Like clockwork, every time the Phillies are linked to superstar shortstop Manny Machado, someone connected to the Phillies mentions one of two things: 1) the price is too high, or 2) the Phillies don’t want to gut their system for a rental when they aren’t sure they are a contender.
To that I say, hogwash. The Phillies – and give them credit – are in the thick of the N.L. East race. What’s more, they are tied atop the equally upstart Atlanta Braves in the division, and with the Nats struggling their opportunity should be obvious.
The Phillies love Machado, so this isn’t just any rental. Everyone already knows they will make a play for him as a free agent, as he was selected by this very group of executives (they were all with the Orioles when Machado was picked No. 3 overall in 2010, from president Andy MacPhail to GM Matt Klentak to Joe Jordan, who was the Orioles’ scouting director at the time). They can’t pooh pooh Machado or say he doesn’t excite them.
They love Machado. That much is undeniable.
What they have said instead is that the price is too high, that rentals aren’t worth top prospects, etc., etc., etc. Sorry, but impact rentals do bring big prospects back. Aroldis Chapman cost the Cubs Gleyber Torres, and while the Cubs may have been more desperate, having not won a World Series in 108 years at the time, the Phillies need to feel a little desperation.
They may just be playing the game, but based on the snippets heard so far, they sound a little too much like another Philly team, a particular NBA franchise that resides across the street. Perhaps they are too married to a process, a little too mechanical.
If the Phillies love Machado, they should act on it.
They have a legit shot at the playoffs. What difference does it make that it came earlier than anyone — perhaps even them — expected?
The latest reporting suggests too much timidity. MLB.com recently reported the Phillies were out “for now,” which is a little like saying someone is a little pregnant. Either they are out, or they aren’t.
The guess here – knowing how much the front office loves Machado – is that they won’t be out until the slugger is dealt elsewhere. And that’s the way they should feel about it.