A storm moved over Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday afternoon just as the visiting Orioles were set to begin batting practice, robbing Manny Machado of the chance to take some early swings at a ballpark that may soon be his.
There is a solid chance that Machado will be on the move this month as the Orioles try to ship him before the July 31 trade deadline. And the Phillies, who have deep ties to the superstar infielder, are interested. But the price, likely a bounty of prospects, could be too much for the Phillies or any other team if Machado is not willing to sign a contract extension before a trade is made.
If the Phillies are to pounce this month, first they will have to weigh how much they are willing to sacrifice for Machado if he does not sign an extension. Trading for the Orioles star would give the Phillies a boost in their hunt for a playoff spot, but perhaps more important, it could better their chances of signing him this winter. But they may just find it better to wait until the offseason and try signing him without the loss of prospects.
Machado is just five months away from free agency. He entered Tuesday ranked in the top 10 in the majors in homers (21), OPS (.941), slugging percentage (.564), and RBIs (59). Machado, who turns 26 on Friday, is one of the league's premier players and will hit the open market in his prime. It is hard to blame to him if he wants to test his value instead of signing an extension in July.
"I said the last time we sat here that if we're in the mix in July that we will consider shorter-term acquisitions, rental-type players," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. "And any trade we're going to make is going to cost us some talent. We understand that. But we are hopeful that we are just now opening a contention window that's going to last for a long time. Our goal is not to peak one year and then fade the next. Our goal is to open up a window and be good for a long, long time. So, we just have to make sure that whatever trades we're contemplating are appropriately balancing now with the future."
The Phillies announced the signing of 14 international prospects, including 16-year-old righthander Starlyn Castillo from the Dominican Republic. MLB.com ranks the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Castillo as the second-best pitching prospect and the eighth-best player in this year's international signing class. The Phillies also signed Joalbert Angulo, a 6-foot-5, 16-year-old lefthander from Venezuela. Baseball America ranks Angulo as the 42nd-best player.