Joe Jordan, the Orioles’ director of scouting, referred to first-round pick Manny Machado as a “target guy” for the organization all spring who automatically has become “one of our premiere prospects.”
“We’re very excited with tonight’s selection,” Jordan said during a conference call with reporters. “We feel very fortunate. I had my interaction with Manny Machado this spring and it’s been very enjoyable to watch how he plays the game, the energy. Nothing is made up here. He loves being on the field and you can tell when you see him. I’ve just gotten a really good feel for this kid the more I’ve watched him.
“We feel like he’s going to play on the dirt, play the left side of the infield at the shortstop position. We think there’s a bat, and power - all the ingredients you look for in a shortstop. And a shortstop that will be able, hopefully, to impact the game offensively. We feel like he’s going to be able to contribute to the game every night in some way. That’s really what it boils down to. All the ingredients are there.”
The day was pretty much drama-free in the Orioles’ draft room. They knew how the first two picks were going down, and they knew that Machado would be there for them. It was a layup.
“It was one of those situations where we had three players on top of our board that we felt like we would be very happy if we got any one of them,” Jordan said. “In our room, this kid was in the position that we felt, knowing what happened in front of us, that he was going to be our guy. Today has been very easy for me. We had a lot of conversations about different things, but I knew I was getting a good player. I knew it when I went to bed last night. It’s been a good day. I’m very excited for this kid and his family.”
Jordan can’t say with any certainty where Machado will be assigned because he doesn’t know how long it will take to sign the kid.
“Once he signs, hopefully we can get him into the Gulf Coast League and he can get in shape and get ready. And from there, he’ll tell us where he wants to play by his performance,” Jordan said. “It’s a little bit early right now. I haven’t given that a lot of thought. I think the excitement of the pick is what’s important right now. Once we get negotiations completed and the signing is done, we’ll get him out there and get him playing.”
Jordan doesn’t anticipate any difficulty in signing Machado.
“I think it’ll be a normal process,” he said. “The key for me here is that we have a young man who loves to play baseball. I can see it, I’ve been told it. We’ve done all our research and all our work to find out everything we can about Manny Machado. The thing I kept hearing is this is a baseball player. He loves to be on the field. There’s a business side and we’ll take care of it, but it’s not any more significant than it should be and would be with any other player. He’s going to be a Baltimore Oriole. I don’t have any doubt about that.”
Check Steve Melewski’s blog on MASNsports.com for quotes from Machado.