Machado For Russell and Almora? Please, and Thank-you!
Earlier this week, Jon Heyman / FRS Sports reported the the Chicago Cubs will look at obtaining Manny Machado, and that their SS Addison Russell is seen as part of the package which would come back to the Orioles.
If that is accurate, and the O’s can also pry CF Albert Almora Jr.; I hope the O’s pull that trigger.*
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
*Like with most things in life, there is a caveat here. Last year, Russell’s wife filed for divorce after abuse allegations. For Russell to be a central piece in a trade for Machado, the O’s have to do their homework and be comfortable with his character.
Limiting the current discussion to just the talent between the lines, I’d be pretty excited about landing Russell and Almora.
Russell turned 24 in January. He came up as one of the premier prospects in Baseball, from the time the Oakland Athletics drafted him as the 11th overall selection of the 2012 MLB Draft. By ’15, Baseball America had him as baseball’s 3rd highest prospect. He would make his MLB debut that year. A year later, he was an All-Star.
By the defensive metrics, he’s an above-average; near elite defensive SS. (In ’17, he had a UZR/150 of 6.8, and a DRS of +15.)
While he’s only a career .243 hitter, it’s important to remember his age. His initial 1,600+ Major League plate appearances have occurred at ages 21-24. He has yet to reach his prime.
He’s already had an offensive season (2016) where he had 21 homers, and 25 doubles.
Here in ’18, he has a career high BB% (11.3%), and a career low K% (19.2%). Also has a career high in batting average (.273). With the jump in his walk rate, and baa; he’s also got a career high on-base % (.358).
He plays a position of need. He has youth, and ceiling on his side. And most importantly, he’s not a Free Agent until 2022.
If the O’s send Machado to the Windy City, getting Russell back as a piece would be fantastic. Getting Almora with him, would be more than icing on the cake, it should be the priority.
Like Russell, Almora was also selected high in the 2012 Draft, going 6th overall to the Cubs. By ’13, MLB.com had Almora as a Top 40 overall prospect.
As like Russell, he’s 24, athletic, and plays a high priority position. Also like Russell, the metrics like him defensively. (Currently this year, his UZR / 150 is 19.6, and his DRS is +6).
Almora currently splits time in CF with Ian Happ.
Russell has had 3x as many Major League plate appearances than Almora, and figures to be closer to his offensive ceiling than Almora is because of that.
In Almora’s 564 career plate appearances; Almora has a career slash of .293 / .336 / .442. His Isolated Slugging % is down so far in ’18, but his BB% is up.
He’s going to hit for average. He’s going to get on-base. And in 299 ab’s last year, he has 27 extra base hits. As he matures, look for him to become a 35 double, 20 homer guy.
Couple that with his defense, and you have something.
You really have something if you get Russell and Almora back for Machado; and you have Russell through ’22, and Almora through ’23.
Add those two, and in the relative near future you could be looking at a starting lineup which looks like:
OF: Mancini, Almora, Hays
Infield: Sisco, Davis, Schoop, Russell, Mountcastle
For the record, I like Santander and Mullins. I’m interested in seeing what Santander does with some everyday ab’s at the AA level the next few months. Our BSL colleague Zach Spedden had an extended look at Mullins earlier today. There is a lot to like there. Either way, the addition of Almora would create further depth, which gives you additional options.
Losing a Hall-of-Fame talent like Machado will never be an easy pill to swallow, but it is what it is.
The Orioles are 14-30. Machado is months away from hitting the open market, and landing wherever he wants.
If you are going to move Manny, it’s hard to imagine doing better than a package of Russell and Almora.
I guess I should state for the record, that if I’m Jed Hoyer (Cubs GM) and Theo Epstein (Cubs President of Baseball Operations); I’m not particularly excited about giving up all of those years of control for a rental of Machado.
Maybe they’d have to insist on having a window to work on an extension with Manny.
The 2016 World Series Champions are currently in 4th place (just 2 games out) in the NL Central. Due to that, maybe they decide they are willing to roll the dice?
If so, this is the trade for the O’s to pursue.