Manny Machado truly played his last game in an Orioles uniform on Tuesday night in Washington DC during the 2018 MLB All-Star Game as the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired the mega-talent from the bottom-dwelling Baltimore Orioles for three prized prospects. The Dodgers have solved their shortstop dilemma and the Orioles have begun their fire sale to restock their subpar farm system.
Manny Machado has been a heavyweight at shortstop for the O’s this season and in years past. He’s hitting a stellar .315 going into the All-Star Break to go along with 24 home runs and 65 RBI, despite playing on a historically bad Orioles team. While the O’s will no doubt miss his sweet swing and his never-ending ability to punish the Yankees, they’ll probably sleep a little easier knowing they could land a nice package, not to mention avoided sending the 26-year-old superstar to a division rival.
The new kids
In return for Baltimore sending off their prized possession, they received the Dodgers prospects Yusniel Diaz, Dustin May, and Errol Robinson. This package is subject to change, but MLB Pipeline reported this trio as the group headed to the Orioles. In gaining these three, Baltimore focused on getting talent that will not be playing in Baltimore in 2018, but they got some future stability. Diaz is the big catch in this deal, as the 21-year-old Cuban outfielder has raked at the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate Tulsa this season, hitting .314 over 59 games. Diaz has the tools to be almost a complete 5-tool player. His pop is about the only aspect of his game that scouts have any real doubt of, but that too can change. What scouts have loved and raved over, however, is his ability to make consistent contact and use the whole field to his advantage. Diaz has shown above average speed, but he lacks the true base-stealing ability at this point in his development.
Baltimore made sure to acquire a stud on the mound in Dustin May. The 20-year-old starting pitcher has a physique you may confuse with the likes of Chris Sale, standing at a menacing 6’6″ and a lean 180 lbs. His thin size is made up by his prowess on the mound. He’s made the first big jump in talent this season, owning a respectable 3.09 ERA through 14 starts for the Dodgers High Single-A affiliate Rancho Cucamonga. He’s tallied 83 strikeouts, allowed only 14 walks, and held opposing hitters to a .242 average through 78.2 innings this season. It’s a big jump from his previous 2 seasons when his ERA sat at 4.75 and 4.25. May has a 2-seam fastball that sits around 90-92 miles per hour and occasionally reaches 94 while generating plenty of ground balls thanks to natural movement. He also throws a curveball and changeup, but the Dodgers wanted him to focus on garnering as much groundball contact as possible.
The least of the three prospects is Errol Robinson. Robinson was a shortstop during his time at Ole Miss, but he struggled with the bat after his freshman season. He was taken by the Dodgers in the 6th round in the 2016 draft with not a lot of confidence in his hitting. Despite that, the 23-year-old has proven to be competent at the dish in his pro career, hitting .269 to this point. Injuries forced LA to call-up Robinson to Double-A Tulsa at the beginning of this year, and he’s looked like he belonged, hitting a reasonable .256 through 84 games. Although he’s not projected to hit for much power, he has seven home runs this season, which is nothing to scoff at. His true talents lie in his elite speed and even more elite fielding ability. He’s ranked as the top defender among all infielders in the Dodgers system, playing mostly at shortstop but also seeing extensive time at second base, and a few games at third base and center field.
Everyone’s a winner
Both Baltimore and Los Angeles got what they wanted. LA gets to enjoy the second coming of “MannyWood” while Baltimore gets their potential outfielder, starter, and shortstop of the future. The real kicker here is to wonder how much more Baltimore could have gotten for Machado had they been more proactive in beginning their true rebuilding phase. Imagine the haul they could’ve gotten had they traded Manny away one or two years ago when the team acquiring his talents could’ve had his stunning play anchoring shortstop for this entire season. It could have been the prospect haul of the century, but Baltimore got plenty of magic from Machado in that time, especially with their dwindling ballpark attendance. He’s sure to plant plenty of butts in whatever empty seats there may be at Dodger Stadium for the rest of this season.
The next big question is, can the Dodgers re-sign Machado? He is set to hit free agency at the end of this season and the Dodgers already have a stud in Corey Seager at shortstop. Granted, he will miss the rest of this season and potentially a month of 2019 after Tommy John surgery, but will the lure of winning championships be enough for Machado to consider returning to 3rd base? Or will a team like Philadelphia snatch him up with the promise of shortstop for the rest of his career?
Either way, one thing is certain. The Dodgers got their man, and the rest of the season just got more interesting.
It was later reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that Baltimore would receive OF Yusniel Diaz, RHPs Dean Kremer and Zach Pop, IF Breyvic Valera, and 3B Rylan Hannon from the Dodgers in the deal and both RHP Dustin May and IF Errol Robinson would remain with Los Angeles.
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