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Baltimore Orioles

Orioles Machado looking more and more like MLB’s first $400 million man

09 July 2016: Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado (13) smiles after scoring the winning run against the Los Angeles Angels at Orioles Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD. where the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Los Angeles Angels, 3-2. (Photograph by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)
(Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

MIAMI — One scout who attended last weekend’s World Baseball Classic games at Marlins Park had a very brief but telling assessment of Manny Machado’s performance.

“He just made himself baseball’s first $400-million man,” said the scout, who works for a National League team, after Machado went 5-for-14 with a double and a home run as the Dominican Republic won all three of its games.

There has been much speculation that Machado, the Baltimore Orioles’ third baseman, or Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper will become the first player to receive a contract of $400 million or more if they reach free agency after the 2018 season, as expected.

However, the scout is sure which of the two will break that barrier.

“It’s going to be Machado,” he said. “He just does more things that Harper. For me, he’s the better all-around player, probably second in all of baseball to Mike Trout.”

While some would argue that Harper or Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is No. 2 to Trout, Machado’s teammates with the Orioles will argue the point.

“When you have a chance to see every day like we do, you truly appreciated how great he is,” utility infielder Ryan Flaherty said earlier in spring training. “Not only is he an impact player but he has a really good feel for the subtleties of the game. He has it all, both from a physical and mental standpoint.

“And he’s a great guy and a great teammate, too.”

SARASOTA, FL - MARCH 07: Manny Machado (3) of the Dominican Republic hustles down to first base during the spring training game between the WBC's Dominican Republic and the Baltimore Orioles on March 07, 2017 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

Despite entering his sixth major-league season, Machado is just 24 years old. He has helped lead the Orioles to three postseason appearances, including in 2012 when he made his major-league debut on Aug. 9 and played a part in Baltimore ending a streak of 14 losing seasons in a row.

Machado has endured two major knee surgeries to hit .284/.333/.477 in 608 career games while averaging 28 home runs per 162 games. He has won two Gold Gloves despite being switched to third base from shortstop just two weeks before called up from the minor leagues.

Potentially enhancing Machado further is that he is expected to move to shortstop next season to replace impending free agent J.J. Hardy. Machado has made 43 career starts at short in the big leagues.

Machado, for his part, isn’t thinking two seasons ahead and about the jackpot that is likely to await. In fact, he prefers to remain a lifelong Oriole like such Hall of Famers as Cal Ripken, Jr., Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer.

Though he has been willing to spend more in recent seasons, whether owner Peter Angelos would OK a $400-million expenditure on a player is open to debate.

“They want guys to stay here,” Machado said. “They want them to build their legacy here. They want them to bring it back like back in the day when they had Cal and Brooks and Palmer and all these guys who stayed here a long time in their careers.

“They know I want to play here. This is my organization. This is the team that drafted me. I came up through this organization. I’ve done everything with this team. This is the only team I know. I’m all for it. I’d rather win a ring than sign a long-term contract. And they’re doing the right things to put the pieces in the right direction.”

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. #IBackTheBirds

    Mar 15, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Sure hope they can get something worked out. Seeing him in Boston or NY will SUCK!

  2. Bob Busillo

    Mar 15, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    I totally agree with this assessment! I am an Oriole season ticket holder and I hope they give Machado what he wants and deserves. We are watching one of the great players in the history of baseball. The only thing that is concerning is his two knee surgeries but he is only 24 and has shown no ill effects.

  3. Robert F. McTague

    Mar 15, 2017 at 10:28 am

    1. How about Mookie Betts, since you’re also inserting Kris Bryant as possible #2? Notable omission…
    2. Well, it sure as heck won’t be the Orioles shelling out that cash, or frankly even a team like the Red Sox or Cubs…looks like Yankees or Dodgers willing to swallow that large a lump. Two knee surgeries isn’t trivial when you’re thinking of a $400M investment either…
    3. Well OF COURSE his teammates say he’s the second best player in baseball. Really? What else were they gonna say?
    4. So, I guess you’re assuming 10 years at $40M annually? Hmmmm. MAYBE…we’ll see where the market goes.

  4. ravcolt

    Mar 15, 2017 at 10:11 am

    “He just does more things that Harper. For me, he’s the better all-around player, probably second in all of baseball to Mike Trout.” Not bad for a guy who doesn’t hustle, baseball’s worst base runner, and does not hit in the clutch.

  5. Steve lifelong birds fan

    Mar 15, 2017 at 6:45 am

    Angelos and sons will find a way to screw this up.

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