MLB Trade Rumors: Boston Red Sox should not sell farm for Manny Machado
The Boston Red Sox are interested in Manny Machado, but no deal should be made
If there was ever a trade that SHOULD NOT be made under any circumstances, it would be if the Boston Red Sox were to make a deal for Baltimore Orioles star infielder Manny Machado. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported back on December 29 that Boston had shown “continued interest” in Machado, but no deal was imminent.
Machado would not only cost Boston a tremendous amount of talent and, potentially, money, and that is just the tip of the iceberg why the Red Sox should remove any idea of making a trade from Machado from their collective heads.
First, it should be noted that any team that trades for Manny Machado either today, tomorrow, or after the 2018 season has already kicked off would really just be getting a one-year rental player. He will earn a raise from the $11.5m he earned in 2017 before hitting free agency after the 2018 campaign and like Washington Nationals outfielder and fellow upcoming free agent Bryce Harper, he is expected to land a contract that may total $400m.
Naturally, given the circumstances, the Orioles are demanding a king’s ransom for Machado rather than lose him in free agency and only receive a draft pick from whichever team signs him. Boston could theoretically pay this price, but not without gutting its already shallow farm system.
Boston is also set in its infield. Mitch Moreland was just brought back to man first base on a two-year contract. Dustin Pedroia could return in late May or early June as he recovers from knee surgery, and Brock Holt can easily cover for him until then. That leaves third baseman Rafael Devers and shortstop Xander Bogaerts, both talented youngsters who would surely headline any trade for Machado.
Neither man put out strong defensive numbers in 2017, with Devers posting an Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) of -3.5 and Bogaerts one of -1.6. Machado would play either shortstop or third base in Boston and posted a UZR of 4.7 at the hot corner last year, plus a career mark of 2.1 in 52 career games at shortstop, so he would be a defensive upgrade over either man.
That brings the conversation to hitting. Machado had a down 2017 and hit just .259 in 2017, but had a strong second half and still slugged 33 home runs with 81 RBI, and there is nothing to suggest he’ll continue to regress as he enters his age-25 season. Bogaerts is a different story, as his batting average has dropped every year since 2015. He still hit a respectable .273 in 2017, but keep in mind he hit .320 in 2015 and had just ten home runs and 62 RBI last year after setting career highs with 21 and 89 in 2016.
Devers is a different story. He’s only 21 and hit .284 with ten homers and 30 RBI in just 58 games in 2017, and one of those home runs by his lefty bat was an opposite-field blast on a 103 miles per hour fastball from New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. Long story short, Boston isn’t giving him up anytime soon.
Throw in that a deal would have to include Bogaerts and prospects from an already shallow minor league system, and Machado just isn’t worth Boston’s time or energy at this stage of the game.
And on top of how Boston would have to give up way too much for Machado in what is basically a salary dump for Baltimore, let’s touch on something else that was mentioned earlier in this piece. Machado would be a rental. Suppose Boston trades Bogaerts and prospects for him, what if he signs with another team in free agency? The Red Sox would have given up all of that talent for practically nothing.
This means that unless the Red Sox are prepared to sign Machado to a lucrative contract extension upon his arrival in Beantown, no deal should be made under any circumstances. Bogaerts, despite his recent issues, is still just 25 years old and has way too high a ceiling to just be moved for a player who may or may not stick around long-term.
The reward of Machado may be worth it for Boston, what with the New York Yankees being the clear AL East favorites in wake of the Giancarlo Stanton trade, but the risk is just too high.