Myriad O's Thoughts: Schoop and Machado share birthday wish; Machado on trade rumors; Britton's outing - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Myriad O’s Thoughts: Schoop and Machado share birthday wish; Machado on trade rumors; Britton’s outing

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

While the Orioles were in Minnesota last week, a birthday cake was brought out to Orioles shortstop Manny Machado, who turned 26 on Friday.

He was about to blow out the candles, when he stopped and said something to his best buddy on the team, second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

“He told me to blow the candle for him and wish that I can stay with you,” Schoop said. “So, we blew out the (candle) together and we wished that we could stay together for our whole careers.”

Machado and Schoop have been close friends since they met in Sarasota in 2010 and initially competed for the chance to play shortstop. They played together throughout the minors – and then again starting in 2013, when Schoop first joined Machado with the Orioles.

They’ve been inseparable for roughly eight years. But now, with Machado about to be traded as the woeful Orioles begin what should be a fire sale this month, Schoop and Machado know they will soon be on different teams.

But since it hasn’t happened yet, Machado and Schoop figured it was worth a birthday wish.

“I wish he can be here. He’s my best friend. We are close,” Schoop said. “But if things go the other way, me and him are gonna stay in touch with each other. So, I don’t want (him to go) and he don’t want to, but that’s business.”

Machado and the Orioles haven’t had legitimate extension discussions in several years. The club and Schoop, who is a free agent at the end of the 2019 season, have not any talks this year.

If they are to be teammates again, it will almost certainly be away from Baltimore.

Machado understands his career here is coming to an end, but he certainly is saying the right things as he prepares to leave.

“This organization has given me everything. I got drafted here, and it’s just been home for the last seven years. It’s been truly an amazing journey here. Everyone in here is part of my family. They’re brothers to me. We’ll always be in contact,” Machado said. “If anything ever happens, I’ll always have their back because we’ve got through some good times and some bad times. It’s just made us better and gotten us closer together. This organization means a lot. I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

Machado and Showalter on the Manny rumors

Every day is a new rumor about who may be pushing hardest for Machado. Most contenders appear to be in the mix, The Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees have all been discussed as landing spots.

The Phillies had one of their top special assistants, Charlie Kerfeld, at Camden Yards on Monday, presumably watching Machado as well as a cadre of Orioles relievers that includes pending free agents Zach Britton and possibly Brad Brach (who likely further hurt his trade stock with another rough outing in Monday’s nightcap).

Machado, of course, is the biggest and best name available, and it’s inevitable that he’ll be moved by the Orioles.

“Everywhere I see, it’s just Manny, Manny, Manny. It gets kind of a little distracting at times,” Machado said Monday. “Once I come in here and step in this clubhouse, I’m trying to be myself and have fun. That’s the only thing that keeps me going — I love this game so much, and I’m going to go out there every day and put on a show and do the best I can.”

If he isn’t traded by Monday, he’ll be taking part in the All-Star Game media scrum in Washington D.C. that afternoon. His table will surely be one of the most crowded during the event. It will be a different venue, but the same questions and attention Machado has received all year. He said he’ll handle it in stride.

“Same I way I have to deal with it every day. I’ve had to deal with it all year. It’s been non-stop every city we go to with reporters asking questions. I’ve answered all the questions I’ve needed to answer,” Machado said. “Obviously, there are going to be some more questions coming out there at that time. I’m sure quite a few (reporters covering contenders) are going to want to ask questions about it. Those are just things I’m going to have to deal with when it comes, just try to enjoy the moment when I get there.

“It’s about enjoying it with your family, enjoying it with your friends and the people that have gotten you to that position. Just enjoy it as much as I can. I’m the starting shortstop and I’ve worked hard to get to this position. I’m very grateful and humbled at the same time.”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter aid he’s been impressed with how Machado has handled the extra attention – but not surprised.

“He actually thrives on it. If you look at all the things that have brought attention on him, very few are self-inflicted,” Showalter said. “If you look at his response to all of it, it’s been very much like this first-half-plus of the season … Of course, it’s real easy to handle things like that when you’re as talented as he is.”

