You’ll have to forgive Manny Machado if he takes his eye of the ball. Constantly hearing his name in trade rumors is starting to wear on the Baltimore Orioles star.
Manny Machado appreciates being voted into the All-Star game, but the festivities will be anything but a break for the Orioles star. The talented shortstop knows he’ll just be inundated with questions about his future by a different set of media than normal.
Of course, it’s nothing new for Machado. It’s something the superstar has been forced to deal with all year long. In fact, Machado has gone so far as to admit that he finds all of the attention on potential trades involving him to be “a little distracting.” Opposing pitchers should be really concerned about how well Machado might play if he’s fully focused.
The 25-year-old shortstop is playing great baseball despite his team’s struggles this season. He’s slashing .313/.383/.560 in his first 88 games for the last-place Orioles. Those numbers are powerful enough to give him a WAR of 2.2 to date. It’s easy to see why quite a few potential playoff contenders are interested in acquiring him this summer.
The danger in dealing for Machado is the possibility that he could just be a rental. He’ll hit free agency after the season and will certainly command a massive, long-term contract on the open market. Any team that gives up significant assets to add him for their 2018 playoff push must be prepared to hand him a massive deal once the offseason arrives.
Don’t expect his impending free agency to drop the Orioles’ asking price. Given their struggles this season, it’s clear Baltimore needs to add high-level young talent to give them a better chance to be contenders in the future. The Orioles’ front office can’t be concerned with immediate results, they just need to get the best package of prospects they can in exchange for their superstar.
For Machado, the blessing in all this is that he can still find refuge in the game of baseball itself. He’s still doing his best to “go out there and have fun” on a daily basis. His individual performance can still delight Orioles fans for now, but they need to enjoy their superstar shortstop while they still have the chance. If he’s still on their roster after the trade deadline the front office has made a serious mistake.