While much of Major League Baseball takes a few days off, the best of the best gather in the nation’s capital for the 2018 MLB All-Star festivities. As usual, there was plenty of attention on the diamond, including a highlight-ridden performance by Bryce Harper in winning the Home Run Derby, but quite a bit of buzz stemmed from trade rumors swirling around Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado.
After months of speculation, the 26-year-old infielder will head to the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the Orioles receiving a prospect-heavy package headlined by outfielder Yusniel Diaz. Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports tweeted about the news throughout the All-Star Game, with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic providing confirmation.
There was a brief hiccup regarding the physicals of one of the players heading to Baltimore, which kept the deal from getting done until later in the evening on Wednesday, but Jeff Passan and Ken Rosenthal report the trade has now gone through.
Machado, who turned 26 on July 6, has been one of the best offensive players in baseball this season, producing an impressive .315/.387/.575 slash line with 24 home runs and 65 RBI in 96 games. However, the Orioles have been mired in a disastrous performance as a team (28-69 record) and, perhaps more importantly, Machado is set to reach free agency at the conclusion of the 2018 campaign.
That confluence of events led to an urgent desire from the Orioles to receive something in return for Machado, who is widely believed to command a sizable contract over the winter. Because Baltimore isn’t in a position to offer top-dollar, the move to “sell” on Machado makes sense and, with the Dodgers, the uber-talented infielder will be able to pursue a spot in the 2018 playoffs while showcasing his talents in advance of free agency.
It remains to be seen as to how Machado will fare as he ventures away from Baltimore for the first time as a professional but, for the Dodgers, there is an impressive infusion of talent on the way and that could be the difference between ultimate success and failure at the highest level of the sport.