If you like random rankings, here’s one to start your morning.
MLB Network rated Manny Machado as the fourth-best third baseman in baseball, slotting him between the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre and the Dodgers’ Justin Turner.
The press release stated that a number of offensive and defensive metrics were considered while compiling the list, along with projections for the upcoming season.
Here’s the Top 10:
1. Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
2. Kris Bryant, Cubs
3. Adrian Beltre, Rangers
4. Manny Machado, Orioles
5. Justin Turner, Dodgers
6. Nolan Arenado, Rockies
7. Jung Ho Kang, Pirates
8. Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
9. Kyle Seager, Mariners
10. Todd Frazier, White Sox
The Orioles need to reopen talks with Machado on a contract extension. Don’t let him hit the market after the 2018 season or there’s a good chance that he’s going to hit the road.
Machado was open to the idea of talking extension before the Orioles kept three of their big free agents. He figures to still like the idea. The issue needs to be moved off the back burner.
The Orioles are paying catcher Matt Wieters $15.8 million and outfielder/first baseman Mark Trumbo $9.15 million in the final year of their contracts. You can do the math and figure out how much might come off the books if they leave via free agency.
I know it’s already been discussed within the organization when considering potential moves next winter.
Meanwhile, the Orioles will pay first baseman Chris Davis $17 million this season as part of his seven-year, $161 million deal. That’s enough to buy anything he wants at Target.
I made sure of it Thursday night during his phone interview on the “Hot Stove Show” on 105.7 The Fan. You may recall that manager Buck Showalter asked Davis how much money is enough and brought the store into their conversation. This was before the sides reached agreement on the deal.
Willing to play along Thursday night, Davis replied, “My wife (Jill) loves Target. I think that’s kind of a funny thing that the reason he brought it up is because she’s notoriously trying to live somewhere where we’re reasonably close to a Target.
“I think Buck’s comments were obviously emotional and a lot of people asked me if that weighed a lot on my decision. And of course I wanted to play for Buck again. I’ve had so much success with the Orioles with Buck as manager. For me, the amount of money doesn’t change our values and who we are. We’re going to stay true to who we are and continue to be the people we have been over the years.”
I suggested that Davis could land an endorsement deal with Target.
“Don’t say that. No,” he replied. “That’s the last thing we need is an endorsement from Target.”
By the end of the show, I had realtors tweeting me with offers to find the Davis family a home near a Target.
“I’ll be sure not to pass that along,” Davis quipped.
Jill Davis wasn’t excluded during the negotiating process. The family’s comfort was a major consideration. This was more than just a baseball decision.
“It definitely was a factor,” said Chris Davis. “I was very open with Jill about everything and we wanted to kind of tackle the situation as a family. And I felt like the time that I’ve put in over the years and the time that she has really put in over the years and hanging with me and driving back and forth between Dallas and Round Rock ...
“I think about my days with the Rangers and didn’t even know if I was ever going to get to free agency. I think we took all of that into account and really just tried to be as patient as possible. I think we both had a soft spot for Baltimore in our hearts because of the history that we had with the organization and obviously with the way the fans have accepted me over the years. That made the decision a little bit easier, even though it took a little bit longer than I would have liked.”
Davis was asked whether it became depressing when negotiations dragged into January and appeared to stall over a period of time.
“Depressing is a heavy word, but it was a different process than I expected,” he said. “When you don’t go through it and you don’t understand what the process entails, you just kind of have to pick and choose what you hear from other guys and try to make the best of it. I think the hardest thing was really being patient with the way the market was developing. It was a lot slower this year than I think it has been in recent years, so I was glad to have it behind me and obviously to be wearing orange and black again.”
In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Orioles’ made an initial offer of $150 million over seven years, the present-day value with deferred money factored into the contract.
“I was excited when I heard the first offer come across the table,” Davis said. “Dan (Duquette) and I had some conversations toward the end of the year and he was obviously very adamant about signing me, but as a player you never know if that’s going to translate into an actual contract or if the team is just hopeful. I think for me, just knowing that not only he was trying to get me back, but to also know that Peter (Angelos) was strongly bidding for me to get back, it made a huge impact on me. And obviously made the decision a little bit easier.”
Despite his spotless record on the mound, Davis joked that there are “zero pitching incentives in my contract and I think that’s probably the best thing for everybody.”
Will anyone forget Davis’ two shutout innings in relief in the Orioles’ insanely wild 9-6, 17-inning victory over the Red Sox on May 6, 2012 at Fenway Park?
“That was obviously a historic day, but it was a tough day for me until about the 16th and 17th inning,” said Davis, who was 0-for-8 with five strikeouts.
“That’s something that I’ve always had a lot of fun with and I’m always very grateful that I was able to rely on my defense. You forgot to mention the ball that I gave off the wall that they had an unbelievable relay to hose the guy at the plate. But I think it’s something that’s always a great memory and something that I’ll cherish for a long time.”
Marlon Byrd was thrown out at the plate - Adam Jones to J.J Hardy to Wieters - to end the 16th and keep the score tied before Jones hit a three-run homer in the top of the 17th. Davis is right. The relay is an important part of the story.
The details remain vivid in his mind.
“You remember when you give up one off the wall and you’re backing up home plate and you see your defense pick you up,” he said. “Pitching, defense and the three-run homer. I guess that’s kind of our forte.”
Shameless plug alert: I’m on “Wall to Wall Baseball” from 11 a.m.-noon on MASN.