Machado, 25, has been the subject of trade rumors all offseason, as he’s entering his final season before free agency. While he had a relatively disappointing 2017 season, posting a .259/.310/.471 slash line with 33 homers in 690 plate appearances — good for a 107 OPS+ — Machado is widely considered one of the game’s most exciting players. After he was surrounded by incessant trade rumors for a couple weeks in early December, the trade talk had cooled down recently, as USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale reported that the Orioles were unlikely to move him after receiving unsatisfactory offers. The Red Sox’s continued interest in him, though, could reignite those trade rumors.
The Orioles and Red Sox are AL East rivals, which obviously limits the likelihood of a deal. Rumors have circulated about Baltimore owner Peter Angelos’ reluctance to trade Machado within the division, and even if he were to sign off on a deal, Machado going to the Red Sox could be awkward. He engaged in an extended feud with Boston in 2017, as Machado spiked Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia in the calf, causing Boston reliever Matt Barnes to throw at his head in retaliation. That launched a war of words (and more beanballs) that went back and forth between the teams for several weeks. Machado has no say in whether he’s traded and could get over the feud as time progresses, but it’s certainly not the most ideal set of circumstances if the Red Sox plan on retaining him beyond 2018.
With all that said, Morosi pointed out on Friday night that Orioles GM Dan Duquette and Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski worked together in the Expos’ front office more than 30 years ago, possibly creating the chemistry necessary for them to pull a deal off.
While Machado is capable of playing both third base and shortstop — and previous reports have suggested that he’d prefer to be a shortstop going forward — the Red Sox don’t have an opening at either of those positions, with Rafael Devers coming off a strong rookie campaign at third base and Xander Bogaerts entrenched at shortstop. It seems likely that one of those players would have to be moved in order to open up a spot for Machado. With Bogaerts under club control through 2019 and Devers controlled through 2023, both players could be major assets for Baltimore if they’re trying to avoid a true rebuild as much as possible. The Red Sox also have a pair of top-100 prospects as ranked by MLB Pipeline, lefty Jay Groome and third baseman Michael Chavis, so they could assemble an impressive package if they’re dead-set on acquiring Machado.