch Kubatko’s recent summary of Chris Davis’s interview in last week’s version of the “Orioles Hot Stove Show.” The entire article on Davis is worth the read, but the important tidbit comes at the end where Kubatko mentions that the Diamondbacks had at some point “doubled back” with interest for Machado.
The Diamondbacks aren’t really a new player in the Manny sweepstakes (if you can use that term anymore), but the continued interest is noteworthy because they may be one of the more realistic options in terms of mutual interest. After winning 93 games a year ago, they are looking to contend again in 2018, and could use a major upgrade at the shortstop position. Manny’s bat would certainly help mitigate the assumed loss of JD Martinez in free agency.
Unfortunately for the Orioles, the Diamondback’s farm system ranks in the bottom third of the league and isn’t overflowing with young talent. If the O’s are going to continue to hold out for top guys, it’ll depend how much they really like the arms within the Arizona organization. Names like Anthony Banda, Jon Duplantier, and Taylor Clarke are ones to keep an eye on as far as possible returns.
While Arizona may lack top prospects, if they’re willing to deal the ones that they do have, one would assume they’d be an extremely attractive landing spot in the eyes of Orioles ownership. They’re in the NL, they’re on the west coast, and they’re going to contend. For Peter Angelos, there’d be little worry of Manny getting shipped again at the deadline to a team like the Yankees, and the Diamondbacks aren’t even on the Orioles’ schedule for 2018. Manny would be beating up on everyone except the O’s.
All of this is conjecture at this point, but it’s always worth taking note when teams appear to have legitimate interest in Machado. Fans looking for a good return should be hoping for as many suitors as possible to increase the price to a point where the Orioles front office will be willing to say yes. Whether that day will come is an entirely different discussion, but I still think it will happen before the start of the regular season. The O’s just need a match.
By George Battersby