The Los Angeles Dodgers were responsible for the summer’s first blockbuster on Wednesday evening, officially acquiring All-Star shortstop Manny Machado in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles.
Machado, arguably the most coveted player on the market ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, further bolsters the Dodgers’ chances of not only returning to the posteason, but making it back to the World Series for a second consecutive year.
With a slim half-game lead over the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West entering play Friday, Los Angeles simultaneously landed one of the sport’s best players while also preventing potential playoff opponents from adding Machado to their lineup as well.
The Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies were two other prominent suitors for the 26-year-old, but the Dodgers’ willingness to include top outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz in the package going back to Baltimore ultimately sealed the deal.
The trade drew high praise from Ross Stripling, who believes the Dodgers inched closer to a baseball powerhouse with their acquisition of Machado, via Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times:
“I think it would be pretty demoralizing,” Stripling said, “something they would see and say, ‘Oh crap, that’s not going to be any fun.’ You’ve got to deal with Kershaw, Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Kenta [Maeda] on the mound, and now you’ve got to deal with Justin Turner, Matt Kemp, Max Muncy, Machado, etc. That’s almost a superteam, I feel like, on paper.”
With Machado now in the fold, the Dodgers’ already-solid lineup becomes much deeper. He’s slotted into a batting order that includes the likes of All-Star Matt Kemp and Home Run Derby participant Max Muncy, as well as Cody Bellinger, Yasmani Grandal and Justin Turner.
Likewise, the Dodgers’ starting rotation also stands as a strength for the stretch run with six starts available.
Los Angeles, however, will continue monitoring the pitching market for potential upgrades over the next two weeks. Even before the acquisition of Machado was finalized, club officials acknowledged the pressing need to add bullpen help — specifically a late-inning arm to pair with closer Kenley Jansen.