Baltimore Orioles Take Giant Leap in Manny Machado Trade Rumors

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 24: Manny Machado /

The Baltimore Orioles front office and manager return for the 2017 MLB Winter Meetings with new sights on a Manny Machado trade.

The Baltimore Orioles are the center of attention at the Winter Meetings, and the latest news appears the team is closer than ever to trading Manny Machado.

The latest report comes from The Athletic Senior Writer Ken Rosenthal, who says the Orioles are shopping the superb third baseman and reveals Machado’s desire to return to shortstop.

So, there are two parts here. First, the Orioles are shopping the great Machado. Not just listening and taking offers, but considering a trade that would send Machado elsewhere in 2018. The trade talk ups the ante for how this is going.

The other is that he wants to move to shortstop if he stays in Baltimore for 2018.

Furthermore, Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo Encina revealed a meeting near the end of last season between Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Machado.

Also, not too long ago, it was reported by Roch Kubatko that some in the organization see Tim Beckham as the shortstop of the future, and some do not.

It would appear likely that those do not think that Machado is the Orioles’ shortstop of the future. However, in Kubatko’s report stated that Dan Duquette is one of those who believes Beckham will man shortstop in 2018 and beyond. It seems likely that Showalter may be one of those who hopes Machado is the long-term solution at shortstop for the O’s.

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However, past reports unveil tension between Showalter and Duquette, and always played off. But nothing will bring out tension like discussions over whether to trade the face of your franchise and one of the top ten players in the game of baseball. Of course, the other option appears to keep Machado and lose him and get one measly draft pick.

Don’t be fooled, Machado’s request to play SS is his power move to force the Orioles to play him at a position where his price can go even higher if he can show he is just as good there as at third base. The Orioles obviously appear to be listening on trading Machado. As they should be, and at this point, probably should.

But, if they keep Manny, it causes another hole.

The team could move Tim Beckham to third base, or possibly Jonathan Schoop and put Beckham at second base.

There is also the less likely option of moving Chris Davis to the hot corner and then playing either Trey Mancini or Mark Trumbo at first base. These are all internal options, and some better than others.

But, Buck Showalter, in speaking on MASN All Access, highlighted the need for better defense from his team in 2018. Some of these moves would make the team abjectly worse defensively. Others would likely be a wash.

A look at twitter says that there is no way some teams are going to move ‘their shortstop’ to Machado. Most notably, this was coming from Yankees’ fans. Ha!

If the Yankees were to acquire Manny, and I highly doubt that Peter Angelos would sign off on that, they aren’t going to think twice about Didi Gregorius. Didi is a good player, but he is not Manny Machado. Period.

Teams being reported as having the most interest include the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals make more sense, as they are more equipped to contend in 2018 than the Phillies. However, both teams have very good farm systems that the Orioles could select from.

The Cardinals’ system has more pitchers who are ready to contribute to the Orioles now. The Phillies’ system is more balanced than St. Louis, where acquiring a position player would be more beneficial.

If it was me, I would work with St. Louis on a deal. Alex Reyes is my first option, but I’m listening to Jack Flaherty or Sandy Alcantara too.

The Orioles will continue to be the center of the meetings until a decision is made on what to do with Machado.

Next: Orioles in Talks to Acquire All-Star Starting Pitcher

At this point, signs are pointing toward the Baltimore Orioles moving on without their superstar, meaning we may have seen the last of Machado’s intricate handshakes and love for Jonathan Schoop in Baltimore.

Stay tuned to The Baltimore Wire, your one-stop source of Baltimore Orioles trade rumors and free agency signings through the offseason.