By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Let's say this right up front: the Boston Red Sox trading for Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado feels like more of a pipe dream than anything at this point. And Ken Rosenthal's newest story, which mentions the Red Sox as a suitor, reads like pure speculation.
But Rosenthal is as plugged-in and respected as any baseball writer in the game. So there's always the chance he knows something we don't. He's not the kind of reporter who just throws stuff out there to get reactions with no inside knowledge. And at the same time, stunning moves like this are Dave Dombrowski's calling card.
Rosenthal's new report in The Athletic details the complex rebuilding process for the Orioles, which is already in motion on the field. It will also likely entail changes in the dugout and front office as well. They're almost certainly going to move on from Machado before baseball's trade deadline on July 31. And among the big suitors detailed in Rosenthal's story? The Red Sox.
Citing the Sox' 28th league ranking in OPS at third base, Rosenthal looks at the Red Sox as one of four teams that "might want" to land Machado in a deadline deal. He even goes a step further and says the Orioles could add relievers Zach Britton or Brad Brach in such a deal. The Indians, Angels, and Braves are also listed as suitors for Machado, who has no protection against any potential trades.
Current Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers would presumably be the centerpiece of a trade. Rosenthal also acknowledges that Machado would most likely be a pure rental and the Sox would be left with Michael Chavis, who is currently serving an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, and this winter's free-agent market to fill the hot corner for next season and beyond.
Machado wants to stay at shortstop, which makes the Red Sox an unlikely long-term destination for him. So it would come down to whether the team is willing to mortgage several years of Devers under team control at third, and years in which Devers would have a chance to hit at a high level, to bolster their lineup by adding the three-time All-Star. Who, by the way, is still just 25 years old and is on pace for 44 home runs and 121 RBIs this season.
Anyone could take this kind of trade scenario and just hurl it out there into the internet and the Twittersphere, if only to get a good old-fashioned social media pissing match going. Rosenthal is a different animal. His entire brand at The Athletic is built on legitimate, informed reporting, and not baseless hot takes. So when he names the Red Sox as a suitor for Machado, it's at least worth listening.
Beyond the obvious issues with continuing to drain the Red Sox of valuable assets for the future, there's also the whole thing that the Sox don't really need offense. They certainly don't need to make a move this big when it comes to the lineup. But at the same time, Machado's defense at third would be a massive upgrade over Devers, and there's also the possibility that they grab one of the aforementioned relievers as well. Britton or Brach would most certainly have a chance to solve their issues in the middle of the bullpen.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].