In a rare All-Star break blockbuster, Manny Machado has officially been dealt to the Dodgers, in exchange for Yusniel Diaz, Rylan Bannon, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop and Breyvic Valera. My first reaction to the deal was that the Orioles didn’t get enough for Machado … though frequently that’s my reaction when the player dealt is a rent-a-player such as Machado. My cynicism was further fueled because it’s the Orioles, and I’m predisposed to slag any move that they make. Moreover, they didn’t send over any money to help the Dodgers save salary, or more importantly for the Dodgers, luxury tax relief, which strikes me as standard operating procedure for Peter Angelos and the Dodgers.
But that cynicism might not be fair. First, as RotoWire’s James Anderson points out, this deal actually compares favorably to similar deals in recent seasons:
Yusniel Diaz is better than all the prospects in the Yu Darvish trade and all the prospects in the JD Martinez trade combined.
— James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) July 19, 2018
To wit, the Tigers dealt JD Martinez last year in one of the earlier pre-deadline deals last year – a year ago today, on July 18. They received Sergio Alcantara, Jose King and Dawel Lugo. None of those prospects rate on RotoWire’s Top 400 prospects list. Nor are any in the top 10 current Tigers’ prospects, according to MLB Pipeline. The Yu Darvish deal landed the Rangers the services of Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy and Brendon Davis. Calhoun’s status as a prospect has dimmed this year, though at least he’s hitting for average at Triple-A Round Rock. Neither Alexy nor Davis are top-10 prospects in the Rangers’ system.
We also really don’t know what the other offers out there that the Orioles were receiving. How many times have you seen a deal go down in your league and wonder, “… is that all? I could have done better than that!….” But in reality, you didn’t make that super-awesome offer, even though you knew that the team in particular was selling by its presence in the standings, even if that owner didn’t specifically notify everyone in the league that Stud Player A was being made available. It’s on you to put the time in, study his roster, and make that initial offer. Get yourself in the game. If a deal doesn’t get done, at least you tried and started a conversation that might lead to a deal later on.
In the Machado case, *everyone* knew he was on the block, and had been on the block for quite some time now. This very well might have been the best offer that they got. First, there’s some discrepancy in Diaz’s value. MLB Pipeline rated Diaz as the #84 prospect in the game, and the Dodgers’ fourth-best prospect. But we (namely, James Anderson) rated Diaz as the Dodgers’ best prospect and our #24 prospect. The discrepancy only underscores the nature of the enterprise – there’s a pretty wide error bar, and range of opinion.
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Chris Taylor was starting at shortstop with Corey Seager out for the year, but obviously that will change. Second base won’t be open all that often, unless Max Muncy turns back into a pumpkin. So that means that Taylor will need to move back to the outfield, which will get pretty crowded once Yasiel Puig returns from the DL. Taylor will probably play in center field, but the Dodgers also need to make room for Joc Pederson, Matt Kemp, Enrique Hernandez and Puig. Suffice to say, Alex Verdugo is pretty thoroughly blocked into getting significant playing time, as is Andrew Toles, barring a string of injuries.
For the Orioles, this trade should mean that Tim Beckham moves back to shortstop. Jace Peterson and Danny Valencia will get most of the playing time at third base, though a wild card in this scenario is prospect Ryan Mountcastle. Mountcastle has an .879 OPS at Double-A Bowie after missing the start of the season with a hand injury. The O’s have been willing to promote their prospects pretty quickly in the past, so the 21-year old Mountcastle could get the call even before September.