How Scouts, Front Office Personnel Viewed The Machado Trade

Image credit: (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

A survey of front official officials and scouts around baseball has brought back a reasonably consensus opinion on what the Orioles received back from the Dodgers in exchange for shortstop Manny Machado — it’s not great, but it’s pretty good considering the going rate for rentals.

In 2018, teams are generally unwilling to pay a premium price in prospects for two months (and hopefully a third month of playoff action) of almost any player, even when that player has been one of the better all-around players in the American League for multiple years.

It’s a lesson that we saw last year as well.

Last July the Tigers traded J.D. Martinez at a time when the soon-to-be free agent was hitting .307/.388/.630 as one of the best hitters in the American League.

After the trade, Martinez was even better for the Diamondbacks. He hit .302/.366/.741 for the  D-backs with 29 home runs in just 62 games. He was a big reason that the D-backs made it to the Division Series against the Dodgers and was a near perfect trade deadline pickup.

The Tigers return for Martinez did not seem to equal the expected return for a middle of the lineup beast in the midst of his best season. Detroit received shortstops Sergio Alcantara, Dawel Lugo and Jose King. When the Tigers updated Top 10 Prospects list is released shortly, none of the three will crack the Top 10.

That’s not because the Tigers misevaluated. It’s simply because the offers they received for Martinez were generally quite underwhelming.

A month later, the Tigers traded Justin Verlander to the Astros in a deal that ended up helping Houston win the World Series. Verlander was under contract until 2019 and the price paid in prospects was substantially steeper. Franklin Perez and Daz Cameron will both rank in the Tigers midseason Top 10 while catcher Jake Rogers will just miss it.

So with that in mind, front official officials and scouts were generally impressed that the Orioles landed a potential solid regular in outfielder Yusniel Diaz. The combination of Dean Kremer, Rylan Bannon and Zach Pop gives them a decent chance of finding one or two more useful big leaguers of some sort as well (the fifth piece, Breyvic Valera is generally seen as an up-and-down minor league veteran).

Here’s the responses from a variety of front office officials and scouts surveyed about the trade.

“If they get three big leaguers for a rental and sustained production from Diaz it’s a very good trade, but Diaz better pan out,” said one pro scout.

“It’s about what you would expect for a rental stud,” said a second scout. “Diaz is the best player (in the trade). Pop will have to stay healthy but has good stuff.”

“The Dodgers sold high on a risky guy they don’t believe heavily in,’ said a third scout. “Having said that, I didn’t expect a big package. Rentals don’t command big packages in the game these days.”

“I would have held out for (Keibert) Ruiz or (Alex) Verdugo,” said a fourth scout.

“I like it,” said an American League front office official. “For a rental these days, getting Diaz and Kremer was good in my opinion. In general I don’t see teams sacrificing top talent for two-plus months (of a big league player).”

“I thought Diaz was a solid pickup and we like some of the other guys like Kremer and Pop,” said a National League front office official. “I thought it was a solid pull for a rental, but at the same time I don’t think the Dodgers gave up a ton for a big-time player.”


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