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Photo Credit: © Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

There’s an interesting possibility involving Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson

Yep, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is laying it out there. Toronto could be the landing spot for Machado. Well, the Jays are among three other teams – Dodgers, Yankees, and Phillies – who, coincidently, are also being bandied about as locations for Donaldson.

This is asinine, illogical, unlikely…wait is this actually a possibility? Probably not, but at least it’s something positive to think about considering the current news cycle.

Give it a thought, this could be exactly what the Jays need. Plug Machado at SS, keep Donaldson at 3B. The Jays would have a lineup that could go toe-to-toe with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros – essentially the power house clubs.

Remove your emotions, your attachments. Take off your player-specific sweater and think about them as assets – nothing more, simply assets. They are trade chips. They are stocks with a term life. Their value will go up, their value will go down.

Donaldson’s value has been trending downward – he’s got injury concerns and his age raises further questions. Machado’s value has been trending upward – he’s got positional flexibility and turns 26 in July.

Machado is the safe bet, his value is less volatile. Teams know what they are going to get – age 26, 27, and 28 production is far more reliable than age 33, 34, and 35. Teams would love either player if their production was comparable. Thing is, they’re not providing comparable production. Since returning, Donaldson has gone 4 for 25, lowering his avg. to .211. Machado has gone 7 for 25 in May, yet is still hitting .346 for the season.

Worse yet, Donaldson is experiencing a yearly drop in exit velocity and currently sits with an average exit velocity of 88.5 mph, including a very un-Donaldson-like 8.4 launch angle. The flip side shows fairly consistent metrics for Machado, with this season seeing substantial increases in exit velocity and launch angle.

Donaldson will figure it out, his production and value will rise, but not to the value of Machado. Donaldson is a buy-low candidate, Machado is a sell-high.

Donaldson for Machado straight up?

Sure, it’s possible if the Jays add extra value and considering how Baltimore operates it may not be too off the mark if they are able to extend Donaldson’s term. This is Baltimore’s MO, wait for a player’s value to plummet and pounce. They’ve been doing this for years, waiting ‘til the end of the offseason to sign FA – Ubaldo Jimenez, Nelson Cruz, Yovani Galllardo, and Pedro Alvarez. The rest of the league followed Baltimore’s philosophy this winter – the longer a player sits on the market, the lower his value, presumably.

Baltimore doesn’t set the market – they are not price setters – they just try to take advantage of minor inefficiencies. Let the Jays monitor the market, set the price. Bring in Machado, control the high-end rental market and dictate what teams have to pay.

Scott Boras 101 – leverage teams against one another by controlling the market’s high-end options.

This is not collusion, it is incredible business acumen. Boras’ power is in teams having to come to him. The Jays can increase their market power by controlling both Donaldson and Machado. Make the Dodgers, Phillies, Yankees, or whomever come to Toronto.

This approach is risky. The market could fall out if playoff teams are set too early or, worse yet, the Jays are in the running and cannot resign either player only to lose them both to FA. Not to mention the cost of acquiring Machado – considering the Jays’ MILB infield depth, Cavan Biggio or Lourdes Gurriel Jr. could be in play. Maybe even Solarte and his VERY team friendly contract. Enough random speculation…

MLB teams have done this recently, though not with Hall of Fame caliber players.

Minnesota traded for Jaime Garcia last season when they thought they were in it, only to trade him a week later when their fortunes turned. It cost a 19-year old Single A pitcher with ‘meh’ production and the Twins got Garcia and a AAAA catcher. They then turned Garcia into two AAA ‘meh’ pitchers. One Single A pitcher brought in three MLB ready depth pieces – not a bad little turnaround considering Minnesota’s competitive window.

The White Sox leveraged Washington into paying more than they might have otherwise by dangling Chris Sale only to trade him to Boston. Chicago obviously lost out on some prospects by trading Adam Eaton in Sales place, but in the end they got some damn nice pieces by controlling the market’s options.

Same goes for Miami this offseason, though it’s tough to same something positive about that fiasco.

The Jays are in a position to do the same, albeit in a rental capacity.

