The Milwaukee Brewers could be on the lookout for middle infield help this July. The biggest name on the market is Manny Machado. What could the Crew put together to acquire him?
In many ways, acquiring Machado from the Baltimore Orioles makes a lot of sense for the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s a high quality defensive shortstop, and a high quality hitter. He can hit for average, hit for power, and make any lineup in the big leagues even better. Incumbent Orlando Arcia is a great defender, but hasn’t produced at the plate. Machado provides an upgrade on offense without downgrading the defense.
But, there are also reasons why Machado doesn’t make sense for the Brewers. He’s a pure rental, becoming a free agent at the end of the season and the Crew will have no chance to re-sign him. He’s going to be expensive to acquire, even as a rental. Brewers GM David Stearns won’t like the idea of moving multiple prospects for a rental player.
Another potential upside to acquiring Machado is preventing the rival Chicago Cubs from getting him. They are known to have interest in him and Machado is known to have interest in the Cubs. They could even be a free agent landing spot for him. If he gets traded there in July, he could decide that he likes it there and sign on for several years. If he does that, winning the NL Central just got that much more difficult for the Crew.
Last year, the Cubs beat David Stearns to the punch for Jose Quintana and it cost them. This year, the Brewers can return the favor. They have the prospects, Chicago does not. But they can dangle Addison Russell and Ian Happ as trade chips.
What can the Milwaukee Brewers offer?
The Brewers have the ability to offer a great prospect package for Machado if they wanted to. But they won’t offer their top players. If the Orioles demand either of Keston Hiura or Corbin Burnes in the trade, David Stearns should hang up the phone. It’s not worth either of those players for only two months of Machado.
Instead, the Brewers can center their package around a different infield prospect and a different pitching prospect.
The Brewers will keep Hiura and Burnes and send their third-best prospect instead. Lucas Erceg is a power hitting third baseman with a strong arm and a great glove. Since the Orioles are removing Machado from the left side of their infield, they can use Erceg as his long-term replacement at the hot corner. With Travis Shaw entrenched at third base in Milwaukee, Erceg may be blocked eventually. He won’t be in Baltimore.
Marcos Diplan is still a young pitching prospect who just moved up to Double-A as a 21 year old. He’s had a tremendous 2018 season so far and is the Crew’s 11th ranked prospect. With his 3.26 ERA this year in 14 starts, the Orioles should be intrigued by the young righty.
Finishing the package is Trey Supak. Supak is the Crew’s 21st ranked prospect, and he’s put together a strong season as well in High-A before earning a mid-season promotion to Double-A. He has a 2.83 ERA between the two levels this season.
Overall, this is a pretty good package for a rental player. Erceg has a bright future and could be a star in this league and move to the big leagues quickly. Diplan and Supak are still young and may take some patience, but the Orioles system needs good arms in the worst way.
Since the Brewers will be resistant to including Hiura or Burnes in any package for Machado, Erceg will have to be the headliner. But he’s a really good player in his own right, and he will be blocked in Milwaukee. Perhaps someone like Domingo Santana could get thrown in a deal like this as well, but that may allow the Crew to keep one of those young arms in their system.
The Manny Machado sweepstakes will be the biggest storyline of this trade season. The Milwaukee Brewers have been known to make big splashes in their history, and they very well could make a move for Machado.