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A top player in next year’s star-studded MLB free-agent class could be on the move earlier than expected. Manny Machado is the subject of the latest trade rumors as the Baltimore Orioles explore dealing the third baseman.
The New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants have all reportedly made offers for Machado. The 25-year-old is entering his final year of arbitration before hitting the open market after the 2018 baseball season.
Machado is likely to walk as a free agent and land a contract worth more than Giancarlo Stanton’s record-setting $325 million deal. The Orioles are attempting to trade him before they lose him for nothing in a year.
Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles reacts after striking out while looking in the first inning on Sept. 15, 2017 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo: Abbie Parr/Getty Images
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the White Sox have made the most impressive offer. Chicago has a loaded minor-league system after trading the likes of Chris Sale, David Robertson and Jose Quintana over the last year.
St. Louis has reportedly made a strong offer, as well, though it doesn’t match Chicago’s. The Cardinals had a deal in place to acquire Stanton before the 2017 NL MVP vetoed the trade. The team quickly moved on and acquired outfielder Marcell Ozuna from the Miami Marlins.
The Yankees certainly have the ability to make a strong offer, though it’s unknown if Baltimore would trade their best player to a division rival. New York is considered by many to be the favorite to sign Machado in the 2018-2019 offseason.
Therein lies the problem with trading for Machado. He will essentially be just a one-year rental if he doesn’t commit to signing a long-term contract upon being traded. The third baseman is expected to test the market next year, and Baltimore’s asking price remains relatively high.
The #Orioles are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can move him by the end of the week with the strength of their offers
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 14, 2017
Orioles are still talking to teams about machado but sources say there’s no expectation/belief MM/agent would grant negotiating window for acquiring team at present. So would be 1 year player.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 14, 2017
Source told me 55-45 Machado gets traded. #whitesox #stlcards currently most aggressive. Too many obstacles currently seen to make #Yankees viable. #Orioles
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 14, 2017
Machado won’t turn 26 until July, but he’s already a three-time All-Star. One of the best fielders at his position, Machado bounced back from a slow start last season to finish with 33 home runs, 95 RBI and a .259 batting average. He’s hit more than 30 homers in three straight years, and he’s got three top-10 MVP finishes in his young career.
Machado, Bryce Harper and Josh Donaldson are the top hitters that are set to hit free agency in 2018.
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