Phillies unwilling to part with top prospect Sanchez
The Philadelphia Phillies appear to have lost out in their pursuit of shortstop Manny Machado for the time being by the narrowest of margins.
I say for the time being because, as most already are aware, Machado is due to be a free agent this coming off-season. The Phillies will be considered as perhaps the leading contender to lure him with a long-term contract at that time.
The lead prospect in the Dodgers offer, and the one who made the difference, was 21-year-old Cuban outfielder Yusniel Diaz. The fourth-rated prospect in the Los Angeles system at the time of the deal, Diaz punctuated his attractiveness to the Orioles brain trust by homering twice in the MLB Futures Game this past Sunday.
The other four prospects acquired by the Orioles will receive fine write-ups and every positive aspect of their various scouting reports will be highlighted. But in the end, it will be the success or failure of Diaz to make the big leagues and become an impact player which makes or breaks this deal from the Baltimore perspective.
So, this leads to the question of why the Phillies were unable to put together a package that would have enticed Baltimore even more. With one of the game’s top farm systems, they certainly could have matched those four back-end prospects that the Orioles received from Los Angeles.
It comes down to that lead piece in the deal. The Orioles group, led by general manager Dan Duquette, simply liked Diaz better than the best player the Phillies and GM Matt Klentak were willing to include.
The current MLB .com Top 100 rankings show Medina as the #73 prospect, with Diaz down in the #84 slot. Quite obviously the O’s evaluation leaned closer to that of the folks at Baseball America.
To win this particular battle and land Machado for their lineup in the here-and-now, only one thing would have gotten it done. The Phillies would have needed to make their top prospect, pitcher Sixto Sanchez, available in the package.
Including Sanchez was apparently never going to happen, and so Machado heads off to Hollywood to join the AL West-leading Dodgers lineup.
Outside of the hardcore followers, many Phillies fans may be wondering who is this Sanchez kid? Why wouldn’t the Phillies include a prospect – any prospect – if it would land a true superstar? Especially one such as Machado, who seemed to ideally fit what the club needed. A proven run-producer for the middle of the lineup.