San Diego Padres: Ignore the Manny Machado Talk

Whether it’s selling hot pieces, buying a piece or two for the future run, or moving young pieces in an unbelievably deep minor league system, the San Diego Padres could make a lot of noise at the deadline, if they choose to.

Jon Heyman, of FanRag Sports, seems to be stirring the pot, once again. Earlier this morning, a tweet was sent out, portraying the San Diego Padres as one of the top seven teams to trade for Baltimore Orioles shortstop, Manny Machado. Insert Michael Jordan “Stop It” meme here.

As Heyman points out in his article, the Padres have the prospects to make the move, obviously. San Diego could make this move and still have the top rated farm system in Major League Baseball going into next season. There’s also the fact that the Baltimore Orioles have zero infield or pitching prospects that would rank in the top 40 in this Padres’ system, meaning even lower-end San Diego prospects would be a huge upgrade in Baltimore.

Baltimore is in no position to make huge demands for Machado, seeing as the organization is free-falling into a total disaster. It’s also all but a guarantee that Machado will not re-sign with the Orioles when his contract expires after this season.

As Dennis Lin pointed out in his latest for The Athletic (subscription required), San Diego will need to move a number of prospects, otherwise, they risk losing quality talent in the Rule-5 draft. Machado isn’t the player to clear up this situation with.

As a third baseman, Machado was one of the best to ever man the position. A nightly highlight reel in the hot corner, Machado made the move largely for one reason, respect for J.J. Hardy.

When the Orioles decided not to bring back Hardy, Machado made it crystal clear to Manager Buck Showalter that he was the starting shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles, even though the team had acquired Tim Beckham, last season. He wants to play the rest of his career as a shortstop. The Padres have two top shortstop prospects in Fernando Tatis and (down the road) Gabriel Arias.

Checking in with the Orioles isn’t a bad idea.

Could the Padres compete with the Yankees, Phillies, Cardinals, and other bigger-market teams that can afford to make Machado one of the highest paid players in baseball history? With very little financial commitments past this season, it could be possible. But it doesn’t make a lot of sense with pieces like Tatis, Luis Urias, Logan Allen, and others quickly working their way towards the major league roster.

However, while A.J. Preller is doing his “due diligence” with the Orioles, he should maybe ask about Kevin Gausman or Dylan Bundy. Gausman has slashed his walk-rate and is producing more groundballs than ever before (over 48%). He pitched nine shutout innings (two hits allowed) earlier this season, which his team eventually lost. The Orioles can out-Padres the Padres any day of the week.

Bundy has been on a bit of a slide recently, however, his slider is still one of the more devastating pitches in baseball, helping him produce a strikeout rate of nearly 27%. Either starting pitcher could, more than likely, be had without having to deal any top 10 prospects.

Would a Fernando Tatis/Machado left side of the infield be the greatest show in baseball? Without a doubt, but is giving out the largest contract in Padres history by $250-300 million worth it? San Diego can still acquire major league talent at the deadline while moving minor league assets to clear up the road ahead, but they can do it in a much smarter way than cashing out their lottery tickets for either three-month rental to help them reach third place in the division or making one of the biggest financial commitments in baseball history.