Manny Machado is having an excellent season thus far. He is hitting .308 (8th in AL) with 21 HRs (7th in AL), 59 RBIs (3rd in AL), a .937 OPS (7th in AL) and 7 steals. The three-time All-Star is in a contract year and will cost some major prospects to acquire his talents.The Phillies are sitting one game back of the Braves and could really use Machado to replace Scott Kingery’s .607 OPS which is last of all qualified shortstops in the National League. Kingery has potential but has not done much for the Phillies 2018 playoff run. In the off-season, the Orioles were looking for two quality pitching prospects in return for Machado. The Phillies have plenty of arms in their system including 19-year-old RHP Sixto Sanchez. Sixto has a 2.51 ERA with 45/11 K/BB ratio in 46.2 IP in High-A this season. He could really help the Phillies sway the Orioles into taking their prospect package over opposing contenders. The Phillies could also add RHP Franklyn Kilome to the trade package who posted a 2.59 ERA in 97.1 IP with an 83/37 K/BB ratio in High-A last season. Machado for Sanchez and Kilome would be a great trade for Baltimore considering how late they waited to deal their star. Machado would give the Phillies a chance to contend in 2018.
If Machado to Philadelphia does not get done, expect the battle for Manny to be in the National League West. The division is currently undecided with Arizona and Los Angeles sitting at the top tied for first. The Diamondbacks could really use a boost at the shortstop position. Nick Ahmed is the current shortstop residing in Arizona, with an abysmal .223 BA, 10 HRs, and 33 RBIs. Adding Manny Machado to the line-up that already features A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt would help break the tie between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers for the NL West. Chris Taylor has been holding down the shortstop position for Los Angeles while young phenom Corey Seager is on the shelf for Tommy John surgery for the rest of the season. He has been more than serviceable with a .264 BA, 10 HRs, and an .822 OPS. If the Dodgers were to acquire Machado they could move Taylor back to his utility role that helped make the Dodgers so successful in 2017. There is a good chance Machado lands on one of these teams which would decide the NL West.
The Diamondbacks would have to give up at least one top prospect and first-baseman Pavin Smith is the most likely to go. Smith hit .318 with an .816 OPS in the Northwest League in 2018 but has struggled this season at the plate. Even so, he was a 2017 first round pick and has a ton of potential. They are going to have to give up lesser prospects as well but should have the prospects to get the deal done. As for the Dodgers, look for 19-year-old Catcher Keibert Ruiz to be dealt if a Machado trade were to go down. He is the most valuable prospect that would not be deemed untradeable like rookie standout Walker Buehler. Mitchell White (23-year-old RHP) is another name that could be thrown around in trade talks.Wherever Machado lands, expect him to impact a playoff run and potentially decide an entire division. The Diamondbacks seem like the most likely landing spot as they need him the most out of serious contenders. The Phillies certainly have a need and the ammo to get the trade done, but I do not consider them legitimate World Series contenders and would not give up a prospect like Sixto Sanchez just to get into the conversation.
Scott Neville – Head Baseball Writer – WTF Sports