Two other things about Machado and the All-Star Game. He said he’s not going to participate in the Home Run Derby contest and he said he hasn’t thought at all about having to sit out of the game if he is traded to the National League before the event. If that were the case, he wouldn’t be able to play. If he is traded to the AL, however, he would still get the starting nod.

“I’m the American League starter. That’s all I’ve been thinking about it, celebrate with my wife, my family,” Machado said. “We’re just very excited. We’re not even thinking about (being ineligible).”

Machado sidesteps Yankees rumors post-game

After Machado spent 10 minutes before Monday’s game holding court with Baltimore reporters about the All-Star Game and trade rumors, he had go through a similar drill after Monday’s doubleheader, when several members of the New York media converged on his locker after there were reports in-game that the Yankees have renewed interest in Machado.

He was clearly perturbed about answering more questions about speculation.

“If you want to talk me about something, then talk to me about the game,” Machado said when asked to comment about the Yankees’ rumor. “Talk to me about something useful, not about rumors. I ain’t here to talk about rumors.”

He reiterated that point several times, and then again said he wants to play shortstop if/when he gets traded to a contender.

“I’m a shortstop. I play shortstop,” he said.

Britton looks more like Britton on Monday

A potentially important development occurred for the Orioles in Monday’s first game. Britton entered with a one-run lead in the top of the ninth against the Yankees and pitched a scoreless inning for his second save.

He allowed a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Miguel Andujar, but then struck out a batter and picked up two groundouts. He threw nine of his 15 pitches for strikes – all were sinkers, mainly at 95 to 97 mph. His velocity was a few ticks above where it had been in earlier outings and his command is improving.

“Zach was good, huh? Roger (McDowell) and I were talking in the dugout. That was Zach, that was good to see,” Showalter said. “Very quietly, little by little, he’s getting there. You could tell by his body language he felt really good about his stuff.”

Aside from Machado, Britton is by far the Orioles’ best trade chip, assuming that he has fully knocked off the rust that gathered after December’s Achilles’ surgery.

Most contenders could use back-end relief help and if Britton can show that he’s even somewhat close to the form that made him one of baseball’s best closers from 2014-16, then he could bring back some legitimate pieces in a late July trade.

The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be the best fits for Britton, who was nearly traded to the Astros last July.

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. bigdaddydk

    July 10, 2018 at 8:10 am

    So, what I’m deriving from this is that Manny wants to be in Baltimore but the money is more important.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 10, 2018 at 8:51 am

      For simplicity sake, sure. But I wouldn’t blame anyone in that situation. Loyalty, like most things, has a price.

  2. Churchton

    July 10, 2018 at 8:14 am

    That is a major problem the the idiots have in the front office. They have no clue on how to run a team machado was a good player 3 years ago and they stood a chance to keep him if they worked on a negotiation however the brain stems let it slip by. Here was a player to rival brooks. Instead brainless Anderson fought to get a streaky and strike out king for 23 million. Than to add insult to injury he helped land Tillman for 3 million. I do hope they keep him in the minors cause some of the kids they are bringing up show promise. If you are rebuilding you don’t need Tillman. It is a shame that the O’s are run by a bunch of dummies. I can now see why the bay fans hate peter angelos so much

    • Dan Connolly

      July 10, 2018 at 8:55 am

      Hey Church: always appreciate the perspective but no reason to name call. You’ve done this several times previously and I’ve let it go. But that’s not what we want here. What makes this forum great is the intellectual and informed give-and-take we’ve created. You’re a good part of that. But tone it down a smidge. Thanks.

  3. karks

    July 10, 2018 at 8:23 am

    It’s very bittersweet to see this situation. I understand the financial part of it and the need to trade Manny, but I’ll miss seeing him in an O’s uniform. I’ll miss him and Schoop playing their little games.

