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Pitching depth is the key for Phils in trade market

Adonis Medina
Adonis Medina of the World Team pitches against the U.S. Team during the All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on July 15, 2018. Medina has been a target of the Orioles in a potential deal for Manny Machado. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Everybody wants pitching and the Phillies have depth in that department, which is exactly why the team is the front-runner to get Manny Machado away from the Baltimore Orioles. While other teams have put together good offers for Machado, they haven’t done the one thing that the Orioles have wanted them to do; hand over a key pitching prospect as part of the deal.

Baltimore is desperate for young pitching and that’s where their target is in terms of what they want in exchange for Machado. Some teams, like the Indians and Yankees, appear to have fallen by the wayside because they weren’t going to part with one of their top pitching prospects in what could amount to renting Machado for the last half of the season. The Dodgers and Brewers are still hanging in there but both have refused to put a guy that the Orioles definitely want as part of the deal into a package of players. Baltimore has asked Milwaukee for Corbin Burnes and have asked Los Angeles for Dustin May, but haven’t been able to get either team to budge.

The Orioles had asked for top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez and the Phillies weren’t going to include him, but were able to pivot to another pitcher the Phillies have in Adonis Medina. While Medina isn’t quite the prospect that Sanchez is, the Orioles still covet him and he’s better than what either Milwaukee or Los Angeles is offering in terms of pitching.

Here’s where it gets interesting. If either the Dodgers or Brewers blink and include the guy that the Orioles really want, will it be enough to push them in front of the Phillies? And if it is good enough, would the Phillies then counter and allow Baltimore to have Sanchez?

From all reports, it seems that the wheeling and dealing isn’t going to drag on which is great news for the Phillies. It would give them a couple extra weeks to have Machado rather than waiting until pulling off a deal at the end of the month. It would also give them the opportunity to continue to look around the market and see if they can make something else happen.

By all indications, the deal for Machado won’t cost the Phillies anything from the major league roster. Aaron Altherr, J.P. Crawford and Maikel Franco have all been mentioned as possible parts to a deal. Franco was put in hoping to get the Orioles off of wanting a top pitcher and the other two were asked about by Baltimore. It’s unlikely that the Phillies would include Franco as long as Medina is in the deal, but Crawford or Altherr could conceivably still be included.

Look for some combination of pitcher Franklyn Kilome, infielder Arquimedes Gamboa and outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz to be included in a deal for Machado.

One other lingering question to the Machado deal is if the Phillies can get the O’s to include Zach Britton. While Britton is still coming off of an injury and not putting up his usual numbers, the Phillies are still very interested. Baltimore prefers to handle Machado and Britton in separate deals but that’s not to say that the Phillies couldn’t double back and pursue Britton in a later deal with Baltimore.

The Phillies could still get in on Cole Hamels and/or Adrian Beltre from the Rangers. Hamels would be very interested in a return to the City of Brotherly Love and the Phillies love Beltre. In recent days it seems more likely that Beltre may be staying in Texas. He has a full no-trade clause and has expressed interest in re-signing with the Rangers following the season.

Even with Medina included in the trade for Machado, the Phillies would still be able to afford putting a pitching prospect in a deal for Hamels or another pitcher. Nathan Eovaldi has piqued the Phillies interest and the Phillies could use the extra time they would have thanks to an early Machado deal to go after Eovaldi or Hamels.

Don’t be surprised if a Baltimore and Philadelphia deal is announced any time after Machado finishes his work in the All-Star Game. That’s how quickly the Orioles are said to be interested in dealing Machado and having him play in the game as an Oriole is the only thing that seems to be delaying a trade to Philadelphia or elsewhere. In other words, Orioles fans are likely going to see Machado play his final game in a Baltimore uniform in the nation’s capital Tuesday night.

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