Baltimore Orioles: Taking their Time or Dragging Out Machado Decision?

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 10: Manny Machado /

The Baltimore Orioles are at a crossroads as a franchise, and their next move could impact the team for not just years, but a decade to come.

Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is a once-in-a-generation player.

He is as good as Bryce Harper, and Jose Altuve and anyone else in the game outside of Mike Trout. Because of that, in 2019 he will be one of the highest paid players in baseball history.

The Baltimore Orioles do not have that type of money to spend. They could get creative and try to make it work, but it would hamstring the team to a point where they would not have the ability to build around Machado to be competitive.

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And so, during the Winter Meetings, it became abundantly clear to the Orioles’ organization that Machado needs to be traded. The next steps are where and when.

Will Machado go to the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks or Philadelphia Phillies? All have shown an unwillingness to partner with what the Orioles are looking for. Whether that be Lucas Giolito, Sixto Sanchez, or others.

Will Machado go to New York and play for the Orioles’ archrival, the New York Yankees.

It is a possibility. It also is a possibility that they can offer the best deal. Of course, it is also a possibility that Peter Angelos and the Orioles’ front office vetoes that deal, just because of the team offering it.

Meanwhile, it remains a possibility that Machado ends up in pinstripes for many years to come after the 2018 season ends and he becomes a free agent. And that’s why the Orioles must get this right.

This decision could determine if the Orioles will be able to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox for the next ten years. Right now, they have two good young pitchers in the major leagues. They have some good young pitching in the lower levels of the minor leagues.

There is some talent closer to the major leagues, but likely not the difference-making pitchers the Orioles need. However, in trading Machado, the Orioles can acquire that. The Orioles’ farm system is far from bare. There are productive positional players, particularly offensively at every level. So, what is holding things up?

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Are the Orioles genuinely considering every other and talking to teams about which players to include? Maybe they are discussing mega deals, where not just Machado is traded but also someone like Zach Britton, or maybe Mark Trumbo.

Or, is the front office dragging their feet, waiting to get a better deal than what has already surfaced.

In my mind, once the season starts I’m not sure how Machado’s value goes up in. Sure, he could be an MVP candidate by the trade deadline, but if that is the case, then the Orioles could very well be in contention.

Sure, he could be an All-Star, and you could still trade him, but then a team is getting three months of Machado, not a whole season. Maybe some team will trade the farm for him then. Maybe.

The Baltimore Orioles are at a crossroads that will alter the future. They need to make sure this move is the best for the future of the club. But, they also have to make sure some decision happens.

No one wants to lose Machado here. That isn’t the issue. The issue is that right now, no matter which pitchers the Orioles sign as free agents, they won’t likely be able to compete for a pennant, or a championship.

By trading Machado, that could change. Not for 2018, no. But for 2019, and for years to come. If Oriole fans want to finish above .500 and maybe be a wild card team, then, by all means, keep Machado.

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But if you want nothing short of the World Series, then the team as currently constructed can’t do it. That’s the decision the Orioles are up against.

Is being relevant enough? Or is anything short of a championship a failure? Fans everywhere of the Baltimore Orioles are waiting to find out.