Monday was Day One of the All-Star break, and without real baseball to distract people, the trade rumors were flying fast and far.
On everyone’s mind is Manny Machado, and the Phillies have emerged as frontrunners. No, seriously! They have! I’m not making it up! They’re at the forefront of Machado trade talks, along with the Dodgers and Brewers. There have been conflicting rumors over the past few days about who has the strongest offer and who’s at the “10-yard line” and who’s fading into the background or being carted to the locker room or whatever.
To try and make sense of all the conflict, let’s focus on two Phillies sportswriting legends, Jayson Stark and Jim Salisbury, and the interviews they gave today.
Jayson Stark: “There’s a handshake agreement”
Jayson Stark went on WIP on Monday morning, and gave up some tasty tidbits about a possible Machado trade.
Hmmm, so there’s a handshake deal for Manny Machado with SOMEBODY, and Jayson Stark, a longtime Phillies writer and Philadelphia resident, knows about it. HMMMMM. [thinking emoji] [thinking emoji] [thinking emoji]
“I would just say I don’t think the people that cover the Phillies will be laying on the beach Wednesday or Thursday” - @jaysonst on the Phillies— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) July 16, 2018
OH WELL NOW. That’s pretty obvious. Though he could mean that they’ll busy because they’re writing about how the Brewers got Machado, but somehow I don’t think that’s what he means.
Jim Salisbury: “I think they’re gonna get this guy”
It was Jim Salisbury’s turn on WIP on Monday afternoon, and he had even more specifics about what could possibly maybe happen.
Salisbury on WIP: “Going back over a year… I have gotten the feeling this organization would not be denied on Manny Machado… I think they’re gonna get this guy in some way, shape, or form”— JD (@DatDudeJD) July 16, 2018
That makes sense. As we all know, the Phillies have many former Orioles in the org, and they know Manny (I feel like I can call him Manny) and many of the current Orioles front office employees. I bet they’ve been dreaming about him for a few years now, since they left the Orioles to come to the Phillies. And when John Middleton wants something, he gets it. (But more about that later.)
Says Phillies have made a strong offer. “Skepticism” the Brewers can make a strong enough offer. Phils want Britton in the deal.— JD (@DatDudeJD) July 16, 2018
Well, I want a million dollars. Unless the Phillies agree to take on a bunch of money or offer more prospects than I think they want to give up, Britton’s not coming in this deal. (I will gladly eat those words if the Phillies make it happen.)
Salisbury thinks Franco could be in the Machado trade.— JD (@DatDudeJD) July 16, 2018
I would be so sad to say goodbye to Maikel Franco, but there would be nowhere for him to play if the Phillies got Manny. He is what he is, and that’s totally okay, but it probably means that his time with the Phillies is over.
Says Medina, Kilome, Romero have all been discussed. One likely to go. Gamboa and Ortiz as well.— JD (@DatDudeJD) July 16, 2018
Oooh, actual names! This is getting serious, guys. And it tracks with a story from Jon Morosi later on Monday, that the Phillies are now willing to include Adonis Medina in the trade, which means the Phillies are now officially frontrunners.
Odds & Ends
Beyond Jim and Jayson, there were a few other interesting Machado-related tweets from Monday and the preceding weekend.
A source told @JoeGiglioSports that "Machado to the Phils Wednesday morning" and that "Andy MacPhail is a magician"— Jon Marks & Ike Reese on 94WIP (@MarksReeseWIP) July 16, 2018
This backs up what Stark said on WIP, that the deal is done or mostly done, and will be announced once the All-Star festivities are through. SERIOUSLY IS THIS GOING TO HAPPEN!?
Owner John Middleton has emerged as a driving force in Philly. He's very aggressive and has no reservations about spending money. This is hard to fathom, but I've talked to people who think he might try to sign both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado as free agents this winter. https://t.co/kT9jzpul9M— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 15, 2018
I deeply love this. Middleton has been described to me as obsessed with winning, and while he’s always had the cash to sign a big player, what he hasn’t had is a team that can contend and make his investment worth it. Now he has both, and you can practically imagine the Phillies checkbook burning a hole in his perfectly tailored pocket.
I’ve never met John Middleton, but I personally believe that he’ll stop at nothing to give the Phillies the best chance to win another championship. Money is no object, and if the Phillies don’t end up winning a World Series when it’s all said and done, it won’t be because he didn’t try hard enough.
We’re about to find out with the Phillies’ new-look leadership team can do when it comes to a high-profile trade for a valuable player. It’s going to be a long few days, especially as the trade rumors start to reproduce like tribbles and suddenly there are eight million of them, but I’m excited. It’s been seven years since the Phillies were major players in a trade deadline deal (at least on the talent acquisition side), and I’m going to enjoy every single minute.