Multiple reports last month suggested the Arizona Diamondbacks were the frontrunners to acquire Baltimore Orioles slugger Manny Machado before the July 31 MLB trade deadline.
But on Tuesday -- just two weeks before that deadline arrives -- a new report says the D-backs' division rival may have overtaken them in the bid to land the 26-year-old star for the rest of the season.
MLB insider Jon Heyman reported Tuesday that the Dodgers "appear to be the leader" in the Machado sweepstakes, while the D-backs are among a handful of other teams still in contention.
"The situation remains fluid, and the Brewers, Phillies and Diamondbacks could still become involved in the late stages of the race," Heyman said. "The Diamondbacks in particular are still 'active,' and could be running second in the unfolding derby. But for now the Dodgers have emerged as a clear leader and could be close to acquiring the infielder for the remainder of the 2018 season."
Manny Machado just stopped by, and he said he’s seeing the reports of Dodgers and thinks/assumes they’re right (tho he said he doesn’t know for sure). The Miami product who’s been an Orioles his whole career said: “It’ll be different. But different can be good.”
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 17, 2018
USA Today's Bob Nightengale went even further, saying the Dodgers "are expected" to get a trade done for Machado on Wednesday.
Machado was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft and has spent his entire MLB career with the Orioles. He is a career .282 hitter and has hit over 30 home runs in each of his last three MLB seasons, including a career-high 37 in 2016. He is a four-time All-Star Game selection and a two-time Gold Glove winner, and he has twice finished in the top-five in American League MVP voting.
At the MLB All-Star break, the Dodgers and D-backs are in a tight race for first place in the National League West division. The Dodgers entered the break with a 53-43 record, one-half game better than the D-backs' mark of 53-44. The Colorado Rockies (51-45) and San Francisco Giants (50-48) are close behind. A trade for Machado could help the Dodgers or D-backs separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
The D-backs are looking to advance to the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2001-02. They earned a Wild Card berth last season and defeated the visiting Rockies in the National League Wild Card Game. But the Dodgers, who easily won the NL West last season, swept the D-backs in their National League Division Series. The Dodgers lost to the Houston Astros in seven games in the 2017 World Series.