Machado trade is a Good Idea, If It Nets Bryce

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The Manny Machado talk is making their rounds, a lot. The most recent news had the Cubs sending Addison Russell, Albert Almora, and Mike Montgomery to the Orioles in exchange for Machado. Whoever suggested this deal was certainly high, but there is a deal that makes sense between the two teams.

Before we get into things, Baltimore GM, Dan Duquette has suggested they are not moving Manny. However, just a week ago it appeared they were hellbent on moving the All Star third baseman. My spidey-sense tells me this is a bluff to get more in trade, but I digress…

I feel like I’ve seen a lot of Cubs fans immediately reject the idea of trading for Machado, and heck, it would be awesome to have a talent like him in the lineup. But at what cost?

Manny is a once in a lifetime type of talent. Perhaps the absolute best defensive third baseman on the planet and a bat that impresses the likes of Mike Schmidt. Manny is the total package. He is a have your cake and eat it too type player.

But still, Cubs fans don’t want any part of him if it costs Addison, Almora, and Montgomery. I agree with them, and I’d think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that wouldn’t. Thing is, the Orioles know exactly what they have in Machado, so why would they deal him for some castoffs?

This isn’t a new precedent either. In the 2015 offseason the Atlanta Braves traded Jason Heyward to the St Louis Cardinals for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins. Miller, if anyone remembers, was a highly thought of pitcher that had huge expectations. Jenkins was a highly touted prospect. So the Cards got one year of Heyward and gave up several years of potentially great pitching.

Hindsight has shown us that Miller wasn’t the prospect he was thought to be, but this was the plan Baltimore wanted to follow.

The Cubs only have Mike Montgomery as an MLB ready type, so I’m sure Dan thought why not ask for Addison and perhaps Almora? Outside of Chicago, there’s serious questions on Addison’s ability. He hasn’t shown offensive reliability, and it isn’t a secret that his shoulder isn’t incredibly strong. I’d imagine Baltimore sees Russell as a risk/reward type and Almora as the insurance guy making the deal worth while. Well, him and Monty.

If the Cubs were to receive two-years of control on Machado, I believe it’s a fairer deal. But they won’t. He will be a free agent come November 2018, and many experts believe he will earn a $400 million deal alongside Bryce Harper.

I’m not crazy about this, but here is how it can work.

Cubs send Addison, Albert, and Monty and get Manny in return. It will hurt to lose collectively 13 years of control, but it opens some doors as well. The Cubs would still have room to sign a Yu Darvish or Alex Cobb. Heyward moves into center field and Zobrist potentially sees much more time in right. Ian Happ would see more time out there as well, and could be an everyday CF or even RF. Javier Baez will take the everyday reigns at the two-bag rounding out the infield.

That will get the Cubs through 2018. But it opens a huge door for 2019.

Yes, Bryce Harper.

With Machado leaving to free agency, the Cubs would still keep Heyward in center leaving right field open. It doesn’t end here though…

A huge question mark has always been how the Cubs pay all of the core come 2021-22. They will certainly have the money to do it, but the luxury tax could limit what the team can economically do. Removing Addison Russell and Albert Almora from that equation, as bad as it sounds, makes it more probable to keeping the band together. All the while bringing Harper in too.

It clears positions for everyone too. Baez plays short, Happ (or anyone really) plays second. Heyward stays in center, and Bryce takes over right. Then of course Schwarber plays left.

Its easier said then done, but paying Bryce $40 million, Bryant $40, Anthony Rizzo $25 million, Heyward $23 million, Schwarber $15 million, Willson Contreras $18 million leaves $35 million-ish for others while staying under a 2022-26 luxury tax. By that time I’d imagine one of those guys might be moved by then opening more room.

I don’t like the offer, and I’d turn it down… but it creates some interesting opportunities for sure. Things would absolutely have to play out according to those conditions. Rarely do they work perfectly, without some collusion.