ANAHEIM, Calif. - He was the subject of constant speculation and trade rumors on Monday, but the one person that didn’t seem to pay much attention to them was Orioles shortstop Manny Machado.
“I didn’t read up on it,” Machado said this afternoon in the Orioles clubhouse. “I was trying to enjoy my day off as much as I can, laying in bed watching my TV shows. At the end of day, just getting ready to play today. I did not watch baseball at all yesterday.”
If he had, he would have seen his name just about everywhere. When Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager was lost for the season due to Tommy John surgery, Machado was immediately rumored as a player that the Dodgers could target in a deal to fill their shortstop hole. He is a pending free agent with the Orioles and they were involved in trade talks for Machado over the winter.
Machado said today he hopes he is not traded.
“I would like to stay here the whole year,” he said. “This is a team that we’ve been together the last seven years. I want to win with this team. Come July, come August, come tomorrow, I can’t control that destiny. I just got to go out there and do whatever I can today.
“You know what? It’s tough to say (if he expects there eventually will be a trade). There are things out of my control. Hopefully. it doesn’t come to that, we clean it up and start winning games. I’m positive that with the 25 guys we have here, when we are all healthy, we are going to surprise a lot of people. We had a bad April, but it’s time to turn it around and hopefully make a push for this year.”
Machado was told that executive vice president Dan Duquette has said he would like to wait until about Memorial Day to asses his team and decide then if trades should be made or not.
“Is that what they said? You know, everybody in here, we sat down and we talked,” Machado said. “Everybody wants to win. We know we are way better than what’s been happening, how we played the last month. There’s no excuses or anything, we’ve been playing bad. Injuries have been affecting us, but one day we play well, one day we don’t. One day we pitch well, one day we don’t. It’s been off. I think everyone wants to keep playing together. We’ve been together for the last seven years and we want to at least make one more push for it. I’m confident in the team we have here. That we can do that.”
Machado is doing his part, batting a major league-leading .361 with a .448 OBP and a .676 slugging percentage. He’s hit nine homers with 22 RBIs and an OPS of 1.124.
Whether he is watching, reading or not, Machado knows yesterday is probably not the last day his name will dominate the rumor mill.
“There is no going around it,” he said. “But, I mean, I don’t want to get caught up in all that nonsense and things that I can’t control. I want to keep playing, keep playing well and win some games on this road trip that we need.”
If you get can practice dealing with being the center of rumor and speculation, Machado did some of that with all the trade speculation over the winter.
“It did help a little bit, but at the end of the day, I wasn’t in front of a camera back then,” he said. “I’ve learned there’s a lot of things you can’t control. What Dan wants to do with the team or myself or Buck (Showalter). I just come in here and try to play and do what I can to win games. If you don’t win games, it means nothing up here.”
A Los Angeles-based reporter asked Machado if he expects to hit free agency for certain next winter and also, if traded, would he be open to signing an extension with the acquiring team.
“Everyone waits for the time when it comes to be a free agent,” Machado said. “You want to explore your options. But things change. Tomorrow you could get traded or I could be here the whole year. You don’t know what will happen. I’ll just play it by ear.
“There is a price for everything. At the end of the day, we just want to be treated fairly and get what we deserve. Other than that, we just go out there and play baseball.”