Orioles infielder Manny Machado will almost certainly be traded prior to the July 31 non-waiver deadline, and as we work our way toward that vital date on baseball's calendar the rumors are ramping up. Here's the latest Machado buzz from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
Machado is of course in his walk year, and he's thus far enjoying a career year at the plate (160 OPS+ with 21 home runs in 88 games), as well as manning shortstop on an everyday basis. Given that the Orioles are terrible and have no shot at re-signing him, he's on the block.
As for the specifics of Rosenthal's report, the Dodgers and Brewers make sense as front-runners. The Dodgers of course lost franchise shortstop Corey Seager to Tommy John surgery, and that in tandem with the lack of production at second base has left them thin in the infield. Adding Machado and installing him at short ( ) would allow L.A. to shift Chris Taylor to second base and thus plug that hole.
On another level, Machado certainly seems bent on testing the market, but the Dodgers' resources and the charms of Southern California could allow them to make the most of what amounts to an exclusive negotiating window with Machado. Again, it seems unlikely that Machado is going to sign an extension with any team, but the Dodgers may be in the best position to persuade him otherwise.
The Brewers, meantime, are locked in a mortal struggle with the favored Cubs in the NL Central. Milwaukee is a contender with or without Machado, but it's worth noting that this season Brewers shortstops (mostly Orlando Arcia) have combined to bat just .201/.256/.302. Machado would obviously address that shortfall in a very direct way. While we're not accustomed to thinking of the Brewers as major players in recent years, bear in mind that over the winter they signed Lorenzo Cain and dealt for Christian Yelich, among other moves. They're very much behaving like contenders these days, and it's no stretch to think of them as being highly active in Machado talks.