If Dan Clark of The Big Leagues Daily is to be believed, things could be getting interesting for the Cleveland Indians very soon:
Now hold on, I SAID HOLD ON. This is in no way indicative that a trade is immanent. Or that a trade is even in the works. This could’ve amounted to the following:
Mike Chernoff: “Hey Danny D, u up?”
Dan Duquette (Orioles GM): “What’s good, Chernie?”
MC: “Well I’ve heard that you’re looking to trade Manny. That true?”
DD: Seen 11:42 AM
Joking aside, it does look like there is talk between the two clubs about a potential move of the All-Star third baseman. If a trade were to materialize, it would be a significant price for the Indians. Earlier reports said that the Orioles were looking for “two starting pitchers that they can control for “at least the next four or five years”. That should signal Triston McKenzie as a starting point, and the Orioles would be foolish to take a deal from Cleveland that doesn’t involve the Tribe’s top pitching prospect. It would also probably involve Danny Salazar (excuse me while I sob quietly) since the Orioles need pitching now.
It’s also been reported that Machado may return to playing shortstop instead of third base, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter has confirmed that Machado is slated to play short in 2018 for the Orioles. That may work for the Orioles, but there’s no way that anyone is going to displace Francisco Lindor at shortstop for the Indians. If Machado were to come to Cleveland, it would have to be to play third base, which would shift Jose Ramirez over to second base and probably send Jason Kipnis to another team (excuse me while I sob quietly). With that being said, an infield of Alonso-Ramirez-Lindor-Machado is a delightful thought.
The Orioles and Indians are a match made in heaven in terms of trade partners. The Orioles want pitching, which the Indians have in spades, and the Indians want a solid bat to replace Carlos Santana and add some stability to a lineup that, just last season, had a lot of platoons, injuries, and question marks. This trade would be a signal that the Indians are truly going World Series-or-bust. With an abysmal looking AL Central, it’s all but a certainty (barring some horrendous circumstances) that the Tribe will cruise to another AL Central title; Machado would be brought in with the hopes that he could propel the Tribe through the playoffs and to their first championship since 1948. The Orioles, on the other hand, will need some firepower added to their rotation if they hope to compete with the Red Sox and the Giancarlo Stanton-fueled Yankees.
Will Manny Machado make his way to Goodyear in the coming weeks to suit up with the Cleveland Indians? I personally doubt it, but if the Cleveland front office truly believes that the window of contention begins to close after 2018, this may be the player that can put them over the top.