As the New Year approaches, the rumors surrounding Manny Machado are intensifying. Provided that Baltimore is game, it’s becoming obvious that the Cubs should jump at an opportunity to acquire Machado for a package centered around Addison Russell and Mike Montgomery.
I have heard the critics. And they are not without reason. Both Russell and Monty are high ceiling guys under club control for the foreseeable future. Machado appears to be a one-year rental. His contract demands make it unlikely for him to be on the North Side past 2018.
I’m here to tell you why the deal still makes sense. The Cubs simply do NOT need Addison Russell OR Mike Montgomery to be a part of their long-term plans.
Addison Russell is great defensively. But his offensive game has completely plateau-ed. His power and plate discipline regressed in 2017, and I see no reason to believe he will be more consistent offensively in 2018 or the years that follow. Quite simply, Addison is overvalued. And I’m not sure why people are so smitten with him. He was an All-Star in 2016 riding completely on the tidal wave of positivity from the Cubs’ scorching start. If you played every day for the Cubs in 2016 (and your name wasn’t Jason Heyward), you were an All-Star. I don’t see Russell being a perennial all-star. He’s an outstanding defender, a marginally above average hitter, and he’s young. Period.
As for Montgomery, it’s time we go our separate ways. Monty has outgrown his role in the bullpen, and Cubs’ brass does not view him as a starter in this league. A clean break would be best for both sides. The Cubs have fortified their rotation with the addition of Tyler Chatwood and Drew Smyly. The bullpen is chalk-full of new arms. The music has stopped and Monty doesn’t have a chair.
The Cubs are undoubtedly a better team in 2018 with the superstar talent of Machado and without the expendable Addi and Monty. A 2,3,4,5 including Kris Bryant, Manny Machado, Willson Contreras and Anthony Rizzo is borderline pornographic. This era of Cubs baseball deserves a one-summer fling with a player of Machado’s caliber.
The sky will not fall when Manny leaves in 2019. Javy Baéz and Ian Happ combine to make a more than capable middle infield of the future. The club has too much to gain to say “no thanks” to one year of Dominican megastar Manny Machado.