The prevailing wisdom is that the Phillies won’t move significant prospects in order to acquire Baltimore’s Manny Machado ahead of Major League Baseball’s July 31 trade deadline. If that is in fact the case, this tweet by Ken Rosenthal serves as one hell of a smokescreen:
Standard caveat applies: Trade talks are fluid, and one text or call can change dynamic of discussions.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 13, 2018
While, according to Rosenthal, the Dodgers and Yankees remain front-runners for Machado’s services, it seems the Phillies are getting serious about the idea of adding Machado for a potential pennant chase ahead of this winter’s free agency period when the 26-year-old superstar is sure to cash in on a monster deal. Given the Phillies’ multiple needs, I’ve said for weeks that I’m not crazy about the idea of the team mortgaging significant prospect resources when his addition alone probably won’t make them a legitimate championship contender. At the same time, if Machado gets to the Bronx, I’m not sure that he will ever leave. I have zero interest in watching Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Manny Machado play together for the next five years, and I’m pretty sure that John Middleton doesn’t either. As such, if Machado truly is the cornerstone player the organization wants to build around well into the next decade, the Phillies might have to strike now even without a guarantee of his services beyond this season.
The Phillies currently have less than $70 million guaranteed committed to their 2019 payroll and that figure continues on a downward trajectory into the early 2020s. They have the roster flexibility, prospect resources, and spending power to add whoever they want at virtually any cost, so if they want to make it weird with Machado, they certainly can do it.