By all accounts, including those dictated by collective common sense, the Cubs have fallen way back in the Manny Machado sweepstakes. Not only does their current offensive production — both on the whole and from Addison Russell — render his addition something of a zero-sum game*, but the desire and aggressiveness of other teams invariably means the Cubs would be out-spent even if they did pursue this move.
Make no mistake, there have been talks between the Cubs and Orioles. That’s been true since this past winter and the teams have remained in contact since. According to the Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo Encina, the Cubs are among seven teams to have made an actual offer for the slugging shortstop. Citing a source, he lists the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Brewers, Phillies, Braves, and Indians as having the most appealing offers, with the Cubs coming in last.
But according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko, who may well be getting his information from the same source, the Cubs are actually sixth on the list with the Indians coming in last. Kubatko adds that “there isn’t much of a gap” between the various offers, though other reports tell us that two teams appear to be out in front.
Ken Rosenthal tweeted Sunday that the Dodgers and Brewers were the most serious suitors, adding that the Indians were also in the mix. And MLB.com’s Jon Morosi wrote in the wee hours Monday morning that the Brewers are both motivated and well-positioned to land Machado.
Are the Brewers on the verge of acquiring Machado? It’s too soon to say that. But as time goes on, there are more reasons to believe Milwaukee is the frontrunner.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported over the weekend that the Dodgers and Brewers were the most serious suitors for Machado. On Sunday, multiple sources confirmed to MLB.com that those two teams are among the most aggressive in pursuing Machado — but that others are involved.
And based on their respective farm systems — and organizational strategies — the Brewers are better positioned than the Dodgers to land Machado.
As Morosi reasons, the Brewers have depth in both minor-league pitching and major-league positional talent to make an offer that would suit the Orioles without hurting Milwaukee’s chances this season. He likens it to the CC Sabathia deal 10 years ago, which is another move the Brewers made when they had a team that hoped to get over on the Cubs in a meaningful way.
We’re well past the point of wondering whether the Brewers are for real, so making a splashy move for a monster rental like Machado could determine the course of the second half of the season in the NL Central. And it could come to fruition as soon as this weekend, Encina’s source said. Given the number of teams involved and the way the O’s have traditionally gone about their business, however, it’s unlikely anything get well ahead of the July 31 deadline.
So even as the Cubs grow increasingly less likely to really pursue Machado, the long-awaited conclusion of this saga could well be of great interest to them.
*From a statistical standpoint, since there still exist personal and philosophical reasons to consider making changes.