Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was recently linked with the Chicago White Sox in trade rumors. What could his role be with the White Sox?
To answer this question and others, is writer and analyst for Forward Mile MLB is Casey Boguslaw.
Kyle J. Andrews: Why would Machado be a good fit for the White Sox?
Casey Boguslaw: As a White Sox fan going through the first true rebuild of my lifetime, it’s been enthralling to watch the future stars fill out around the diamond for the decade-long dynasty I am hoping is in the near future. With all due respect to Matt Davidson, and other possibilities such as 2017 first-round pick Jake Burger, filling out the future depth charts at third base, that’s been the one spot without a guaranteed answer (for now). With the hole at the hot corner, the pending free agency of Manny Machado has always been the dream. Any White Sox fan knows the rebuild isn’t solely composed of trading your tenured stars for hope in the future. The Cubs and Astros proved not only do you have to do a fine job of maturing your own products, but they had to spend money when the time was right. Manny Machado seemed to be the answer to who the White Sox would be best off spending their money on.
Another point worth mentioning is the White Sox have put forward a lot of effort in making sure they are home to a diverse, welcoming, unifying franchise. They have made the most strides in this area towards the Hispanic culture that is a dominant force in today’s game. They of course employ one of the few Hispanic managers in all of baseball in Rick Renteria. They also have received a lot of publicity from the great leadership of Jose Abreu and how he has welcomed in Yoan Moncada and the other young players who come from a Hispanic background. Machado would certainly feel welcome right away in the wonderful atmosphere the White Sox have built.
KJA: What kind of package should they be willing to offer the Orioles in return for Machado’s services?
CB: This is the key question, right? It’s also impossible to give an answer to. They should be willing to offer wherever they measure their risk/reward scaling ends up on how much of the future they want to give for possibly just a rental of a superstar. The best comp floating around is when Jason Heyward was moved in the 2015-16 offseason from the Braves to the Cardinals with one year left on his contract. At the time, Heyward also appeared to be a budding superstar. He was moved for an MLB-ready potential ace pitcher and a lottery ticket prospect. The Orioles have been rumored to be asking for two pitching prospects which the White Sox have plenty of. They should be willing to give up two arms, the question is how high do they want to go up their rankings.
KJA: What position will he play if he plays for the White Sox?
CB: The news about Machado wanting to play shortstop does put a bit of a wrinkle in my fantasy scenario of him playing third base for the next decade on the South Side. I would love for him to stay where he has made himself elite if he were to come to Chicago. The biggest issue for Machado moving to shortstop is the White Sox have already made a fairly large investment at the position in Tim Anderson. Of course Anderson hasn’t shown the ability to play at all-star levels, but clearly the White Sox have hope he will get there (and I believe he can as well). With Moncada at second, that limits the possibility of Anderson moving over that direction as well. But I think ultimately if Machado wanted to play shortstop, and shows he is more than capable, he would be put there.
KJA: Do the White Sox have a feasible opportunity to sign him?
CB: The White Sox would sure hope so. There’s no logical reason to believe otherwise. However, Jerry Reinsdorf has NEVER issued a contract over $100 million; obviously this would require him to do so. But I think any agreement to bring Machado over in a trade this offseason would require the promise from ownership re-signing Machado would be the goal.
CB: I think Kopech is the one true “absolutely nots” of the White Sox pitching system. Kopech has the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the system (possibly any pitcher in the league), and I don’t think the White Sox would include him in any deal, especially in just a rental situation. Giolitio might be close to untouchable, but I think if he was the sole “key” piece, they would do it — think Miller-for-Heyward.
KJA: There is a fear from Orioles brass that Machado could be traded to Chicago, just for him to be flipped to the New York Yankees at the deadline. Do you see that happening, or will they attempt to win now with Machado?
CB: I have never once thought this would be the case if he were to move to Chicago. I just can’t foresee a scenario where that would even be an option. Adding Machado would at least give the White Sox the belief they would be contending in 2018. Also, as I said prior, they’d only be bringing him in with a goal to re-sign. It would just be hard to imagine a situation where they would be so far out of the race by August they would be already willing to move Machado and give up any of their advantages in re-signing him. The AL Central is too poor and the two Wild Card system would not allow the team to fall that far out of the race.
(Photo Credit: USA Today)