The Orioles came close to signing Manny Machado several years ago — but over perhaps $6 million, he is now the one who got away now.
While longtime Orioles owner Peter Angelos isn’t known for big spending (there obviously have been exceptions, i.e. Chris Davis), the Orioles are said by sources to have offered Machado $64 million for eight years. Since it’s several years ago, recollections may have frayed a bit, but multiple people familiar with the talks recalled that the offer was in that $60-million to 70-million range, which would have been by far a record for a player with that limited service time at the time. In fact, it would have blown away the record at the time for a player with such limited service time.
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People recall that at the time Machado’s agent Dan Lozano was seeking something for $70 million, or slightly more. Some recall Lozano saying the deal “has to start with a 7.”
So it’s possible that as little as $1 million per year separated the sides — $70 million vs. $64 million — though it may have been as much as $2.5 million if he was actually shooting for $79 million.
In any case, the sides never made a deal, then talks didn’t resume after Machado blew out his knee later that year.
Anyway, it seems like a pittance today when Machado is perhaps looking at a free-agent deal of $300 million, or more. He and Bryce Harper are the best free agent position players since Alex Rodriguez hit the open market in 2007, and the best in their 20's since Alex Rodriguez reached free agency seven years before that, back in 2000. There’s a debate over which top free agent will get the bigger deal this winter, as we've written about this week.
It had been reported that the Orioles had made an attempt to sign Machado long-term at some point, but the details had never previously come out.
The Orioles made a nice trade with the Dodgers to get five prospects, including top outfielder Yusnial Diaz, for Machado. But in hindsight , perhaps Angelos should have acceded to that demand that “it had to begin with a 7.”