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July 14, 2018

MLB Trade Rumors: Phillies front-runners to land Manny Machado after upping their offer

They're also reportedly showing serious interest in Orioles closer Zach Britton

If it feels like just last week you were reading reports that the Phillies were backing off their pursuit of Orioles infielder Manny Machado, it's because you were. But as the MLB Trade Deadline (July 31) rapidly approaches, it appears as though general manager Matt Klentak — perhaps in part due to his first-place team's recent on-field success — is once again trying to broker a deal with Baltimore. 

On Friday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported that the Phillies had not only decided to remain in the Machado market, but to up their offer. 

A few hours later, Rosenthal added that the Orioles had "ramped up their background work" on potential trade targets in the Phillies farm system. 

Jon Heyman of reported on Friday that the Phillies "were getting 'aggressive'" in their pursuit of Machado — as well as Orioles closer Zach Britton. However, he wouldn't go so far as to call them the favorite to land either. At least not yet.

The Phillies haven't been called the favorite yet, and the Brewers, Dodgers, Yankees and maybe a couple others remain in the hunt for Machado. But there have been suggestions they are willing to part with at least one from the higher tier of their excellent prospect list. Given that, as of Friday they would seem to have as good a chance as anyone.  []

But that changed on Saturday when Heyman reported that, after a "serious" push, the Phillies appear to be ahead of rival clubs in the race to land Machado.

So what might the Phillies be offering the Orioles? According to Heyman's story from Friday, it likely won't be top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez. But they still have plenty left to offer Baltimore, an organization with which the Phillies have a very close relationship.

The word in circles is that the Phillies would not part with top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez and also probably Enyel De Los Santos, who had an impressive MLB debut this week, but the names of several other fine prospects are floating. Jim Salisbury of Comcast Philadelphia mentioned pitchers Adonis Medina, Ranger Suarez and Franklyn Kilome, infielder Arquimedes Gamboa and outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz, as well as big leaguers such as outfielder Aaron Altherr and third baseman Maikel Franco.

Almost the entire Phillies executive team came from Baltimore, including president Andy MacPhail, GM Matt Klentak and Joe Jordan, the scouting director who picked both Machado and Britton. They covet those two Orioles, just as they did ex-Oriole Jake Arrieta, another favorite from Baltimore who signed a lucrative contract with the Phillies.  []

Machado, who entered play Saturday hitting .313 (.951 OPS) with 23 home runs and 64 RBI, would reportedly remain at shortstop, the position he's taken over in Baltimore this season after winning a pair of Gold Gloves at third base. Obviously, he'd be a big boost to a Phillies offense that is third in strikeouts and tied for the fifth-worst batting average in baseball as they prepare for a postseason push many didn't see coming this season.

However, adding Machado now would give the Phillies a leg up on re-signing the 26 year old when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. 

As for Britton, the Phillies are one of a handful of teams showing interest, as a closer — let alone a two-time All-Star — is a very valuable asset for any team with playoff aspirations. Heyman said one Orioles source believes he could return as much as Machado. 

And if you're thinking maybe the Phillies can swing some sort of discount by taking both at the same time, I wouldn't count on it. 


On Saturday evening, ESPN's Buster Olney added some reporting of his own that only seems to validate what Heyman and Rosenthal are hearing:

RELATED: 5 players the Phillies should trade for (if they can't get Machado)

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