Manny Machado’s top 12 landing spots and MLB’s next big thing

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The Manny Machado Watch has intensified over the past couple of weeks. In some ways, that’s hard to believe. After all, this has been going on since last winter, when the Baltimore Orioles’ star infielder was reportedly first aggressively shopped during December’s winter meetings. Still, the watch has intensified as we move toward the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of the month. Everything transaction-related seems to be in limbo until the Manny Watch is resolved.

Last week, as part of my monthly Stock Watch rundown of the probability shifts around baseball, I incorporated a kind of automated Manny Watch into the proceedings. The point there was to virtually trade Machado to every team in the majors and see how doing so affected everything from win forecasts to World Series odds.6

Hopefully your takeaway was that as great as Machado is, as with all rental-type acquisitions, he should be viewed more as a tipping-point kind of player than anything else. That’s just how baseball works. Machado might make a difference for a team trying to emerge from a cluster of similarly talented teams but, by himself, he wouldn’t make a fringe contender into an elite one.

Today, let’s approach the same topic with a little more art than craft by answering a question that I’ve been asked a lot over the past couple of weeks: From my viewpoint, which contender would reap the most benefit from acquiring Machado? While I refer to the math I laid out in the Stock Watch as a jumping-off point, today I want to get into some of the more subjective reasons why I slot the possible landing spots for Machado the way that I do.

I’ll keep my focus on the 12 teams that currently have at least a 1 percent shot at winning the World Series according to my latest round of simulations. I’ll do them in reverse order.