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.