A once in a lifetime player, the future of the team. This is what Oriole fans and baseball fans, in general, think about when Manny Machado comes to mind. Manny Machado will be a free agent after this season, and many pundits and fans have been speculating what the future holds for him. Machado, once he hits the market, will be demanding a Giancarlo Stanton type contract, and perhaps the first-ever $400 million contract. Will the Orioles be willing to spend that type of money on a single player? Or will they look to capitalize on his value to begin a rebuilding effort?
Give Machado what he wants
As I mentioned in the beginning, Manny is a once in a lifetime player and the Orioles should do everything in their power to make sure he never wears another uniform in his career. Giancarlo Stanton’s mega-contract set the model for player’s like Machado and Bryce Harper, but many expect them to crush that record set in 2015. Machado could very well bring in excess of $400 million in his next contract, and that contract would expire in his age thirty-six season. This would mean that whatever team signs Manny would have him during his prime years. From the Orioles perspective, Manny would become; if not already, the face of the franchise. The O’s have shown recently that they will do what it takes to keep their star players in Baltimore; Adam Jones 2013, Chris Davis 2016, Darren O’Day 2016, and Mark Trumbo 2017. It’s worth mentioning though that Manny’s contract is projected to be way more than these four signings combined. The Orioles may not have this type of player in their organization for awhile if Manny walks. If the O’s want to stay competitive, then they must do what it takes to keep Manny in the orange and black for the next ten years.
Cash in on Manny
It was reported this week by Jon Heyman that the O’s were receiving and listening to calls on Machado. Heyman named the Yankees and Phillies as potential suitors, but with the Yankees recent acquisition of Stanton, they are seemingly out the race for Machado. Something tells me that a team like the Giants, Dodgers, and Cardinals will soon emerge as potential landing spots for Machado if he is on the move this season. Manny’s stock is through the roof as of now, and the only team that could give a package that would suffice is the Phillies. The Phillies have the number twenty-nine prospect in all of baseball in Mickey Moniak, who Philadelphia selected first in the 2016 MLB draft. Moniak is a four-tool player and is on track to becoming a five-tool player. With his above-average hitting, speed, fielding, and arm, he has the stuff to excite O’s fans. In his first season in the Minors, Moniak had a .236 batting average along with five home runs and forty-four runs batted in. Along with Mickey Moniak, the Phillies could incorporate their current third baseman, Maikel Franco. Franco reminds me of Jonathan Schoop, he has this raw power and fielding ability, but has yet to bring it all together. Franco is beginning to find his power stroke, in 2016 he hit twenty-five home runs and 2017 twenty-four homers. Franco would become the everyday third baseman or possibly the DH, until the O’s draft or trade for his potential replacement. The final piece of this trade would be the Phillies number four prospect and the number fifty-four prospect overall, J.P. Crawford. Crawford is a left-handed hitting shortstop, who has the arm strength to make the move to the hot-corner. With the emergence of Tim Beckham last season, the O’s would need someone to fill the void left behind from Manny. Last season, Crawford batted .243 in Triple-A along with fifteen home runs and sixty-three runs batted in. He did make twenty-three appearances with the Phillies in 2017, batting .214 with six homers and 15 runs batter in. Crawford’s stats in the Majors need to be taken with a grain of salt, he is twenty-two years old, and still has the makeup that many people believe that will make him into a perennial All-Star. The Orioles would have control of these players throughout their prime years and set themselves up for the future.
The Orioles have many questions to answer between now, and July 31, 2018. If the Orioles don’t believe that a deal can be achieved, then they have to cash in on him before they lose him for nothing. Now, if Dan Duquette and Peter Angelos are willing to empty their pockets to keep Manny in town, they must do everything in their power to sign him. The O’s are in the middle, they are at a point where they could become contenders, but also they could fall the other way and become a bottom feeder. This is a make or break year for the Orioles, and this is the first domino that has to fall in order for any progress to be made