Posted on July 19, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Manny Machado trade saga is officially over, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are the winners. After many days of speculation, the Dodgers completed a deal with the Baltimore Orioles for the all-star shortstop on Wednesday night. In exchange for Machado, the Orioles will receive five prospects: Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, Ryan Bannon, Zach Pop and Breyvic Valera.
It’s been assumed nearly all season that the Orioles would trade him at some point. As many as nine teams were reportedly in discussions with Baltimore. However, the Dodgers were always among the favorites, so it’s no surprise that they ended up landing him.
Los Angeles has struggled to find production at shortstop ever since Corey Seager was lost for the season because of Tommy John surgery. Machado immediately solves that problem for the Dodgers. Machado, by all accounts, hasn’t been bothered by all the trade speculation. He’s currently hitting .315 with an OPS of .963. Both would be career highs if he can maintain that pace the rest of the year.
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With Machado on board, the Dodgers would appear to be favorites in the National League. Los Angeles started the year slowly but has been on fire since early June. The Dodgers took over first place in the NL West just before the all-star break. While their lead over the Diamondbacks is just half a game, they figure to be tough to beat with the addition of Machado.
He will join a lineup that also includes Matt Kemp, Yasmani Grandal, Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, and the surprising Max Muncy. The Dodgers could be even more dangerous if Justin Turner gets it going after missing the early part of the season and Yasiel Puig returns from injury. The team’s starting rotation has also returned to full health after battling injuries for much of the season. In a way, Machado is the icing on top of a cake that was already among the best in the National League.
Of course, the Orioles made out well in this trade as well. Diaz is the top prize in the package going to Baltimore. When he was 18, the Dodgers were willing to pay $31 million to sign him after he defected from Cuba. He’s currently the no. 84 prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com. Diaz is hitting .314 with an OPS of .905 in double-A and is regarded as an equally capable defensive player. It’s likely he’ll be a regular in Baltimore’s outfield this time next year.
But Diaz is not all the Orioles received in this trade. Kremer is a solid pitching prospect and could end up being a back-end major league starter. He was the Dodgers no. 28 ranked prospect prior to the trade and was recently promoted to double-A. Pop is less heralded but has dominated A-ball as a reliever one year after being drafted.
Bannon, a third baseman, has displayed impressive amounts of power in A-ball this year. He has 20 home runs this season, helping him post a .961 OPS. Bannon is also regarded as a strong defensive player. He was rated as the Dodgers no. 27 prospect prior to the trade. Valera, finally, is a natural second baseman who can play elsewhere on the diamond as well. He’s struggled to hit during his brief time in the majors. But he should prove useful to the Orioles this season with Machado no longer at shortstop.
Ultimately, both teams should be pleased with this deal. The Dodgers no doubt paid a hefty price for just a few months of Machado. However, they are now well-positioned to return to the World Series. The Orioles, meanwhile, added a potential impact player in Diaz and a few other intriguing prospects who may contribute at the big league level in the next few years. It’s possible both teams will look back at this trade with great fondness.