Reports around Major League Baseball indicate All-Star Manny Machado will be playing for the Dodgers. What does this mean for the Chicago Cubs?
For the better part of the first half of the season, Manny Machado rumors swirled around the league. It now appears that Machado has found a temporary home with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Machado’s contract only lasts through the 2018 season. With Dodgers franchise shortstop Corey Seager sidelined with an ACL injury, they were a natural fit. Machado will undoubtedly bolster a lineup with aspirations of winning a World Series after coming up just short last season.
Standing in their way will likely be the team they’ve faced in each of the last two League Championship Series – the Chicago Cubs.
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How the Cubs matchup with the Dodgers
The Cubs currently have the best record in the National League. After a slow start, they continued to pick up steam as the season progresses.
Chicago battled through injuries and inconsistencies in their starting rotation and everyday lineup through the first half. They entered the All-Star Break 2 1/2 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers in the Central Division. They finally got Kris Bryant back from a lengthy injury. The team hopes for a return from the DL in the near future for their Yu Darvish, as well.
If Darvish and the rest of the starting rotation can find its rhythm in the second half of the season, this club matches up with just about any team in the league.
Brewers come up short in Machado sweepstakes
The aforementioned Milwaukee Brewers put together a strong first half. Craig Counsell‘s club is shooting for their first division crown since 2011.
Free agent acquisitions of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain have paid off in a big way. Each individual represented the Brewers along with Jesus Aguilar, Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress in the Midsummer Classic.
The Brewers reportedly had detailed talks with Baltimore regarding Machado. At the end of the day, though, couldn’t match the package of five prospects the Dodgers offered.
Cubs fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Thankfully, an already dangerous Brewers club failed to add a talent like Machado’s to their star-studded lineup.
Look for the Brewers to continue their pursuit of a high level talent at the trade deadline. This race for the Central is far from over. They could still use a top of the rotation arm, a hole they’ve been trying to fill since last year’s deadline.
Are the Dodgers now favorites in the National League?
Machado is a special player. Any team able to land him was surely going to increase their chances to make it to the World Series. He is currently slashing an impressive .315/.387/.575.
That being said, the Dodgers will sacrifice a significant number of prospects for a player they have no intention of re-signing after this season. Sound familiar? It should. Remember the Cubs’ 2016 acquisition of Aroldis Chapman two years ago? It’s World Series-or-bust for the Dodgers.
Despite Machado being a huge shot in the arm for the Dodgers, they’ve won without Seager in the past. Just last season, they were able to beat the Cubs in five games to reach the World Series without their star shortstop.
In that series, fill-ins Kike Hernandez and Charlie Culberson proved to be more than adequate replacements for Seager. Hernandez hit .444 and hammered three home runs in the series-clinching Game 5. Culberson was a tough out the entire series, and finished the NLCS with an .455 average.
If the Cubs and Dodgers do happen to meet for a third straight year in the NLCS, Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers front office better hope Machado can produce similarly to how Hernandez and Culberson did in 2017, or the Cubs may have the upper hand.