Speculation on the future of Manny Machado is sure to ramp up, but the Baltimore Orioles aren’t ready to give up the idea of keeping him.

A little over a year from now, after the 2018 season, The Beltway will be the center of MLB free agency. Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is set for a big contract, and so is Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. The Orioles could make a franchise-altering move and trade Machado, rather than risk losing him for nothing, but Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports is reporting the team has “no intention” to shop the star third baseman.

Machado started slowly this year. But a hot a July and August (.335, 15 home runs, 50 RBI, .963 OPS) has put him at his typical power numbers (32 home runs and 92 RBI), and he has continued to play Gold Glove-level defense at the hot corner. Not bad for what could be considered a down year.

Machado is in line for a $200 million dollar deal in free agency, and at this point the Orioles aren’t know to have made an offer to that level. Heyman cites sources that say they came “within $8 or $9 million” of locking Machado up a couple years ago, but with an offer “well below $100 million.”

At this point, Machado is sure to rebuff any contract offers from the Orioles with an eye on hitting free agency after the 2018 World Series. His desire to stay in Baltimore beyond next year is unclear, so if the team is out of contention at the trade deadline next year Machado instantly becomes their top trade chip.

It’s easy for the Orioles to say they won’t shop Machado right now, with so many unknowns on all sides that have to play out. But with all of the unknowns, one thing is worth noting–Machado will turn 26 next July.



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