The Orioles are still actively shopping Manny Machado, and now as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports, Machado would now like to play shortstop whether he is in Baltimore in 2018, or elsewhere.
Machado, 25, has quickly become one of the stars on the trade block that could be moved during this year’s Winter Meetings. The Orioles lack starting pitching and have an underwhelming farm system, so trading Machado could give Dan Duquette and company the opportunity to upgrade both.
Baltimore’s asking price is not low. They are reportedly asking for two controllable, young starters in return for Machado as they are seeking as many as three starting pitchers this offseason. It’s a high price, but the star third baseman may receive that kind of interest.
After back-to-back top five MVP finishes in 2015 and 2016, Machado had his worst pro season in 2017, largely due to his abysmal first half where he hit just .230/.296/.445. Machado had a strong second half and finished the season with a .259/.310/.471 line with 33 homers, 95 RBIs, and 33 doubles.
Machado’s interest in moving to shortstop is an interesting request. The star third baseman has become one of the premiere fielders in the game winning two gold gloves at the hot corner, and he lacks much pro experience at short with only 52 games played there out of his 715 career games he has appeared in. Still, Machado is built to have the ability to play either third or short, and moving over to shortstop could make him a more valuable free agent next offseason.
Machado is expected to sign a lucrative deal as one of the top players in the next offseason’s loaded free agent class. With concerns as to whether they can sign him or not, the O’s may try to unload now to get something in return for their star player, rather than losing him for nothing next offseason. The Orioles are also expected to listen on Zach Britton, Brad Brach, and Adam Jones, all of whom are free agents after next season.