White Sox were rumored to have expressed trade interest in Baltimore third baseman. Why should the team trade for the infielder who will be free agent next year?
Despite a rebuild that’s entering its second season in 2018, the White Sox and Rick Hahn have not failed in getting the stove boiling in the offseason. This year, the fuel of the fire are the trade talks centered around Manny Machado. Of the teams interested, the White Sox seem to be the best fit given their deep farm system. However, the rumors have Southside fans asking, “Do we really need him?”
It’s a fair point, given that the Sox chances of contention in 2018 are not the greatest. However, despite Machado’s talent right now, he could end up being a crucial asset to the rebuild if acquired.
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It is not a secret that Machado’s contract expires following the 2018 season. It is also not a secret that he aspires to play shortstop for any team that acquires him. With that being said, any team that could potentially trade for him would likely have to pencil him in at shortstop if they want any chance of resigning him past 2018. This is where the problems begin to stir for the Sox.
As of right now, the long term answer at shortstop has been found in Tim Anderson. If the White Sox would want any chance of resigning the superstar following a trade, Anderson would have to accept a move to another position.
Any team would love to have a player with the caliber of Machado. For the White Sox however, the acquisition would come with controversy. This has sparked questions for Hahn and the front office. Is it worth giving away a part of the farm system, something that Hahn has worked endlessly to improve over the past two seasons, to acquire a superstar like Machado despite uncertainties?
To start off, lets look at the route that sees the White Sox trading for Machado. He would obviously only come at a hefty price. Experts and analysts on social media gave their two cents on the possibility of the trade, and it sparked some fear in White Sox faithful.
One of the first names that came up in possibilities was fan favorite Michael Kopech. The young, triple digit throwing righty is arguably the best trade asset in the organization besides Yoan Moncada. The second Kopech’s name came up, White Sox nation expressed their displeasure. This did not last long, as Hahn made it clear Kopech was an untouchable piece. Dan Clark noted this in a tweet early in the trade discussions.
When it was made clear that Kopech would be going nowhere, more Sox fans got on board with the idea of acquiring Machado. Obviously in the case of a trade, Hahn would have to surrender valuable assets of the farm system. The only thing that has Sox fans reluctant about acquiring a superstar is potential of him not signing an extension and departing after one year. Some fans would prefer just making a run for him in free agency next year.
The thing is, there is plenty of benefits to acquiring him even without the guarantee of him staying. The best of those benefits is giving him a year tour of one of his more likely destinations, on the South Side. There is no better advertising than actually being a part of the team, which is likely Hahn’s greatest motive in trying to acquire the 25-year old superstar.
Giving Machado a year to adjust to surroundings with the White Sox and the chances of him signing long term become much greater.
Now lets give some thought to another scenario, this one not necessarily as ideal. Lets say the Sox trade for Machado before Opening Day and the season goes south. By July, say the Pale Hose are sitting at the bottom of the standings while Machado is doing his thing in the lineup. There’s always the possibility of flipping him again for prospects that are potentially more highly touted than the ones Hahn would have to give away to get him in the first place.
It’s currently a game of risks either way for Hahn and company. With players like Machado, it is obviously high risk, high reward. Fans aren’t dominantly swayed toward either possible direction. However, it would be impossible for any fan to say they wouldn’t like to see Machado in the lineup every single day.
At this point, the only thing to do besides hope for your ideal scenario is to trust in Hahn. He has exceeded expectations consistently the past few years and has become recognized as one of the best general managers in the game. Regardless of how these heated trade scenarios turn out, the hopes of a future dynasty will not be tarnished, with or without Machado.