Phillies hit All-Star break in first place in NL East amid Manny Machado watch

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles

Even the most optimistic Phillies fans would likely be lying if they told you the team would be a half game up on the second-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East as the season hit the all-star break. But finding someone to suggest the team is in need of an extra bat would not be difficult at all. As it turns out, the Phillies do hold a narrow lead in the division and are currently seen as a leader for a potential trade for one of the biggest bats on the trading block, Baltimore Orioles infielder Manny Machado.

Speculation continues to hit the highest levels with the idea the Phillies are going to land Machado and get him into the lineup shortly after the second half of the season begins, if not right from the start of the post-all-star game break. Multiple reports are showing the Orioles are very close to coming to an agreement on a trade that would ship Machado to a new team for the rest of the season. The Phillies are thought to be the most likely destination, but Baltimore is continuing to weigh offers from the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers.

I tend not to believe any report of a so-called handshake agreement on a trade when the team shipping away a player like Baltimore has no reason to do so without just finalizing the deal and getting it set in motion. But all indications are the Phillies are going all in to pry Machado from Baltimore, as noted by Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Per Salisbury’s previous report, Baltimore has scouted a number of Phillies prospects, including two-game starter Enyel De Los Santos.

This is exciting. It has been a while since the Phillies were in the buying position approaching the trade deadline and they have prospects to make some key moves. The question is how much do the Phillies believe they should be a serious buyer right now? And if push comes to shove, are they prepared to give up on a top prospect like pitcher Sixto Sanchez? That is a big decision to make right now for a team with no offense after surprisingly moving to the top of the division. And if the Phillies manage to get Baltimore to ship them reliever Alex Britton too, how much will this end up costing the Phillies in the long-term?

This is the big question. If the Phillies feel they have a shot to get to the World Series, then they should make whatever moves they need to solidify their chances. But how much do you give up to a team if you think there is a decent chance Machado leaves in free agency at the end of the year? This is where things get tense.

Brace yourselves. Big things could be happening very soon.

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