There has been a lot in the news lately surrounding the rumors of the Baltimore Orioles shopping All-Star third baseman Manny Machado. On the surface, it would seem improbable that one of the game’s youngest and brightest stars and defensive wizards would be on the trading block. However, he reportedly was and could very well still be if the price is right. However, is Machado’s current situation a warning sign or potential omen for the Colorado Rockies?
At 25, Machado is a three-time All-Star, two-time winner of a Gold Glove and the owner of a Platinum Glove. He has hit over 30 homers the last three seasons while driving in 277 runs. He is often compared to Colorado’s 26-year-old Nolan Arenado, a three-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glove winner and owner of a Platinum Glove. Over the last three seasons, Arenado has hit 120 homers and driven in 130 or more runs all three years.
Both are solid at the plate. Both are legendary for their plays in the field. Both are playing for teams that aren’t always known for spending enormous amounts on their star players. Both have the end of their contracts looming in the near future.
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Machado is scheduled to become a free agent in 2019 and Arenado will become a free agent in 2020. Machado made $11.5 million last season and is scheduled for arbitration this offseason. Arenado is scheduled to make $17.75 this season and is scheduled for arbitration next offseason. Both stand to make a lot more than that in free agency. Based on our research, we simulated a move during the recent FanSided winter meetings where we signed Arenado to a seven-year, $203 million ($29 million annually) contract plus eighth year option at the same rate. All totaled, there was a $5 million buyout and $208 million guaranteed.
That’s a ballpark figure for what the Rockies could be looking to pay Arenado in the near future to keep the face of the franchise in a Colorado uniform throughout the prime of his career. If the Rockies don’t, it’s very likely that another team will. Yes, that includes the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, all teams with deep pockets and histories of paying big money.
This is the situation staring Baltimore in the face and one of the reasons why the Orioles wanted to test the trade winds this offseason with Machado. It is a tough decision. Do you trade the face of the franchise and hopefully get a king’s ransom in return or do you take a chance on losing your star in free agency with nothing in return?
Baltimore is facing it now … and Colorado could be facing it next offseason. The Rockies have a lot of decisions to be made with not only Arenado but also Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu, both due to be free agents in 2019. Who stays? Who goes? Who will be deemed worthy of a big contract? These are the decisions facing Jeff Bridich in the very near future.
According to Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post, Arenado wants to play for a consistent winner, emphasizing he wants to play in the World Series and win games in front of large crowds. We talked about it in this article. Honestly, what baseball player doesn’t want those things? However, can the Rockies give Arenado those things as well as a large contract?
If the answer is no, don’t be surprised if the Rockies follow a similar blueprint to the Orioles just to see if there might be any takers in what would be a franchise-changing trade. It may seem unlikely, but Baltimore fans probably thought the same about Machado until recent weeks.