After a frantic few weeks of trade rumors, industry sources expected Machado to open the campaign in Baltimore, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, amid unattractive trade offers for the three-time All-Star.
The Arizona Diamondbacks aren't going away, however.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Wednesday that the Diamondbacks are persistently pursuing Machado, and he even took a deeper look into why Arizona would consider trading for the soon-to-be free agent.
"No trade appears close, but for the D-Backs, Machado would be a fascinating addition, possibly the right move at the right time for a franchise ready to win now," wrote Rosenthal.
"The right move" for the Diamondbacks is acquiring Machado, and "the right time" is now.
As Rosenthal mentions, the Diamondbacks' top stars (Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and Jake Lamb) are in their primes, a number of their players will soon be free agents (Goldschmidt, Pollock, Patrick Corbin in 2019), and thanks to the luxury tax, the Los Angeles Dodgers may field their weakest team of this season over the next several years.
There is no better time for the Diamondbacks to go all in and try to dethrone the Dodgers - who've won five straight division titles - and Machado may be their ticket to the top.
Arizona may only be able to get their hands on Machado for one season, but because he's projected to make around $17 million through arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors, he'd be a less risky add then trying to reunite with outfielder J.D. Martinez (who is looking for a seven-year commitment in the $210-million range, and is already 30 years old).
They'd then have a season to try to negotiate an extension with the 25-year-old Machado if they chose to keep him long-term. If he doesn't pan out, they could flip him at the trade deadline, or keep him the entire season, make him a qualifying offer, and receive draft-pick compensation if he signed elsewhere.
The Diamondbacks could also give Machado what he's looking for by moving him to shortstop, while also improving at a position that, while not terrible, wasn't their best last season.
2017 D-Backs SS
Plus, the Diamondbacks' $34-million ace Zack Greinke isn't getting any younger at 34, which could lead to his potential decline, and by making a trade of this caliber, the already resurgent fan base in the desert (attendance rose at Chase Field by nearly 100,000 last season) will presumably continue on an uptick with a new star coming to Arizona.
One potential stopping point could be that the Diamondbacks don't have the trade pieces to acquire Machado. Baltimore is looking for at least two young, controllable, MLB-ready starting pitchers, but have already discussed pitcher Anthony Banda and second baseman Brandon Drury in a potential Machado swap.
If the Diamondbacks can find an offer the Orioles like, all the reasons are there for them to get this deal done, but will their pesky persistence - "they won’t go away," according to a source of Rosenthal's - pay off?
Only time will tell, but this offseason is the right time to make a move if they want to take down the white and blue in L.A.