The 2018-19 Free Agent Class; Manny Machado
By now we all know what the 2018-19 MLB Free Agent class is going to look like. Plenty of stars are going to be available and signing just one could be the difference between having a good offense and having an amazing offense. In this series we are going to take a really early look at what each star players’ market could look like heading into the 18’-19’ offseason.
Manny Machado‘s time with the Baltimore Orioles could very well be ending sooner rather than later. The star third baseman for the Orioles has been a mainstay in the Baltimore lineup since his debut year back in 2012 at 19 years old. Since then, he has been one of the top hitters in all of baseball and one of the game’s top young stars. He heads into next year with free agency lurking as he continues to build his resume for when he hits the open market in 2019. Just how much money could he make after next year? Where will he go? Will the Orioles trade or extend him before next year?
So many questions will swirl as this winter goes on and throughout the 2018 season on what will happen with Machado. What we do know is, right now he’s an Oriole and all we can do is speculate until then.
To this point in his 6 year career, Machado has smacked 138 home runs and has racked up 27.9 WAR as the starting third baseman for the O’s. His defense has been highlighted by 2 gold glove awards and 2 top-5 finishes in the AL MVP voting. His best year came in the 2015 season when he was worth 7.1 WAR, hit .286 with a .359 OBP, along with one of the two mentioned top 5 finishes in the MVP voting. He’s easily good for 30+ homers per year and that alone can help a lineup big time.
Despite Machado’s somewhat down year in 2017(hampered by a terrible first half of the season), he was still worth 3.5 WAR and surpassed the 30 homer mark(33). Machado still has another year to put up more superstar caliber numbers to build up his resume, but as it is, teams will be more than fine with what he has done to this point in his career. Not to mention he’s only going to be 26 when free agency comes.
The Orioles and Machado:
We’ve briefly heard in the past that Dan Duquette was rumored to have spoken to Machado’s reps about an extension, but nothing that ever got serious. It now looks very likely that Machado won’t receive an extension and he will indeed hit the open market when the time comes, which has led many to speculate on whether or not the Orioles should trade him now to recoup some value instead of losing him for nothing next year. However, that’s not the thinking that the Baltimore front office has, as they want to give it one more shot with Machado at contending next year before he leaves. Things could easily change though, if the team doesn’t perform well out of the gates next year they could trade Machado then and still get value in return. If they are to deal him, it would be wise to bolster a pitching staff that looks absolutely horrible.
Due to how strong the 2018-19 Free Agent class is overall, a lot of teams that normally spend big are keeping their wallets closed this offseason. Which means next year we can expect just about everyone looking to spend a lot of money on free agents such as Machado, Josh Donaldson, Charlie Blackmon, Bryce Harper, and others.
Speaking of Josh Donaldson, he is going to be Machado’s direct competition due to the fact that both are third basemen. Despite that, if teams like the Yankees, Phillies, Cardinals, and other big market teams are going to have plenty of money to spend, Machado should expect a pretty healthy payday regardless next winter. Machado will easily top $200MM and approach the $250MM mark when the time comes.