Manny Machado

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports​

Final Thoughts on The End of Manny

Terry Ford
July 23, 2018 - 2:26 pm

By Terry Ford

 

So, Manny is gone. Does it stink, sure it does. In a perfect world Manny Machado should’ve played his entire career in Baltimore. But it’s not a perfect world. If it were, I’d still have my hair and women would be asking me if I were in a rock band.

I do believe that the Orioles did the best they could in the Machado trade. In baseball today, it’s all about years of control. It’s tough to get a ton of value for a two month rental, even for a special player like Machado. Gleyber Torres from the Cubs to the Yankees was a special case. Teams don’t want to give top prospects, who they will have for six or seven years, for just ten weeks of Manny. You want to get top prospects? Well, you deal a guy who has multiple years of control.

But that isn’t to say that the O’s didn’t bungle this Machado thing. Let’s go over it timeline style:

 

The Off-Season of 2013 and 2014:

To me, this is where the Orioles had the best opportunity to sign Manny to an extension. Machado hadn’t yet popped but you could see the potential. Plus, Manny had the minor knee issues, so maybe he was more open to an extension to get the guaranteed money. But for the Orioles to be proactive, aggressive and take a leap of faith? That would be so not the Birds.

Recently, Manny said that his people and the Orioles were close to getting an extension done early in his career but the team never came back with another offer. If that is how it went down, the team really screwed up. Let’s go with the rumor that Machado’s camp and the O’s were ten million apart. It’s unbelievable to me that the Orioles didn’t get that deal done. Ten million? That’s chump change in baseball. The team could’ve shaken that out in change from one of the couches in The Wearhouse.

This was the big missed opportunity to keep Manny past his free agent years.

 

The Off-Seasons of 2015 and 2016:

Manny had now put up big numbers and the number to sign him gets bigger too. This is where I wish the Orioles would have thrown a real, big time offer at Machado. I wanted the ball to go into Manny’s court and see what his response would’ve been. The pressure then would fall on Machado to show the city of Baltimore how he really felt about being here long term. But, according to the scuttlebutt, the team never did that.

I truly believe that after his big 2016 season, Manny Machado had made up his mind to go into free agency. At that point, unless the Orioles offered him some crazy contract, there was no way he was going to sign an extension. Going into free agency at age 26 with the numbers he was putting up on offense and his Gold Glove caliber defense at third base…Manny was going to go to the open market and get paid.

Also, I started to think that Manny wanted to take his game to the big stage. I believe Manny liked Baltimore, but he longed for the big market. An opportunity to build his brand like his idol Alex Rodriguez. That’s just my theory, so that’s why I really wanted the O’s to make a legit offer to Machado, to see what he would do. But the Orioles missed out on another chance with Manny.

There were folks who were screaming that if you weren’t going to sign Machado long term then trade him after the 2016 season. Manny had two seasons of control left and would’ve had lots of value at that point. I totally get that line of thinking, but the team had just made the post-season for the third time in five years. You don’t trade your best player at that point, you go out and load up for bigger play-off run in 2017. But if you aren’t a legit play-off squad at the deadline, then you deal Machado.

 

The Trading Deadline of 2017:

The Orioles were hovering around the Wild Card race in July of 2017 but to me they were not a play-off team. The Birds had the worst starting pitching in team history. You just don’t make the play-offs with THE WORST PITCHING IN TEAM HISTORY! This is when you start taking offers on Manny. He had a season and a half of team control. So, even though he had a down first half compared to his career numbers, you could’ve still had gotten lots of value for Machado. Instead, the Orioles became buyers. And we all know how the rest of the season played out.

I have always said that an organization must be able to honestly look at themselves in the mirror. The Orioles thought they were Scarlett Johansson but they were really Steve Buscemi. This was the moment to seriously entertain trade offers for Manny.

 

The 2017 Winter Meetings:

Fast forward to the Winter Meetings. All of a sudden the Orioles were openly shopping Machado. It was so Un-Orioles-like…if that’s even a word. Dan Duquette was talking in front of microphones about taking trade offers for Manny. Industry insiders started to think the O’s were serious about dealing Machado. A team could still have a full season of Manny, so the Birds could still get good value. And then…nothing.

The Orioles decided to hold onto Manny and go for it in 2018 one more time. Despite the fact the Astros, Indians, Yankees and Red Sox were clearly the best teams in American League and barring major injuries or a major collapse from one of the Big Four, the Birds would be fighting with a handful of teams for the second wild card spot. I thought the Orioles would win 85 games and miss the play-offs. Well, I got the missing the play-offs part right. We all have witnessed the disaster that is the 2018 season. Again, look at yourself in the mirror.

 

So, in my opinion, the real issue isn’t the trade the Orioles made with the Dodgers the day after the All-Star Game. It’s the fact that the team never made a serious contract offer to Manny after the one effort early in his career and that the Orioles didn’t realize the window was closing and stubbornly held onto Machado at the 2017 Trade Deadline and the 2017 Winter Meetings.