Manny Machado could be moving this winter, but not from third base to shortstop.
The 25-year-old All-Star third baseman has drawn heavy interest in the trade market to the extent the Baltimore Orioles and general manager Dan Duquette admit the team will leave baseball’s winter meetings in Florida to review the flood of interest on the table.
One year after kick-starting a roster rebuild by trading left-handed ace Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox — then moving center fielder Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals and lefty starter Jose Quintana to the Chicago Cubs in July — the Chicago White Sox appear to be at the front of the line in the Machado Sweepstakes, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“We’re very interest in premium young talent that can be here long-term,” Hahn said. “…But again, the focus remains on putting ourselves in the best position for the long term. Nothing has changed in that regard.”
Chicago would likely open its offer with baseball’s No. 1 pitching prospect, right-hander Michael Kopech.
With several top prospects acquired in a slew of deals, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has enough chips to make the Orioles contemplate life without Machado.
The St. Louis Cardinals, another organization rich in pitching prospects, are also reportedly presenting a very strong offer to the Orioles even after acquiring All-Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna. St. Louis has two young right-handers of interest, Luke Weaver and Anthony Reyes. Reyes missed last season to undergo elbow surgery.
Machado, who made $11.5 million last season, is entering the final year of his contract. Acquiring Machado could be a risk for Hahn and the White Sox. If he’s not willing to sign a long-term deal, Chicago could put Machado back on the trade block.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday that Machado would like to move back to shortstop if he’s in Baltimore.
If the White Sox acquire Machado, the team could opt to move All-Star first baseman Jose Abreu. As the offseason began, the White Sox briefly discussed a deal with the Boston Red Sox, but The Athletic reported that Chicago pulled out of those talks.
The Cardinals are also interested in Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, another right-handed power bat, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.