Manny Mania: Making sense of the latest rumors and where the Phillies stand

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The last few days have been an absolute whirlwind for anyone trying to keep track of all the rumors circulating superstar infielder Manny Machado. The 4x all-star has been linked to seven ball clubs across the league- the Phillies, Dodgers, Brewers, and Yankees being cited as the heaviest suitors. These four franchises have been stuck in a perpetual state of musical chairs the past week or so, rotating in and out of the slot of ‘favorites’ to acquire Machado. Let’s take a look back at some of the latest rumors and try to make sense of all the smokescreens, rumors, and reports:

July 13

This marked the first time in a couple weeks that the Phils were viewed as the favorite- as opposed to just another team with interest- and their sweetened proposal seemingly took the bidding war to the next level.

July 14

Another interesting bit of news from Rosenthal, as he reports that the Yankees “seem less involved” for Machado’s services than the Brewers,

Phils, and Dodgers:

Later in the day, Andy Martino of SNY cited the Phillies and Dodgers as “strong suitors” with the Brewers and Yankees merely “in the mix.”

It would seem as though the Phillies upgraded offer to Baltimore took the Yankees out of their comfort zone, thus removing them from the Machado sweepstakes. The same unwillingness, however, was not instilled into the Milwaukee Brewers:

Olney’s tweet corroborates with an earlier report from Jon Heyman of FanCred stating the Brewers are becoming “more aggressive.”

July 15

Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun lists the Brewers and Dodgers as the leading teams to acquire Machado. This isn’t at all surprising considering the two franchises current spot in the standings and their increasingly small title window. The two clubs are simply more desperate for Machado’s services than the Phillies, and began to make it known.

July 16

MLB Analyst Jim Bowden dropped an interesting, early-morning nugget, reminding everyone that the bidding war is unlikely to drag out until the trade deadline, and should wrap up shortly after the All-Star festivities conclude.

As the trade talk ramped up, it was the Phillies who began to emerge as the favorites to land the 2x gold glove winner, as a report broke announcing a move between the franchises would occur Wednesday morning:

Just as the excitement level in Philadelphia began to peak, Jon Morosi of MLB Network decided to fuel the flames even further by citing prospects involved in the potential deal:

The Phillies seemed to be in the driver’s seat, with numerous reports coming out about a handshake agreement between them and the Orioles:

Unfortunately, things change quickly in the MLB.

July 17

Prepare yourselves, the Dodgers are coming:

After a day chock full of Machado to Philly reports, the Dodgers burst on the scene as favorites to land the talented infielder:

This certainly takes the wind out of the Phillies sail a bit, but doesn’t necessarily take them out of the running, as a couple insiders highlighted:

The fact of the matter is that Manny Machado has yet to be traded and the Orioles will continue to seek the best return for the prized player until a deal is struck. The Baltimore brass, to their credit, has done an exceptional job at using the media to ramp up interest and improve the trade packages they were receiving. Oddly enough, I still believe that Machado ends up a Phillie IF they want him enough. The thought process behind how I came to this conclusion may seem a bit murky, but hear me out.

As I alluded to earlier, there has been a ton of public negotiations going on by using the media to leak information to the masses. The fact the Phillies and Dodgers were viewed as heavy favorites on back to back days seems to be by design, and it may not be as simple as Baltimore simply driving up the price. The Orioles are expected to trade Machado before their regular season resumes on Friday, and I think they have sequenced their leaks so that the Phillies have time to make one final offer if they are willing to meet the price.

Before anyone questions why the Orioles would so such a thing, it’s important to remember the ties the Phils current front office has in Baltimore. ​President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail was a former Orioles general manager; Phillies farm director Joe Jordan led the Orioles’ amateur scouting department; and Phillies vice president and general manager Matt Klentak was the Orioles’ director of baseball operations under MacPhail.​ These are the same men that scouted and drafted Machado third overall in 2010, and if the Orioles are going to trade him anyway, who better to send him to?

I think the heavy Phils leaks on July 16th was a ploy to force the Dodgers to make their best offer, and that the almost Dodgers-exclusive reports today was to tell the Phillies what the Dodgers best offer is, and invites them to at least match it so the Orioles can complete a deal without looking like they are just handing him to old friends. If the Phillies are serious about being bold and making a run this year I can definitely see them being aggressive and pulling off a deal. Conversely, it’s easy to envision a world where the Phils acknowledge that they are a pleasant surprise this season, and decide to stick with their homegrown players for one more season before making a play at Machado (as well as other top free agents) in free agency this winter. It’s been a long time coming but the Machado Mania is almost over, now to see if the Phillies are the victors when the dust settles.

 

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