The Los Angeles Dodgers have won the Manny Machado sweepstakes, garnering the prized All-Star shortstop from the Baltimore Orioles in a trade finalized Thursday night.
Machado, a power-hitter with extraordinary fielding skills, greatly improves the Dodgers’ chances of reaching the World Series for a second consecutive year. He led Baltimore in batting average (.315), home runs (24) and RBIs (65).
Heading to Baltimore are a group of prospects highlighted by Yusniel Diaz who was playing at the Double A level in the Dodgers minor league chain. Diaz hit two home runs in this past Sunday’s Futures Game.
Machado’s contract expires at the end of the season, and the last-place Orioles decided against negotiating an expensive, multi-year extension because they have too many holes as the team moves into a rebuilding mode.
Though only a summer rental, Machado was coveted by a variety of contenders, including Philadelphia, Milwaukee, the Chicago Cubs and Arizona, currently a half-game behind the first-place Dodgers in the NL West.
Los Angeles gets a four-time AL All-Star with two Gold Gloves who has 129 homers over the last 3½ seasons. Machado was drafted third overall by the Orioles in 2010, made his big league debut in 2012 and spent his entire major league career in Baltimore.
The Dodgers are filling a gaping hole at shortstop created by the loss of Corey Seager, who underwent elbow surgery in May.
And Machado moves from a cellar-dweller to a division-leading club in the middle of a pennant race. Not only that, but Machado likely gets to stay at shortstop, the position he manned this year after previously playing third base for Baltimore.