Tough decision ahead for Phillies GM Matt Klentak regarding Manny Machado

Phillies GM Matt Klentak thinking about dealing for Manny Machado
We're now a little more than three weeks away from the July 31st MLB non-waiver trade deadline, and the Phillies appear to be on the prowl for reinforcements. The club is among the youngest in baseball, sitting ten games over .500 and just 1 1/2 behind the Braves in the NL East division.

The success is great, but it's arrived earlier than expected, leaving general manager Matt Klentak in the position of finding a way to improve what's already in Philadelphia without decimating a farm system that's still relatively strong.

Signing prized free agents in the offseason is one thing, but parting with young talent is an entirely different story, especially if the player received is more of a rental than a long-term addition.

“Without putting names on that hypothetical, it’s hard to say what makes sense,” Klentak told reporters prior to Tuesday's 3-2 Phillies' win over the Orioles. “I said that if we’re in the mix in July that we will consider shorter-term acquisitions, rental-type players. 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.”

“We're going to pursue a lot of different avenues, maybe offensively and maybe on the pitching side, and balance that against what our current group of players brings and make the appropriate decisions.”

Orioles' shortstop Manny Machado is the name most connected to the Phillies right now. He's a superstar and carries a bat that could redefine the middle of the Phillies' lineup. He also could be the piece that brings in other prized talents in the offseason, highlighting Philadelphia as a destination for others to consider.



The thing is, Machado is going to cost the Phillies a significant package of prospects, and unless there's an agreement in place before a potential deal, he'll be free to walk at the end of the season as a free agent.

Yep, Machado could just be a rental and that's not an ideal situation for the Phillies, or for any young team attempting to build long-term success. Toss in the fact there are about another half dozen teams interested Machado and you can easily see a bidding war of prospects erupting to the Orioles delight.

That's a new game for the Phillies. It's a new game for Klentak and the entire front office.

Now, it's possible the club that lands Machado via trade will work out a long-term deal over the final weeks of the season to sustain the relationship, but that's not a guarantee. Any team could be out two or three top prospects in exchange for just six weeks of Machado.

It's a dangerous game, but one the Phillies appear ready to play.

“Any time you’re acquiring somebody, you’re going to have to give somebody up," Klentak said. "And it’s just about the balancing act. What we don’t want to do is mortgage our long-term future for a marginal short-term gain. If we’re getting a meaningful short-term gain, we have to think about that. And if we don’t feel like we’re costing ourselves too much in the long run, we have to think about that too.

“But it really is a balancing act.”
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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