Lots of Phillies Manny Machado Chatter…for Later
It was the rumor that just would not die surrounding one of Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak's former team, the Baltimore Orioles. The rumor was finally put to rest when the Phillies signed starter Jake Arrieta to a three-year contract this past March. The next rumor surrounding the Phillies may have to do the same thing: continue until he is finally a Phillie. But do not expect Manny Machado to join the Phillies at the trade deadline in 2018.
Several reports recently seem to put the Phillies philosophically opposed to working out a trade for Orioles shortstop Machado, despite the Phillies having an imminent need for some offense which very well could come from the left side of the infield. Maikel Franco is no longer getting even the at bats against left-handed pitching at third base. Scott Kingery appears to have taken over the starting shortstop job, even with J.P. Crawford still around.
But trading for Machado now? The Phillies do not seem inclined. But at free agency? Look out.
On Friday, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com noted that the Phillies are not "favorites" to acquire Machado. Zolecki says that the Phillies are interested in the free-agent-to-be, but not as a two-month rental at a high cost.
On Monday's off day, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia noted the same: the Phillies simply do not wish to part with prospects for a short-term rental. But Salisbury also notes that the Phillies seem really interested in Machado for later when he hits free agency.
It is almost hard to justify a deadline acquisition such as Machado given the Phillies current situation. The roster the Phillies have, which in many ways was designed to answer many questions for good around the likes of Franco, Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez, remains incomplete. Franco may have ruled himself out, Eickhoff has yet to get on the field, and Velasquez has been inconsistent.
So for 2018, the Phillies may be better suited to hold onto their top prospects.
But the Phillies could do what they did back in 2006. While just shy of contention, the club added pitcher Jamie Moyer, outfielder Jeff Conine and utility player Jose Hernandez. Even Randall Simon joined the Phillies as a pinch-hitter down the stretch. None of those moves cost them much, and Moyer helped the Phillies beyond 2006 after signing a new deal.
So look for the Phillies to acquire players, but no one what will damage the future going forward. The Phillies still have plenty of exciting prospects, albeit most are below Triple-A at this point, except maybe Enyel De Los Santos, the pitcher acquired for Freddy Galvis this past offseason.
Free agents will only cost the Phillies money. The Phillies have it. So they might as well maintain their strength with their prospects. Machado may be in town, but only when he costs them only money.