Chicago Cubs would be better with Manny Machado – but at what cost?

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /

Yet again, the Chicago Cubs and Manny Machado are connected in rumors. But I stand firm. The Cubs shouldn’t make a deal for the All-Star shortstop.

For what seems like forever, the Chicago Cubs and Manny Machado have been linked in swirling rumblings. With the Baltimore Orioles languishing in the cellar of the American League East, Machado will get dealt – it’s just a matter of time.

The two-time Gold Glove recipient is slashing .342/.422/.652 this year, while leading the league with 13 long balls and 38 RBI. He’s popped at least 33 homers in each of the three previous seasons and at just 25 years of age, represents one of the game’s premier young talents.

It’s not hard to figure out why a team in a championship window (like the Cubs) would trip over themselves trying to add a player of his caliber. But pulling of a blockbuster deal for a rental doesn’t come without its own set of consequences.

Why trading for Manny Machado is a good idea

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Don’t get me wrong.  Manny Machado is really good.

In his first seven seasons in the big leagues, he hit .282 with 171 home runs and 444 RBI. He has also been a remarkably consistent player as well.

Over his career, he’s averaged north of 30 homers and just under 90 RBI each year – hardly something to scoff at. He’s done this while playing stellar defense. – winning those two aforementioned Gold Gloves – and a Platinum Glove.

He is one of the most talented players in the Majors and would be an incredible addition to the Cubs’ already talented  infield.

A great player comes at a great price

At season’s end, Machado’s contract expires. The Orioles will, in all likelihood, deal him. Everyone knows the odds of being able to resign him are slim-to-none.

Because of Machado’s exceptional talent and the current state of the Orioles franchise, they’ll want young, high quality and controllable talent in return. With that being said, it is unclear what the exact price for Machado is. But you can count on it being high.

If I had to guess, here’s how I’d put together a deal. Or, at least start to. For the Cubs to acquire Machado, expect a package centered around Javier Baez or Addison Russell.  And that’s just the beginning. It would also take at least two talented prospects, and who knows, the price could be evenhigher than that.

Final thoughts

Manny Machado is one of the best players in Major League Baseball and would be a make this talented team notably better. But trading for him makes very little sense.

Why? He’s a rental player. Theo Epstein has made his stance on such acquisitions clear. He won’t pillage the farm system for an uncontrollable asset. There are, of course, exceptions. Two years ago, he picked up Aroldis Chapman in a July blockbuster that helped culminate in the team’s historic championship run.

After years of losing, Machado wants to test free agency. More importantly, he wants to win. Chicago trading for him hardly guarantees he stays past 2018 if they even managed to pull off a trade. Whichever team lands him may very well pay a steep price for three months of his services – and nothing more.

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The price for Machado might drop as the trade deadline draws closer, but the demand of top talent and at least one Major League chip seems to be a safe bet. In the end, the cons outweigh the pros for the North Siders in any potential Manny Machado deal.