Chicago Cubs Rumors: Is Manny Machado the long-term answer?

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs have been in their share of trade talks the last few years. But this year, it takes on a whole different meaning when talking about Manny Machado.

The last two seasons, the Chicago Cubs have been in the middle of the pack of teams that have made trades before the trade deadline. In 2016, it was Gleyber Torres for Aroldis Chapman, and in 2017 it was Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease for Jose Quintana.

What is in store for 2018? Well, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, Manny Machado is a possibility. Per source, Tom Ricketts says Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer can be as aggressive as they want in an attempt to keep Machado in Chicago long-term after his contract expires at the end of this season if they indeed were able to create a trade the Cubs and the Baltimore Orioles would agree on. It’s been rumored that Machado could get anywhere from $300-$400 million over a long-term deal.

Baltimore needs a fix

The story goes on to discuss Machado and outfielder Albert Almora Jr. relationship that dates back to when they were kids in Miami.

Before the possibility of keeping Machado long-term is discussed, what would it take to make a trade for him? The entire baseball world knows the Orioles, who are 8-26 and last in the AL East. They’re at a point where they need to start from scratch as a franchise and Machado is their most significant asset of value they could trade to help rebuild their franchise.

It’s more about creating a contract that Machado will agree upon that could be harder than the trade with Baltimore.

A deal to be struck?

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In the case of a mid-season trade, the Cubs position player most likely in this trade is Addison Russell. Despite his inconsistency at the plate, he’s shown to be an A-grade defensive player and shown he can stay on the field to go with his youth. He once earned comparisons to Barry Larkin, but he has a long way to go to reach that peak with the bat.

This means Russell and more in a trade? The Cubs minor league system is not loaded like it was when they traded for Chapman or even Quintana, but there are still some prospects that could be used as extras.

Still, Russell and some mid-tier minor league players don’t sound fair for Machado. That is unless he doesn’t commit to a long-term contract.

Happ, Almora or Monty?

Maybe someone like Ian Happ, or Almora would have to be included? On the pitching side, Mike Montgomery is also intriguing considering the Orioles have a deep need for pitching. That’s how frustrating Russell’s value is. He has lots of potential, but he seems to have shown what he is. A defensive shortstop that can hit for power at times. It’s hard to tell what front office’s around baseball think of him.

The pressure is on Baltimore to make a trade before the trade deadline. Or else they will get nothing back for him in all likelihood. The chances of him returning to Baltimore are also slim. This leaves teams like the Cubs and most notably the Los Angeles Dodgers without the pressure to make an in-season trade. The Dodgers make more sense to make a deal as a rental given Corey Seager will be back next season.

Machado has long stated he plans to test free agency, and that is his right. An infield of himself, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras and Anthony Rizzo has to be intriguing, however. Playing in the city of Chicago and playing the majority of the season at historic Wrigley Field are nice add-ons, too.

Next: Cubs, bullpen sneak past Marlins

If the Cubs do indeed make the trade for Machado, it’s likely they’d only do it if he commits to a long-term contract.

For now, the Cubs will tread lightly. If they make a deal for Machado, great. If not, there’s always the offseason. If not Machado, there’s Bryce Harper.