Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop said several times earlier this year that he didn’t want to ponder life as an Oriole without his best friend, shortstop Manny Machado. But as the trade talks heat up and Machado’s time as an Oriole may be down to days, Schoop did ponder it for a moment during an interview yesterday.
“That will be hard. That will be hard,” Schoop said twice of a possible Machado deal. “We go way back. I don’t want to imagine that day coming. I know it’s business. But it will be hard for me and it will be hard for him. What I can do is wish him the best and, for sure, me and him will keep in touch if it happens. We don’t want it to happen, but you never know.”
I asked Schoop if he and Machado had talked about the possibility?
“We talked about it, like in a joking way. He’ll say like, ‘When I’m gone, what are you going to do?’ But we don’t want to even imagine it. I wish we could stay together for the whole career.”
We know this - Schoop and Machado can bring out the best in each other. They compete as friends and teammates to top each other and they’ve helped each other get better, going back to their minor league days, when they won a Carolina League championship together with the 2011 Single-A Frederick Keys.
“Yeah, of course. We push each other. I push him all the time, he pushes me. He was helping me all year. He said, ‘If I can do it, you can do it. Keep your focus and work hard. You did it last year. So go out there and get your work and it will happen.’”
Maybe Machado’s words helped Schoop get his offense going again. Schoop went 4-for-8 with two doubles in the Orioles’ doubleheader split with the Yankees on Monday. Since sitting out of the starting lineup two consecutive games, Schoop is 14-for-32 (.438) during an eight-game hitting streak with four doubles and two homers. This has raised his average from .197 to .224.
“I put the work in and I know I can hit. I know I can do it. So just gotta keep believing in myself and see results being different. Try to have good at-bats and some good things will happen. Early on I was thinking too much. Wanted to do too much. Right now I’m just competing and putting the work in and let it be,” Schoop said.
He doesn’t want any more bench time, that is for sure. But maybe a couple of days out of the lineup helped.
“I sat down and saw the game,” he said. “I saw what I missed on the bench. I want to play. You see it and take a mental break. Watch good at-bats and watch how you look out there when things go good and bad. It helped me a lot. I realized I love this game so much and I don’t want to sit on the bench. I want to do all I can so the manager will write my name in the lineup.”
Manny on Nick: When Machado gets to Washington for the All-Star Game next week, his American League team will play against former Oriole Nick Markakis, who was voted to start in the National League outfield.
At 34, and in his 13th season, Markakis is a first time All-Star. He’s played in nearly 2,000 games and has more than 8,000 career plate appearances.
“As a teammate, he was an incredible leader in here,” Machado said of Markakis.”Just a great guy to be around. To finally, after so many years, make his first All-Star game, it is very well deserved. Should have had a couple under his belt already. I’m looking forward to seeing him there and, hopefully, take a picture with him. He really deserved this opportunity and I’m glad the fans saw that. And voted him as an American League ... not an American League but a National League outfielder. Should have been American League. Should have still been here. But as a National League All-Star.”
More Manny speculation: The latest team to show interest in acquiring Machado is the New York Yankees, who “are showing increased interest in Machado” according to a report last night in the Athletic. Such news should come as a positive for the Orioles and their efforts to deal Machado.
The more teams involved, the bigger return Machado might bring. And if the O’s make it a deal involving Machado and another pitcher, such as Zach Britton or Brad Brach, the deal becomes bigger yet. And if the big boys - the Dodgers and Yankees - come calling, it could only make this more interesting and spur others to make better offers. And if the Yankees show interest, can the Red Sox be far behind?
Would the Orioles even trade Machado to the Yankees? My opinion is they should be open to it. Why not? He can play for any team as of this winter anyway. Dealing Machado is all about building a better Orioles future, and they should do that by pulling the trigger on the best trade package, no matter the team. What is wrong with taking young talent away from another American League East rival?