Why The Phillies Wouldn't Trade Andy Machado

A General Manager is paid the big bucks to make big decisions. Some of the biggest of those decisions come in the days and hours leading up to the trade deadline and this season was no exception. For Ed Wade, the decision was made fairly early in the day that he was not going to send minor league shortstop Andy Machado to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jeff Suppan. Why? Wade has his reasons and we know ‘em.

The first of the reasons why Ed Wade refused to let Andy Machado go to Pittsburgh for Jeff Suppan was simple. He didn't feel it was a good trade for the Phillies. Even though Machado's numbers have tailed off this season, the Phillies still feel that he is a valued prospect for the their future. After all, it was Jeff Suppan the Phillies were pursuing, not Randy Johnson or Javier Vazquez. Suppan is a below .500 career pitcher, who is starting to come into his own, but still isn't near the upper level of pitchers in the majors. You can argue that with everybody healthy, Suppan wasn't even the best pitcher on the Pirates this season.

Even with all of that, Wade was interested in Suppan. He wasn't looking for a top of the rotation guy, he was looking to possibly add a fifth starter, who would replace Brandon Duckworth in the rotation. Wade knew the Pirates would look for a nice prospect or possibly two in the deal and he was prepared. The Pirates were interested in Keith Bucktrot and Eric Valent and Wade might have gone that far. He was also willing to talk about sending Jorge Padilla to Pittsburgh, but he definitely had his limits.

As for David Littlefield, the Pirates GM, he of course, was looking to make the best deal possible for his struggling team. After all, these aren't the Reds who are just selling off every player available to the highest bidder, no matter what the offer. Littlefield started where he had to start by asking about Gavin Floyd, Ryan Madson and even Cole Hamels. You never know when you'll catch another GM napping and walk away with a deal, right? Wade quickly ended that portion of the discussion. That's when names like Keith Bucktrot and Jorge Padilla came through the phone line and then, another name hit; Andy Machado.

While Wade would have liked to add a fifth starter, Machado wasn't going to be available. Not in this deal at least. If it were a bigger name pitcher that the Phillies were going after, Machado might be on the table, but Jeff Suppan wasn't going to get Machado moved to the Pirates future and for more reasons than Machado's potential.

The reasons why Wade said "no" go back to last winter. The Phillies tried to sign shortstop Jimmy Rollins to a long-term deal and Rollins declined. They let Rollins know that they were interested in getting something done during spring training and again, were told "no". The rest of the young stars in the Phillies lineup have signed, but Rollins, for whatever reason, has been slow to accept something long-term. The Phillies are increasingly getting a little more than concerned. It's not that Rollins can go anywhere, since he is still a few years away from free agency, but what happens then? Rollins may not want to stick around Philadelphia once his chance at free agency gets here.

Not being able to sign Rollins to a nice, big contract could actually wind up costing the Phillies money. If Rollins goes to arbitration year after year and wins, the numbers could potentially climb higher than if he had signed the deal that the Phillies offered last winter. If that happens, Rollins could price himself out of Philadelphia. That scenario increases if Machado redevelops his swing and his numbers start to climb. It's not impossible to imagine a scenario in a year or two where Machado is pushing for a major league job, Rollins has a high salary and, is close to being a free agent. That's a formula that produces trades.

So, instead of coming to the historic city of Philadelphia, Suppan wound up in the historic city of Boston. Andy Machado gets to keep his Reading mailing address and Brandon Duckworth gets to keep his fifth spot in the rotation. It may not be a complete coincidence that Duckworth pitched a solid game on the night of the trade deadline. That combined with a strong finish to the season for Machado could make Wade look pretty smart for not making the deal. After all, remember the old saying "sometimes, the best deals are the ones that aren't made".


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