Manny Machado is now a Los Angeles Dodger, and while he remains an elite fantasy option, the full impact of this trade goes well beyond that. How does the move affect his value for the rest of this season? And for those playing in NL-only leagues, how does Machado compare with other players who may also switch leagues prior to the trade deadline? Further, how does this deal affect the lineups for both the Dodgers and Orioles moving forward? Our experts have the answers.
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Machado's impact in NL-only leagues is straightforward -- he's instantly the player worth that No. 1 waiver position or FAAB money you've been stashing (and that means all of it, or at least plus-$1 the next-most team's amount, so no "bargain shopping" attempts). Sure, there are other premium hitters who could enter the NL-only pool, including Adrian Beltre, Adam Jones and Mike Moustakas, and if you're more in need of pitching, there's potentially Danny Duffy, Michael Fulmer, Cole Hamels or J.A. Happ, but Machado's fantasy value easily exceeds them all, and he provides dual eligibility including shortstop, a tougher position to fill in the NL, as one of his eligible spots.
To that point, shortstop is much weaker in the National than American League, as before the Machado trade, only four of my top 14 shortstops hailed from the Senior Circuit, and one of them -- Javier Baez -- doesn't even primarily play there. Get your league-changer now, because he's worth the lofty price, and you'll get an additional 12 days' worth of production compared to those dealt on the July 31 deadline -- that matters when we're talking about only 73 remaining scheduled days!
Eric Karabell: Machado was a fantastic statistical option with the Orioles, and there is no reason to expect that changes with the Dodgers. In fact, if anything, the No. 16 provider on the full-season Player Rater could be more productive for his new team, perhaps mirroring what Manny Ramirez did for the Dodgers a decade ago upon his trade. The Dodgers boast a considerably better and deeper lineup than the Orioles, even with several options hurting or underachieving, and Machado should find it easier to score and perhaps knock in runs.
Whether he steals more bases seems entirely up to him; he has reached double digits once in his career, but seeing as this is a contract year it would not be the least bit surprising if he returns to true five-category greatness just to further impress potential suitors. In addition, the Dodgers still have seven games left at hitters haven Coors Field! Machado was going to carry fantasy managers wherever he played, but this trade seems like a particularly strong fit. I think his already staggering value gets boosted a tad, and he is a top-10 fantasy option.
AJ Mass: In Los Angeles, an offense that ranks in baseball's top 10 in runs scored, total bases and OPS this season just got even stronger with the addition of Machado, who entered the All-Star break as the No. 6 overall hitter in ESPN standard points scoring. Every bat in the regular lineup immediately gets an upgrade in fantasy value as a result of this deal.
Because Dave Roberts likes to use most of his players at multiple defensive positions, the expectation is that Machado will not only play shortstop, but also third base, where Justin Turner (groin) was unable to play in the team's last four games prior to the break. Assuming Turner is back to full strength, the chain reaction from having Machado at short will ripple through the Dodgers' defensive alignment.
Expect Chris Taylor to slide to second base, where four different players have started over the past seven games. Max Muncy would be the primary starter at first base, leading to Cody Bellinger having to move back to the outfield. With Matt Kemp's stellar comeback season, that leaves just one defensive opening to be split between Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez, Andrew Toles and the currently injured Yasiel Puig (oblique strain).
The Dodgers still have their sights set on upgrading their bullpen, and to do so via trade, odds are good that one or more of these spare parts will be sent elsewhere. Until then, three games a week would be the likely maximum for Pederson, Toles and Hernandez -- with even less opportunity once Puig can return to the mix. Whichever player gets dealt away will likely see enough of an upgrade of regular playing time to merit a roster spot for the fantasy stretch run. However, unless you're in a deep league, I'm not sure any of them deserves your attention right now.
Kyle Soppe: The O's offense is ... well, offensive. Only the Royals scored fewer runs in the season's first half than the Orioles, and that was with Machado and his top-10 OPS anchoring the middle of this order. Baltimore's roster as it currently stands has one -- count 'em, one -- player with a Player Rater score above 0.80. Those pitiful Royals I mentioned earlier? They have three players that rank at least a half point higher than that. Yikes.
That one player is Adam Jones, and I very much expect his value to bottom out in rather short order, so see what you can get for him now! Over the past decade, not a single one of the 74 players with at least 4,500 plate appearances has a higher swing percentage than Jones, an aggressive approach that I typically target, but if the opposition has no reason to throw him a strike, how can you possibly feel good about the rest of 2018 for Jones? I'm not saying anyone is paying as if he is a top-50 hitter, but considering that I expect him to finish with his lowest batting average since joining the O's in 2008 and with no real counting-number upside, if you can get a piece of any value (maybe a SP4 or a "safe" closer), I'd make the deal sooner than later.