--Aside from rolling into the All-Star break with sole possession of the NL East, the Phillies continued to be the spotlight of the national conversation as trade talks involving Manny Machado started to heat up.
With rumors of the Phillies being interested in Machado surfacing before the start of the season, no one should really be surprised by the latter statement. Sadly, the Phillies entering the Mid-Summer Classic sitting in first place has really been dwarfed due to the possibility of adding one of the top shortstops in the game.
Since Jon Heyman tweets every 15 minutes it feels like, I’m simply too lazy to go back and see when talks of Machado heading to Philly actually starting to feel like a real scenario. On July 13th, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Phillies increased their offer and may have the best package so far.
Many started to speculate/assume that No. 2 prospect Adonis Medina would be the main focus of a package sent to Baltimore and that the O's front office was very intrigued.
Medina, a 21-year-old right-handed starter has quickly climbed the rankings not only in the Phillies organization but in all of baseball. (Medina currently ranks as the no. 73 top prospect in baseball.)
Despite finishing the season with a mere 4-9 record in his first full season in the minor leagues, Medina finished the 2017 season with an impressive 3.01 ERA, 1.187 WHIP and an even 10 SO/9 over 119.2 innings. Good enough to place him fourth in the South Atlantic League (A) in strikeouts and ninth in ERA.
The decision to make no. 1 prospect Sixto Sanchez untouchable shows the Phillies are eager to win now, but not exactly all in; if that makes any sense.
Although I have stated earlier in the season that sending any top prospects for a rental would be a dumb decision, I honestly wasn't that disappointed in the rumored package headliner finding a new home in a new organization. You land Machado and possibly Zach Britton while holding on to Sixto and Enyel De Los Santos respectively.
Well, the Orioles must have felt the same way as me as it started to come out the morning of July 16th that the Phillies and O’s agreed on a “handshake” agreement involving Machado.
However, the deal would not be announced till Wednesday morning after the All-Star Game.
Joe Giglio of 94 WIP reported that Machado to Philly was a done deal and that president of baseball operations, Andy MacPhail, was a “genius.”
Fast forward 24 hours and the dream of Machado suiting up Thursday in red pinstripes seemed about as real as the Eagles signing Frank Gore in 2015 (Never forget.) Heyman surprised everyone before the sun even came up with the news of the Dodgers leaped the Phillies as the favorite to land Machado despite a “handshake” agreement already being in place.
After all the dust and smoke officially settles, I truly think this will be a blessing in disguise.
Was the idea of the Phillies starting the back third of the season in first place with Machado leading the way enough to give me a quarter chub? Of course. But let's be honest people, even a Manny Machado-led Phillies team is still not on the same level of the top teams coming out of the AL.
Although their record doesn’t reflect it, the Dodgers are contending for a title this season. Landing Machado helps ease the burden of Corey Seager missing the remainder of the season. It’s also because of Seager that proves Machado to LA is just a rental.
Seager is under team control through the 2021 season and can be relatively cheap if the Dodgers make the right moves. Justin Turner holding down the hot corner in LA eliminates the chance of Machado returning to the position he manned when he broke into the league.
I know prospects are never guaranteed to be as good as advertised, and the name of Dominic Brown can still get all Phillies fan riled up - but at the end of the day, prospects are still assets. Am I going to continue to say Sixto, De Los Santos, and Medina are untouchable? Probably not. However, parting ways with valuable assets for a rental in a season when you're far away from competing with the top tier teams in baseball seems a little foolish.
Even with Machado heading to LA, Philadelphia is still very much in play to land him this offseason. While the Yankees could look to land another elite bat and the Red Sox may look to keep spending to bring a championship back to Boston, Machado, and agent Dan Lozano will be open to negotiations with anyone interested.
Everyone just needs to stay calm!
All the pieces are in place, and now it just comes down to execution.
The Phillies front office has many different connections to Machado with MacPhail, GM Matt Klentak, and Joe Jordan. Who’s Joe Jordan? He’s only the scouting director who fucking drafted Machado in 2010. With Machado stating “it would be nice to see some familiar faces,” as long as the Phillies match the highest offer, I don't see any chance Machado goes anywhere else.