Orioles star third baseman Manny Machado has surged in the second half and reestablished himself as one of the most coveted young players in the game. He’s still just 25, owns a career OPS+ of 117, recently notched his third straight 30-homer season and is an elite defender at the hot corner. He’s also eligible for free agency following the 2018 season.
Given that Machado is so good and will be so young relative to most free agents, he’s going to command a huge contract. Said contract will be more than the Orioles will be willing to pay. As such, perhaps the O’s might be willing to trade Machado in order to get something back for him before he walks. On that front, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports has the scoop …
In any case, there is no evidence they would consider trading him this winter. One Orioles person said in regard to their intention not to trade Machado, “It would take us 35 years to find another player like him.”
That’s a defensible stance, and the O’s can always reconsider leading up to next year’s non-waiver trade deadline if they wind up not contending. So what about a contract extension for Machado? As implied above, he’s too close to free agency for anything to happen now, unless the Orioles came close to market rates. Time was when, however, that the O’s may have been close to inking Machado to a long-term deal.
According to Heyman’s sources, the team was within range of locking up Machado but didn’t quite go high enough. Heyman’s story has the details, and O’s fans might find them frustrating in retrospect. In any case it’s certainly looking like the 2018 season will be Machado’s final one in Baltimore.