Why the Phillies Shouldn’t Trade for Machado this Season

The Philadelphia Phillies have been rumored to be involved in trade discussions with a multitude of different players. The one common theme is that the team is looking to add some pop to the left side of the infield. One way that the team could do that is to trade for star shortstop Manny Machado.

Conversation around the league surrounding the Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado has been heating up over the past few weeks. According to a report by Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Philadelphia Phillies have become one of the top two contenders to trade for the star shortstop before this season’s trade deadline.

Heyman’s report stated that “the big question is whether they (the Phillies) are willing to give up prime prospects when they are an up-and-comer, but yet to be firmly established as a World Series contender.”

It is no secret that multiple members of Philadelphia’s front office had prior connections with Machado due to their time in Baltimore’s front office. General manager Matt Klentak and president Andy MacPhail have both had their eyes on acquiring Machado for a long time. Now arguably is the right time for the team to make a major push to add Machado. After all, this young Phillies lineup might just be one more piece away from becoming ready to contend this season.

Machado, through 83 games this season, is hitting .311 with 21 home runs and 59 RBIs. The Phillies haven’t been getting very much production from the shortstop position this season. Between rookie Scott Kingery and second-year player JP Crawford, Philadelphia has only gotten a combined .215 average with six homers and 32 RBIs. Adding a player who has some pop at the shortstop position would greatly improve the Phillies lineup.

However, the price to add a player like Machado via a trade this season would be steep. “One person with Phillies connections suggested they are amenable to trading their very top pitching prospects like Sixto Sanchez… and also the type of young infielders who might entice the Orioles, who are looking to restock that position, as well,” Heyman wrote.

Philadelphia has painstakingly restocked their farm system throughout the past four or five seasons. Headlining their farm system, and what Baltimore is asking back in a trade, are pitchers Sixto Sanchez and Adonis Medina. Sanchez, at 19 years old, has the perfect combination of strikeout stuff and solid command of his pitches. He currently is 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA in eight starts for Single A Clearwater. He has struck out 45 hitters in 46 2/3 innings.

Medina possesses a lot of the same qualities as Sanchez in that they both are excellent at striking out batters and both have massive potentials. Medina has struggled in his first season at Single A Clearwater, thus far going 8-2 with a 4.19 ERA. However, his ability to strike people out has not changed.

The Phillies, to this point in the trade conversation, have not been willing to give up either of these pitchers. Philadelphia has a plethora of second tier pitchers in their farm system that they would be willing to part with, headlined by Enyel De Los Santos. While any offer for Machado made by the Phillies would center around giving up some pitching, the team also has a multitude of outfielders who are former top draft picks that they should be willing to give up in the deal.

While Machado is a fantastic player who would greatly help the Phillies this season, it doesn’t make much sense to give up a package including some top prospects just to get him for a few months. Machado is a free agent, and his agent Scott Boras has repeatedly said that he will have his client enter the free agent market regardless of what team he is on.

Philadelphia so far has overachieved on the expectations for this season. Currently sitting at 46-37 and in second place in the NL East, the Phillies are in a prime position to be in the playoff race throughout the rest of the season. As a result, the team’s front office is having to consider making moves to improve some of the team’s weaknesses. While trading for Machado would drastically improve the team, it would cost too much and wouldn’t be worth the cost considering he is going to become a free agent at the end of the season.

However, the Phillies have been rumored to be interested in trading for Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. Moustakas is currently hitting .258 with 16 homers and 53 RBIs. The 29-year-old is also hitting the free agent market at the end of the season, but the difference is that acquiring the Royals slugger wouldn’t cost very much in terms of prospects. Moustakas would provide some pop to the Philadelphia infield while also opening up the possibility for the team to move Maikel Franco in a trade to improve another one of the team’s weaknesses (relief pitching?).

Overall, Philadelphia finds itself in an unusual position as a team who can make the playoffs while also having a lot of young talent both in the minor leagues and on the team. Trading for a rental player like Machado would cost way too much in terms of top-end prospects. A trade for Mike Moustakas would make much more sense for the Phillies. The MLB trade deadline is on July 31.

Mandatory Photo Credit: Adam Hunger/Getty Images

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