According to Jon Heyman of FRS Baseball, Manny Machado is “the Cubs’ main target” as the trade deadline approaches. This is music to Cubs’ fans ears, who are discouraged by a Cub team 4th in the division. Machado is the answer to Chicago’s problems.
Through 42 games, Manny Machado has played career-best baseball. He has smacked 13 homers (projected to hit 50) and has an insane .442 OBP. He’s getting on base at unprecedented levels. His average is fifth in the league at .338 and his OPS is tops in the league at 1.074. A dynamic hitter can an extra component to a team ranked 7th in OPS, at .757.
Not to mention, he’s fifth in WAR this year with a 2.4. His WRC is a career high at 181 through Thursday’s games. He is arguably the 3rd best player in the majors behind only Trout and Harper. However, he might need to play at the corner to realize that potential.
Switching Machado to third base would calibrate him back to a top fielder, this year his defensive wins above replacement is -0.2 while last year it was 1.0 and the year prior it was even higher at 2.3. Baez’s output at shortstop allows Machado to transition back to his natural position. The two-time gold glover would no doubt aide the Cubs in improving their 27th ranked fielding percentage.
Remember, Manny led the 2013 Baltimore Orioles to the best fielding percentage in MLB history with a .99104 fielding percentage. This guy is a revolutionary player with the bat or glove in his hands.
The Cubs are able to get men on base but rank 28th with runners left in scoring position. Manny Machado is sufficient at knocking in runners, batting .469 with runners in scoring position and .356 with runners on base. Machado would look nice at 4th in the order (or wherever Maddon plays him).
The 22-18 Cubs desperately need a two-dimensional shortstop akin to Machado. Russell has struggled mightily in the batter’s box, batting .250 with an OBP of .336. Once considered to possess a 60 power, Russell has been a major disappointment. Not saying he can’t improve his batting skills, but his improvement may come in Baltimore instead of Chicago.
Bring Machado to Chicago and the Pennant returns to the Windy City.