As it sits, every team negotiating with Toronto and Baltimore are leveraging one against the other to reduce the eventual price for Donaldson and Machado. The play is alive as long as both players are on the market and on separate teams. Sure, the Jays will take a hit in acquiring Machado, but it will increase the asking price for Donaldson. This could just be a wash. In the end, the Jays could come out like bandits if they are able to resign Machado and, in doing so, increase the floor price for Donaldson.

In some sordid way this approach unsustainably hedges the Jays’ bets. Odds are some team will need help on the left side of the infield and the Jays could be waiting arms wide open with fresh price tags on all high-end pieces. 

Just an asinine, illogical, and unlikely thought…. well, maybe just unlikely.   

  • PastorofMuppets

    Meh. My own unlikely dream is that the Jays splurge and go after Harper. I feel like the Yankees will go hard for Machado since their outfield is already stacked. The Cubs may be unable to add Harper after the Darvish deal, Red Sox can’t fit him, Dodgers are in a crunch…I think the Phillies and Nationals would be his likely spots, but just imagine a current perennial MVP superstar who lived the hype train from a young age grooming a guy like Vlad as he hits the show. Of course it’ll never happen…but I’m calling it anyways so I can be insufferable if it does.

      • Nice Guy Eddie

        Why would the Yankees do that? The Yankees have Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardiner and a great farm system. They have a lower payroll than Toronto. And they’re already going to the playoffs with a young team that will be around for a while.

        • Barry

          “They have a lower payroll than Toronto”

          I don’t think that’s true. It’s a comparable payroll, but not lower. The Yankees’ payroll this year is $169.4 million, the Jays’ is $165.7 million (and the Yankees have a much bigger gap over the Jays in committed payroll next year and the years following). This is according to Spotrac’s payroll tracker, so if you have another source, please share.

      • DAKINS

        Why? Because they are the Yankees. They get whatever they want, and until they can get Trout, they will go get Harper.

        Also LOL at them having a lower payroll than Toronto. If you think they didn’t just reset themselves under the luxury tax with the intent to blow past it again, then I have some moon rocks to sell you.

    • 0noggin

      I hear you on Harper, and I’d love to see Machado in a Jays uniform, but I think it’s unfortunately highly unlikely that the Jays sign either, given how Shapiro&co approached the market last season and before in Cleveland (buy low and build depth), and also the fact that the Jays still owe lots of money and years on the Tulo contract, as well as Morales, who has zero trade value. Jays are likely hoping Vlad improves enough on defense to replace JD in 2019

  • Flash McLennan

    Very interesting idea. One complicating factor is Baltimore’s internal power struggle, detailed well by Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic. Not sure if their chaos makes this more or less likely to be achievable.

  • Nice Guy Eddie

    How about Machado for our own shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki!? Tulo has 2 more years of team control and will cost less than Machado for 2019 and 2020. I say we deal Troy for Manny.

    • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

      And perhaps saved the Jays millions allowing them too sign him at a rrasonable rate. Slow start now but if he explodes between now and the asg it will all be forgotten.

    • HNZ

      Yeah a month of baseball has blown his price…..smh. Only fans ready to jump off the edge would think like this. LOL @ the wording and tone in your reply as if Josh did something on purpose to get injured. Foh.

  • Steve-O

    “Just an asinine, illogical, and unlikely thought…. well, maybe just unlikely.”

    As a guy with plenty of asinine, illogical, and unlikely thoughts of his own… game recognizes game.

    • lukewarmwater

      Btw relative of Paul Bunyon, that is indeed a mighty fine tale you created. Now I feel as if I let posters down in here as I had planned to attend a gathering of the single A Canadian baseball executives, fans and some Mariner fans for a get together at a sports bar. Now traditionally when the Vancouver single A club organises one of these events, the Jays are pounded, obliterated, anihilated, bombed, you get the drift. Thus I should have suggested that for one night be a paid mercenary and rob the kids piggy banks and make a killing from the bookies. My apologies for not passing this knowledge along as the Jays continue this tradition of crapping the night away when an event such as the one I’ve discussed indeed takes place. I might add the food is over priced and lousy at this Vancouver establishment. Thus it goes along with the entertainment on the big screens.