Earlier I wrote about Manny Machado's legacy with the Baltimore Orioles and a couple things that really stood out to me. Now here's some thoughts on the actual trade for Machado.
We knew this was coming for a while
It's always going to be sad whenever a player as good as Machado leaves your favorite team, but people knew there was a pretty good chance his departure was coming through either a trade or free agency.
When the Orioles dropped to 42-49 on July 16 last year, I figured that would've been a good indication that were going to sell and see what 1.5 seasons of Machado could fetch.
Instead they traded Hyun Soo Kim for Jeremy Hellickson and did basically nothing else in a trade deadline where they somehow managed to avoid buying and selling.
Either way, I think people always knew Machado wasn't going to spend his entire career as an Oriole, which makes this less surprising and at least for me, makes it sting less.
It was pretty nice the Orioles let him play in the All-Star Game
It's entirely possible the Orioles could have had a trade completed and sent Machado to Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Milwaukee between the announcement of the All-Star Game starters on July 8 and game itself on July 17.
Machado appeared in eight games between the announcement and the game itself and during any of those eight games it's entirely possible that he could've suffered a season-ending injury ruining the future of the team. Of course, that didn't happen.
By holding off on a Machado trade, the Orioles made sure his final game in an Orioles uniform was on the game's biggest stage, playing with the best players in the league. It was not a random game against the Texas Rangers, it was a game where everyone got to see him wear the orange and black one last time.
I'm really glad he went to an NL team, especially the Dodgers
The Orioles have no say in what Machado does in free agency and it's entirely possible he ends up going to the New York Yankees. However, they did have a say in where Machado would spend the rest of the 2018 season and he will be spending it in the National League.
It's more than likely the best packages offered for Machado did end up coming from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies and the team didn't have to choose between a good package for from an NL team and an even better package from the Orioles' rival. Regardless, I think everyone in Birdland was relieved he did end up going to a team that the Orioles won't be facing this season.
I think the Dodgers in particular are a cool team for Machado to play for given their World Series drought, despite a recent run of playoff appearances. The Dodgers have made the playoffs five years in a row, but have fallen victim to #CardinalsDevilMagic twice as well as the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs and most recently the Houston Astros.
The Dodgers have had plenty of money and talent to win their division five straight years, but have yet to win the big one. Machado has the chance to be the kind of player who can finally change their fortunes and go down as a Dodgers legend even if he leaves once he becomes a free agent.
From this perspective, it would have been even cooler if he went to the Brewers and helped win them their first World Series, but it's still pretty neat to think about Machado getting the chance to be the player that ends the Dodgers' five-year run of never quite being good enough and gets Los Angeles their first title since 1988.
We're really not going to have any clue if this was a good trade or not for a few years
The Brewers and Cleveland Indians made a trade about ten years ago which was probably one of the most successful rentals in MLB history.
The Brewers gave up a handful of prospects and in exchange they earned themselves nearly three months of CC Sabathia to push them to their first playoff appearance since 1982.
It was a good decision by the Brewers, who enjoyed 130.2 innings from Sabathia where his ERA was a ridiculous 1.65. His otherworldly pitching helped them win the NL Wild Card.
When the Indians traded away their ace, the star of the deal was expected to be Matt LaPorta. Take this passage from an ESPN article when the deal was completed.
Milwaukee sent Cleveland outfielder Matt LaPorta, pitchers Rob Bryson and Zach Jackson and a player to be named. Shapiro said the player to be named would be one of two specified in the deal.
Melvin said the Brewers' strong farm system gave him flexibility to deal away a good prospect.
"Matt LaPorta is going to be a good big league player, and I hope he is," Melvin said.
Guess who the player to be named later was? Michael Brantley.
Brantley finished third in AL MVP voting in 2014 and was pretty clearly the best player in the deal yet we didn't even know he was in the deal when it was finalized and reported on. LaPorta, meanwhile, had a career -1.0 bWAR.
Yusniel Diaz is expected to be the star of the trade but for all we know Rylan Bannon could make seven All-Star Games while Diaz never has a wRC+ above 105.
It's not a revelation to say evaluating prospects is by and large a crapshoot, but it's something we have to keep in mind. We're not going to know how good this trade ends up being for the Orioles for a while.