Manny Machado says he’s focused on Orioles, not Dodgers
In those feverish hours Monday night, when seemingly all of America had Manny Machado bound for the Dodgers, Machado said he was oblivious to the sound and the fury. He was enjoying a day off, relaxing in his hotel room, watching television shows that did not involve baseball.
No calls from friends or family wondering when he would be traded to the Dodgers?
“Not at all,” he said Tuesday at Angel Stadium. “Not one.”
Two elements of the drama were spelled out Tuesday, the day after the Dodgers announced that All-Star shortstop Corey Seager was done for the season. The Baltimore Orioles will not be accelerating any trade of their shortstop to accommodate the Dodgers, and Machado will not be granting any negotiating advantage to the Dodgers or any other team that acquires him and hopes to sign him to a new contract.
“Everyone has waited for the time to become a free agent,” Machado said. “You want to go out there and explore your options.”
Machado stopped just short of saying he would decline to sign an extension if he were traded.
“There’s a price for everything,” he said. “At the end of the day, we just wanted to be treated fairly and get what we deserve.”
Machado, 25, a three-time All-Star, is eligible for free agency in the fall. He’s leading the major leagues with a .366 batting average. He has nine home runs, one shy of the major league lead and five more than anyone on the Dodgers.
He figures to be the best position player available in trade during the season, and the Orioles can wait for the market to develop among other teams.
And, although the Orioles are 13 games out of first place in the American League East, general manager Dan Duquette said he expected to wait for Memorial Day to assess whether the team should consider trading its players.
“We’re still evaluating our club for 2018,” Duquette told the Baltimore Sun. “Basically, we still need to figure out where we’re going to be, so I think we need a little bit more time to do that.”
Said Machado: “We had a bad April. It’s time to turn it around and hopefully make a push for this year.”
Machado deflected the question of whether he would like the Orioles to trade him to a team that might offer him a better chance to make the playoffs.
“I would like to stay here the whole year. … I want to win with this team,” he said. “But, come July, come August, come tomorrow, I can’t control that destiny.
Machado initially was reluctant to speak with the handful of reporters surrounding his locker, saying he was thinking about winning, not about trades.
“You can ask the same question about 10 different ways,” manager Buck Showalter said, “but I know the subject Manny wants to talk about is our team.”
The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo called Machado “easily one of the best players in the game” and said he could help a team “in every facet you can think of.” However, Trumbo said, Machado has not shared any preferences he might have regarding trades and free agency with his teammates, let alone the public.
“He’s got a great head on his shoulders,” Trumbo said. “He’s mature enough to know there is a time and place for stuff like that, but it’s not now.”
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin
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