The Inquirer’s Bob Brookover explored the possibility of the Phillies adding Manny Machado in a piece published Thursday.
Manny Machado… Phillies… Stimulation…
It’s hard not to get worked up over the thought of the Phillies adding Machado, who has a 1.079 OPS with 14 homers and 40 RBI, to replace the crop of current shortstops who have collectively posted a .690 OPS with only four homers and 12 RBI. Brookover, too, is clearly hot and bothered by the idea:
Sometimes the stars align just right and the thing you need the most is the thing that is most available. This is one of those times for the Phillies, and they must seize the moment. Now, not next winter, is the time to pursue Baltimore superstar Manny Machado.
Really? Now is the time?
Yes, the price is going to be high in terms of players and dollars? The good news for the Phillies is they have both. The better news is that Machado’s move to shortstop is perfect timing for the Phillies.
All I can say is that sometimes the heat of the moment can make a man get a little carried away.
To be fair, Brookover isn’t technically wrong. The Phillies currently have less than $70 million guaranteed committed to their 2019 payroll and that figure continues on a downward slope into the early 2020s. It is likely that they will add free agent reinforcements, and several of their young players will receive significant raises, but the point here is that they have the flexibility and spending power to add whoever they want at virtually any cost. It’s probably also true that they possess enough minor league talent to acquire Machado.
Still, this isn’t really a matter of if they can acquire him this summer, it’s a matter of whether or not they should. And the answer is no.
Generally, I’m a “win at all expense” kind of guy. The acquisition of Machado, who is without question a perfect fit for this roster, would probably vault the Phillies beyond an intriguing young team that can make some noise as soon as this season, to one that would be considered a legitimate division contender. But at what cost?
Let’s talk about the idea of adding Machado sans contract extension. It would be LUNACY to part ways with J.P. Crawford, Scott Kingery, Sixto Sanchez, or any of the organization’s other top arms for two-plus months of Machado. The Phillies just spent six years wavering between baseball purgatory and Hell, in part because the organization was depleted of young talent. It’s easy to watch Crawford or Kingery struggle and simply want to toss them into a theoretical trade, but it’s also highly irresponsible. This is a team on the front-end of what looks to be a promising multi-year run because of its aforementioned young talent. It’s most certainly not one in a position to push all of its chips to the center of the table and hope for the best. The game isn’t played that way anymore.
But, as Brookover points out, signing Machado to a long-term deal is “key” to getting a deal done:
It seems like a slam dunk that the Orioles will trade Machado at the deadline because they’d be fools not to. For the Phillies, the key would be getting the shortstop to agree to a long-term contract before a trade is completed.
This is my biggest issue with his piece. He presents the idea of Machado agreeing to such a deal as if it’s some sort of inevitability when, in fact, it is highly implausible that he will bypass the opportunity to hit the open market and ink one of the most lucrative contracts in the history of Major League Baseball.
Yes, the Phillies have money, but there are also several other attractive teams that have the financial means to land him. Brookover’s guess of a 10-year deal worth $300 million may be short of what it ultimately takes to obtain his services. He’s just going to punt on that opportunity? Why would he? Because Phillies Director of Player Personnel Joe Jordan drafted him back in 2010? Please.
I’m all for the Phillies entering the Manny Machado fray this winter, and, sure, if the Orioles wanted to trade Machado here for almost nothing while giving the Phillies a window to negotiate contract terms, I’m totally down with that, too. Just don’t write that “the stars are aligned just right for it to happen.” Because that’s not even remotely close to being true.
Manny Machado can’t stop homering. pic.twitter.com/oIxgl6vM8M
— MLB (@MLB) May 12, 2018