LA Lands Machado; NL Loses All-Star Game Again
July 23, 2018

While the greatest players in baseball were on the field in Washington, DC Tuesday night, and the National League was gearing up to lose the mid-summer classic for the 24th time in the last 31 years, something else was abuzz. Baltimore's Manny Machado was taking selfies with the Dodgers' Matt Kemp. You might think now, little did they know they were about to become teammates. They knew.

Major League Baseball's trading deadline is coming up at the end of the month. There are expected to be several moves—most of them players who are about to become free agents at the end of the year on bad teams, moving to contenders who can use a little extra something down the stretch. Those bad teams are going to lose that players anyway, so why not get something in return by trading him now?

It was a matter of time before Machado was traded. Tonight, Baltimore is 28-73. The Orioles' .277 winning percentage means a pace of 45 wins and a 117 losses. If they go into a slump, they could break the record of 120 losses in a season held by the 1962 New York Mets. How manager Buck Showalter still has his job is an absolute mystery, but that's a topic for another day. Machado, am infielder with power, pretty good speed, and great defensive skills, along with an expiring contract, would be leaving. The only question was what the Orioles would get in return.

You don't want to upstage the All-Star game with the announcement of a blockbuster trade, but the rumors were flying. The Dodgers and Orioles reportedly had a deal in place, and it was expected to be announced the following day. Kemp was mic'd up during the game, and was asked about the Machado rumor. “I don't know what you're talking about”, he said with a smile, and you knew then that the selfie they took would be their 'welcome to the Dodgers' moment.

The two sides went out and played the game, which many people could have confused for Home Run Derby-Part Two. There were a record 10 home runs, and the American League won it 8-6 in 10 innings. Dodger pitcher Ross Stripling took the loss, allowing back-to-back homers by Houston's Alex Bregman and George Springer. It was the Astros over the Dodgers again, like last year's World Series. The game didn't really matter, the guys (and hopefully the viewers) had their fun, but the attention would then turn back to the Machado trade.

Wednesday, the day after the All-Star game, we waited for the official announcement. It didn't come. Now reporters were scrambling. Rumors were there was a 'snag' in the deal. The Orioles were apparently concerned about the health of one of the minor leaguers they would receive in the deal. It was reported as a minor concern, and sure enough, although it waited until Thursday to be official, the Dodgers would send five minor leaguers to Baltimore for the slugging shortstop. The deal was done.

Dodger fans have every reason to be excited. Machado was wanted by every contending team in baseball and the Dodgers got him. Of the five minor leaguers that went the other way, only one (Yusniel Diaz) is considered a top prospect. It is assumed that Machado will only wear Dodger blue for the rest of this season, with Corey Seager due to return next year from injury, but you never know.

Some are comparing the arrival of this Manny, with the Dodgers acquisition of Manny Ramirez in 2008. That Manny would stick around for two more seasons, and the legend of Mannywood was born (before he was suspended for steroid use). This Manny (Machado) is really more like the Dodgers getting pitcher Yu Darvish last year. The difference is that Darvish was over-hyped. He was a pitcher with a great past who wasn't really throwing the ball all that well when they got him. He flamed out in the World Series, but he helped get them there. The Dodgers are hoping that Machado will not only get them there, but lead the Dodgers to the promised land 30 years since their last championship.

A's get Familia from Mets: There have been two more trades of note since the Manny move. One seemed logical with San Diego sending pitchers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber to Cleveland to bolster their bullpen. The Padres got a highly-rated minor league catcher. The other is a bit of a head-scratcher unless you've paid attention to the standings. The Mets dealt their closer Jeurys Familia to Oakland, where he'll be used as a set-up man for closer Blake Treinen. Don't look now, but the A's trail Seattle by just three games for the second wild-card spot. Also, don't look now, but the A's (58-43) have a better record than the Dodgers (56-44).

Second half opener: With the shotgun start that was the beginning of this year's baseball season—a Thursday where all 30 teams opened on the same day, ESPN was deprived of their exclusive Opening Day telecast. In a surprisingly under-hyped would-be compromise, it turns out that the Worldwide Leader got something in return. The Cardinals and Cubs were the only game in MLB Thursday night, and ESPN televised it. They used their top crew Sunday night announcers, and everything, but didn't really promote it as such. All the other teams resumed their schedule on Friday.

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