Who Are These ‘Mystery Teams’ for Machado?
Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez - USA Today Sports
If one thing was for certain after watching the postseason antics of Manny Machado, it would be that the sweepstakes for him wouldn’t be anything less than dramatic.
And so far, it’s done nothing to disappoint.
Even if it’s just scrolling through the ole Twitter timeline and seeing Yankees fans go at it, debating on whether or not it makes sense to sign Machado, or Dodgers fans openly thanking whoever the team is who will take the so-called ‘dirty’ Machado off their hands, it’s safe to say it’ll be fun to see where Machado ends up from an outsider’s perspective.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network and FanRag Sports reported that on top of the Yankees, Phillies, and White Sox, there could be up to three more ‘mystery’ teams who are looking to sign a star player like Machado.
But who are these three mystery teams, and how could they serve as a potential destination for the 26-year-old infielder? That’s what’s being discussed.
Let’s try and take a crack at who these three mystery teams are, shall we?
Team One – The Atlanta Braves
Atlanta made a splash back on November 26, signing 2015 AL-MVP Josh Donaldson to a one-year deal worth $23 million. This deal removed Johan Camargo from his starting gig at third base in 2019. Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos has marveled at the versatility Camargo brings and said signing Donaldson does not mean that his prized young infielder is on the block.
However, there have been reports that teams around the league have been conversing with Atlanta about potentially acquiring shortstop Dansby Swanson. Swanson is known primarily for his glove, netting 10 defensive runs saved at shortstop in 2018 according to Baseball Reference.
But surely the Braves wouldn’t trade Dansby Swanson unless they planned on making Johan Camargo the everyday shortstop in 2019, right?
Wrong. In fact, even with the Donaldson signing, the Braves sit at roughly $78.5 million on the books before arbitration. So they still have money to spend, making them a likely dark-horse destination for the game’s top infield free agent.
Team Two – The Colorado Rockies
This one seems like more of a reach, but hear me out on it. One of the main reasons why Colorado got swept out in the NLDS was the fact they scored just two runs in the three games. The pitching outside of Game 3 was fantastic, allowing just 13 runs. The Rockies need to add depth in their starting rotation as well as the bullpen with a guy like Adam Ottavino destined to leave.
But with the likelihood of second baseman D.J. LeMahieu signing elsewhere, that means Colorado is going to need a replacement infielder. While it’s definitely not a likely scenario to see Manny Machado play second base, the Rockies do have a versatile infielder who could—Trevor Story.
Story has only played shortstop in his 399 games in the majors, but he did play a couple games at second in the minors.
The Rockies have just over $88 million on the books for next season, but a lot of their guys are on pre-arbitration, so they could theoretically make a sneaky push to land Machado.
Imagine that man at Coors? The rest of the league would rather not.
Team Three – The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Being stuck in a pit of mediocrity over the past few years, the Los Angeles Angels are growing increasingly desperate to piece together a contending team as soon as possible.
Mike Trout is a free agent after 2020, so the Angels are going to need something to market to the lifelong Philly-sports fanatic that says Los Angeles baseball is better than in the City of Brotherly Love.
Here’s where Manny Machado comes in. The Angels already have their middle infield set with the likes of Andrelton Simmons and Zack Cozart—but third base is a bit of a question mark. The Halos tried to use Cozart there briefly last year, but injuries derailed that experiment. So they reverted to the likes of David Fletcher, Taylor Ward, and the recently deceased Luis Valbuena to provide a stabilizer at the hot corner.
But Machado does a lot more than just provide stability. The man was an MVP candidate on a very bad Baltimore team before getting shipped out West to the Angels cross-town rival, the Dodgers. Machado can slide right in as the third baseman, with Simmons and Cozart staying at their natural positions.
The Angels already have Trout and Shohei Ohtani—why not add a young superstar like Manny Machado? Not only can he keep you in contention, but he’s also a box office player that sells a lot of tickets and merchandise.
Aside from Bryce Harper, Machado is the biggest free agent in baseball. The question remains as to who will sign the four-time All-Star.
There’s no telling what Manny Machado will do in a couple of weeks. While it appears as if the three designated teams are the most likely to acquire the Florida native, there’s definitely some interesting cases to be made for others, as well as some intriguing speculation as to who the mystery teams are.