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MLB rumors: Could Marlins pursue Manny Machado in 2018?

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A report Sunday linked the Marlins to Machado, a Latin American star who could move the needle in Miami under new ownership.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe introduced an intriguing scenario in his Sunday column, writing that “it would make sense” for the Marlins to pursue Manny Machado in free agency after the 2018 season.

Though big-time free-agent players like the Yankees and Dodgers are expected to be involved in the bidding for both Machado and Bryce Harper in two years, Miami could make sense for Machado, a Miami native. The Orioles will also have both Adam Jones and Zach Britton hit free agency at that time, lessening the chance Machado re-signs with Baltimore.

The Marlins, who are in the midst of an ownership change that has left the organization in flux, may look to bring in a major Latin American star to revitalize baseball in Miami. The loss of Jose Fernandez last September left the organization without it’s dominant Latin American star to go alongside Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich.

Stanton’s 13-year, $325 million deal is a potential obstacle in Miami’s pursuit of Machado, though the club could look to trade Stanton, who is said to be willing to consider waiving his no-trade clause to move to a west-coast team. Stanton, of course, can opt out after the 2020 season, potentially saving the Marlins $218 million over the final seven years of the deal.

Though it’s obviously too early to tell if the Marlins will be a serious player for Machado considering their future ownership group isn’t even finalized, adding a cornerstone piece like the Orioles’ third baseman is likely one of the major goals for any new owner in Miami. Only time will tell if the Marlins will decide to compete with the big fish on the free-agent market in less than two years.