The Yankees have checked back in on Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, FanRag's Jon Heyman reports Friday morning. Heyman pinpoints the odds of a deal between the two clubs as "less than great", but believes that New York may have the best chance of landing the superstar.
Machado, 25, saw a drop in his offensive production in 2017 with a .259/.310/.471 slashline, though advanced metrics indicate he suffered from some bad luck; Machado led all of baseball with 250 batted balls with an exit velocity of 95 mph or above. His combination of impressive range and plus-plus arm strength makes Machado an enticing trade chip for any club looking to compete in 2018.
While Baltimore's 2017 struggles—paired with Machado's impending free-agency departure—make dealing the two-time Gold Glover a logical move, the club has been reluctant to take that first step in a rebuild. Despite trade assets in Machado, Brad Brach, and the now-injured Zach Britton, the Orioles have failed to improve their future while fading toward irrelevancy in an uber-competitive AL East.
With that being said, the Orioles have certainly made Machado available: The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported in December (article requires subscription) that Baltimore was seeking two controllable young pitchers in return for Machado. Yet Machado may not be available to the Yankees, according to Rosenthal, due to doubts that Orioles owner Peter Angelos would approve a deal with New York.
The Yankees still boast one of baseball's strongest farm systems—headlined by shortstop Gleyber Torres and outfielder Clint Frazier—even after acquiring former-Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, and have the prospect depth to make Baltimore's Machado decision even harder.
New York has a plethora of young arms to offer to the Orioles, like left-hander Justice Sheffield or right-handers Chance Adams, Albert Abreu, Luis Medina, and Domingo Acevedo, all of whom factor into the Yankees' top ten prospects according to Baseball America.
Because the Orioles are not willing to grant a 72-hour window for clubs to negotiate an extension with Machado, the Orioles' potential return in a trade lessens. However, according to Heyman, the Yankees believe Machado already strongly prefers the Bronx as his free agent destination next winter.