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After weeks of rumors, analysis, endless speculation, and a brief snag, it has finally happened: baseball’s most-prized trade target is finally moving to a new home. The Baltimore Orioles have traded shortstop phenom Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers for outfielder Yusniel Diaz (Dodgers No. 4 prospect), third baseman Rylan Bannon (No. 27), pitchers Dean Kremer (No. 28) and Zach Pop, and second baseman Breyvic Valera, per MLB.com. The All-Star has been a stud this season, as indicated by the haul the O’s got for him.

While it is clear that Machado’s fantasy value will increase from this trade, fantasy owners may be wondering exactly how much of a boost they just received for the rest of this season in single-season leagues and for the future for those who own him in dynasty or keeper leagues.

Here is a deeper look into what Machado’s new scenery will mean for his fantasy value in both the near term and long term.

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Rest of Season Outlook

Machado has had a fantastic season offensively, managing to post a .315/.387/.575 slash line with 24 home runs, 48 runs scored, and 65 RBI despite hitting in one of baseball’s worst lineups. The Orioles currently rank last in baseball in batting average and on-base percentage and rank second-to-last in RBI. The Dodgers, on the other hand, have been one of baseball’s hotter offenses this season despite early-season struggles, ranking 20th in batting average but ninth in OBP and 10th in RBI. Machado will now be hitting in the middle of a solid lineup consisting of talent like Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Matt Kemp, and Justin Turner. He will have significantly more opportunities to hit with runners on base and to score while on base, helping his fantasy value in both points and categories/roto leagues.

Machado will also benefit from the change of division pitching he will face for the rest of the season. The second half schedule means a large percentage of in-division games, and Machado will not be sorry to say goodbye to the American League East, which hosts two of the best pitching staffs in baseball, the Yankees (second-lowest ERA) and the Red Sox (fifth-lowest ERA). The A.L. East teams outside of the Orioles have posted an average of a 3.83 ERA and a .236 batting average through the first half of the season. The National League West teams outside of the Dodgers have posted an average of a 4.15 ERA and a .251 batting average. Machado is clearly going to a more hitter-friendly environment division-wise for the second half of the season, and his fantasy production should reflect that.

The switch to the N.L. West also comes with the added bonus of playing seven games in the coveted Coors Field, a paradise for visiting offenses. The Rockies pitching staff have posted a bloated 5.44 ERA and .279 batting average against at home, so it is a welcome sight for teams (and fantasy owners) to see “@ COL” on their schedules. While Camden Yards is considered a hitter-friendly park, Coors Field takes the cake as the top hitter’s park.

In sum, Machado will be moving to a better offense on a competitive team in a less competitive division pitching-wise with a better schedule for the rest of the season. While he was already a top fantasy option, the trade to the Dodgers pushes him into the elite tier of fantasy players for the second half.

 

Dynasty Value

Machado’s fantasy value will receive a clear boost from the trade for the rest of this season, but it is a little less clear how it will affect him long-term. The 26-year-old will become a free agent at the end of the season and it would not be a surprise to see him test the waters of the market to see what other teams would be willing to offer him. The Dodgers will have Corey Seager returning at shortstop and Justin Turner is still a fixture at third base, so Machado is likely a rental only. While it is not certain what team he will play for after this season, there is still some analysis that can be done regarding his fantasy value.

Machado’s role with the Dodgers, should he re-sign with them in 2019 would be a little uncertain. Machado’s main role with the Dodgers this season will be to act as a replacement for 24-year-old Corey Seager, who is out for the season recovering from Tommy John surgery. It would not make any sense for the Dodgers to roster two young star shortstops, but there would be another way to retain both if the Dodgers chose to. Prior to this season, Machado was a Gold-Glove third baseman, so the Dodgers could choose to move Machado to third to replace injury-prone, 33-year-old Justin Turner. The main issue with this is that Turner is in the middle of a four-year contract ending in 2020 and Machado seems bent on playing shortstop. If the Dodgers can’t make a place for Machado or don’t offer him what he wants, he would most likely end up with another team, perhaps one of his other suitors from the trade deadline, such as the Brewers or Phillies.

The bottom line is that whatever team Machado ends up on in 2019 will be a vast improvement from the Orioles’ lineup he hit in for the first half of this season. He will sign as a centerpiece with a team that is either ready to compete for a World Series title or that is looking for a final big player to take their team over the top. Fantasy owners can count on a boost in Machado’s fantasy value for the future knowing that he will be one of the top free agents heading into the 2019 season. For now, they can sit back and enjoy the benefits of one of fantasy’s best players.

 

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