Is the Rolling Stones’ song “Mixed Emotions” now running through your head, too?
Rest and rehabilitation sounded a whole lot better than surgery, and his availability for opening day on March 31 could be in jeopardy. That’s the part that hit me like a blitzing linebacker.
However, Machado hyperextended the same knee two years ago at Single-A Delmarva, and it could have developed into a chronic issue, as Gene Shirokobrod, a doctor of physical therapy and certified orthopaedic manual therapist, pointed out in this blog entry.
What if the knee buckled again early next season and Machado decided to have the surgery? Just get it done on Monday and hope that the rehab period runs closer to four months than six.
Head athletic trainer Richie Bancells noted during Machado’s press conference on Sept. 24 that the third baseman could elect to have surgery and still be ready by opening day. The Orioles were going to reexamine the knee four weeks after an MRI that didn’t reveal any damage to the ACL or MCL.
“That’s why we’re going to get him back and look at him in four weeks and try to get closer to making some decisions there,” Bancells said last month. “It still allows us enough time to get Manny ready for the season and spring training. Don’t forget that for Manny, that really means mid-March for a position player. It’s kind of a drop-dead date.”
I almost fell over when the Orioles tweeted Machado’s decision to have the surgery.
So, do the Orioles adjust their winter shopping list and add “third baseman?”
They need to decide whether to re-sign Nate McLouth for left field and Brian Roberts for second base. They need a plan for designated hitter - whether it’s one bat or another attempt at a platoon. And now, they probably need to formulate a backup plan in case Machado isn’t full-go in spring training and has to be eased into the regular season.
Danny Valencia plays the position and could keep it warm for Machado. Ryan Flaherty also is capable.
Chris Davis has played 70 major league games at third base, none since 2011. He won’t be moving across the diamond.
Does the idea intrigue you? Even a little bit?
Jonathan Schoop has played 24 minor league games at third, but my guess is he’s Triple-A Norfolk’s starting second baseman in April.
Mark Reynolds is a free agent. Yes, I went there.
So is Wilson Betemit. Yep, I did that, too.
Here’s the list of free-agent third basemen, courtesy of MLBTradeRumors, but keep in mind that no one seeking regular playing time is coming to Baltimore:
Yuniesky Betancourt (32)
Wilson Betemit (32) - $3.2MM vesting option
Jamey Carroll (40) - $2MM club option with a $250K buyout
Eric Chavez (36)
Mark DeRosa (39) - $750K club option with a $25K buyout
Jerry Hairston Jr. (38)
Brandon Inge (37)
Casey McGehee (31)
Placido Polanco (38)
Mark Reynolds (30)
Juan Uribe (34)
Kevin Youkilis (35)
Michael Young (37)