The biggest name available during the 2018 MLB trade deadline is officially a Los Angeles Dodger. Manny Machado’s move to LA will no doubt have ripple effects throughout the league as the annual trade deadline draws ever closer.
The White Sox will not be immune to these shockwaves for a number of reasons. Their interest in Machado this past offseason was no secret, and an offer rumored to have includedDane Dunning and Dylan Cease was not enough to pry Machado from Baltimore during the winter. Now the Sox must bide their time and hope that a significant monetary offer and the promise of some hope will be enough to convince Machado to sign up for Rick Hahn’s rebuild. But what other areas does the trade of the summer effect the Sox moving forward? Let’s take a look.
Things were not going well in Baltimore. An aging, overpaid roster and the worst record in baseball (28-71) made a full rebuild a necessity for the Orioles. With Machado gone, the Orioles will only be getting worse. They just unloaded stud reliever Zach Brittonto the Yankees, and are fielding offers on nearly every player worth anything on the roster.
This means that the worst team in the league is only going to get significantly worse. All this means the Sox can likely kiss the number one overall pick goodbye. They were already trailing the Orioles in the reverse standings, and the two teams arrows now point directly opposite. The Sox will be receiving help in the form ofEloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech sooner rather than later, and September will likely look much like last year where the Sox surprised their way to a .500 record.
With the way the standings are now, The Sox and Royals are locked in a tight race for the second pick. The Royals hold an edge over the Sox, and with more reinforcements coming for the Sox than for the Royals, it’s safe to assume the second pick will belong to Kansas City. This leaves the Sox with their sights set squarely on the third overall pick, barring a significant collapse by another team. We will see what effect the call-ups have on the team, but a top four pick looks likely for the second year in a row.
Will Machado Be a White Sox?
As mentioned above, the Sox were one of the teams hottest on Machado’s trail when the Orioles floated him in December. It has been rumored that Rick Hahn views Machado as centerpiece in the rebuild. unfortunately for Hahn, the way this season has unfolded is not exactly promising in terms of the team’s hopes for Machado.
The main rationale for trading some potentially significant future pieces for a year of Machado in a non-competitive year, was to receive an extra year to essentially make their pitch. The idea was that even if they didn’t win a lot of games in 2018 (it doesn’t appear they will), Machado would have a year to acclimate himself to the process, and Hahn, Kenny and Co. would have a year to sell him on the future. The Sox will be one of a handful of teams capable of offering Machado a contract in the neighborhood of $300 million dollars, that being said, the other teams offer Manny a much more immediate path to contention. After the season the Sox have experienced, it could be a tough sell to an outsider.
The other question in regards to Machado, is whether higher ups in the organization are willing to shell out that kind of money on one player. They’ve shown a willingness to spend before, but going after a free agent the caliber of Manny Machado is unprecedented in Sox history. The Sox are usually content watching the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Cubs battle it out for the top players. It is no guarantee this time is different.
While not necessarily a direct result of the trade, the hopes of Machado donning black pin stripes appear slim at this point.
What About Third Base in the Long Term?
So plan A is out the window. Manny Machado will not be coming to town, what is the plan then? Jake Burger was a potential option, but his timeline has been delayed significantly by a torn Achilles tendon the re-tore during his rehab and reset his recovery to square one. Beyond Burger, there is not a ton of positional depth at third base for the Sox. There are some interesting candidates to possibly move to third base in the future such asYoan Moncada or Nick Madrigal, but those are long shots at the moment.
The Sox have been floated as potential suitors for Mike Moustakas following the season, but his age and player profile don’t exactly mesh with the big picture for the Sox. Big names like Josh Donaldson andNolan Arenado are some big time talents that could fill the hole at third and fit the big picture. It is fairly clear at this point the long term solution at third will be filled from outside the organization at this point. An ok situation to be in for the Sox, so don’t fret.was
The fantasy of Manny Machado manning the hot corner for a contending Sox team was fine, but in reality not acquiring him last offseason was the nail in the coffin. But the Sox have options to fill the hole at third very effectively.
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