Well, it wasn’t exactly a grilling by the Baltimore baseball writers, but top pick Manny Machado did speak with those writers today for the first time since signing his 5.25 million dollar contract with the Orioles.
It was a telephone press conference with Machado in Florida answering a few questions from reporters at Camden Yards.
Here is how it went.
Q: What was signing night like for you and did you feel certain a deal would get done?
“Well, that night was just going crazy, with my family here and just negotiations. At the end it was a great night, a deal got done. It was, you know, pretty exciting that a deal got done. All through the process, I kind of had an idea of what I was going to do.”
Q: Were you nervous a deal might not get done and did you think you might be going to college? “Yeah, at some point I did think I was going to go to college.”
Q: Did that make it harder over the summer, not certain on what was going on?
“Oh, yeah, it did make it very hard.”
Q: Now, what about getting back in uniform and are you rusty at all?
“I didn’t play this summer, but I was working out and catching ground balls and doing hitting stuff. Probably just going to be a little rusty, seeing live pitching. But I can’t wait to get suited up and start playing professional ball.”
Q: What about dealing with high expectations?
“My plan is just to go out there and play and have fun. What I’ve been doing throughout my career in baseball. I’m not going to think about anything else, but just go out there and play hard and give 110 percent.”
Q: Has the enormity of getting a 5.25 million dollar contract sunk in and what will you do with it?
“Yeah, I’m very excited, me and my family are. We don’t know what we are going to do yet. I guess just wait and see what happens.”
Q: Would you have preferred to play some in pro ball this summer?
“I don’t know. In the long run, I’m going to be playing now, so it really doesn’t make a difference.”
Q: There are a lot of strengths to your game, but as you analyze yourself, where do you need to improve?
“Um, I would say I’ve still gotta work on my fielding, my footwork and my defensive footwork. And just get stronger.”
Q: A lot was made of you and Bryce Harper joking around about going to college. Were you two just playing around with that or was there any seriousness to it?
“Well, this is just one night he posted up a status (on facebook) and I kind of just went around, made it a joke. We really never talked about it, we were having fun over a little status thing. We never really talked about it.”