    The thing is, even if they had signed him to an extension early on, it’s not as if this current team would be any better off. They’re this terrible with him in the lineup. At least now they have a legitimate trade chip.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 10, 2018 at 8:56 am

      Hard to argue with ya here.

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 10, 2018 at 8:29 am

    It’s a sad, sad state of affairs, when trading your best player of the last 40 years is the topic of conversation and you haven’t even made it to all star break. Mr. Angelos, I blame you. Please sell this team.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 10, 2018 at 8:57 am

      It’s really the only conversation in these parts. So much riding on this call.

      • Bancells Moustache

        July 10, 2018 at 10:52 am

        Best player of the last 40 years?! Slow your roll Boog. Mssrs. Ripken, Murray, Palmeiro, Mussina and Alomar would like a word with you.

  5. Orial

    July 10, 2018 at 8:38 am

    All of these situations could have been resolved if the organization had an aggressive approach(same situation facing Schoop). Hope future regime(Sons) play the game with a stronger attitude. Something I wonder about Dan–if the Nats hadn’t moved to DC and Angelos had carried the territorial clout he once had would there have been a better chance of a Manny extension?

    • Dan Connolly

      July 10, 2018 at 8:59 am

      Hard to say for sure O, but I think so. This organization for the most part has been risk-adverse — as most good lawyers are — and I think that heightened when the Nats came to town and the bottom line shifted.

  6. Dblack2508

    July 10, 2018 at 9:06 am

    In any organization. the problems should lay at the top. I know personally I take the hit myself in mine. As bad as Peter Angelos is perceived, I do not doubt his desire to win a championship. The problem is the philosophy and lack of a baseball person making personal decisions. Unless the Orioles change their overall baseball philosophy, nothing is going to change.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 10, 2018 at 10:32 am

      To me, the problem with the decision-making process is how many people have significant input and the speed on which decisions are made or not made.

  7. chico salmon

    July 10, 2018 at 9:57 am

    I get the impression that, respite comments to the contrary, the trades will happen right at the deadline. We will have to endure this for another few weeks. I’m amazed that Manny can concentrate and hit as well as his is. One note, his range at shortstop is not very good. The single off Britton to start the ninth inning of game one, which went off his glove, was playable to most major league shortstops. He’s an average to slightly below average fielding shortstop, and a platinum glove third baseman. Not doubt scouts have taken note of that.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 10, 2018 at 10:34 am

      Waiting to get the best package makes sense. But if there is a deal they really really like they should go for it. I think they are in between those spots.

  8. SpinMaster

    July 10, 2018 at 10:19 am

    I think the big picture here is that there is NO organization with the Orioles. In a well run company, there are defined roles for its key players. The company’s employees will not perform at their best if they don’t feel secure. With so many free agents this year and next and no extensions being offered (i.e. Schoop, Buck), how can any player or coach feel as if the organization values their contributions. When you don’t feel valued by your company, you will resort to playing for yourself and protecting your future. Without a well defined chain-of-command, the organization will not succeed.

  9. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    July 10, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Most fans wanted to see Manny play his whole career here like many past Orioles greats. Management made several poor decisions in 2014 that put them in this current situation. Manny had 2 consecutive years of knee injuries 2013 & 2014 . This played a role in waiting too long to work out an extension.

    They let both Cruz and Nick go without suitable replacements. Then over paid Davis possibly not wanting to see him thrive elsewhere and facing fan wrath. Finally not focus on extending Manny. Now they have to trade him to rebuild this team, which will likely take many years to accomplish.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 10, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      I agree with most of what you’re saying. The one thing I caution is that a rebuild will take many years. If done correctly — see the Phillies for instance — it can be relatively quick. But I has to be done right. And I understand the cynicism there.

  10. Birdman

    July 10, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Among the many frustrations of being an Orioles fan is that the organization both isn’t proactive, and doesn’t learn from its mistakes. Manny should have been either signed to an extension, or traded, by the start of the 2017 season. At that point, if Machado wasn’t going to be extended, he was still under club control for two full seasons, and the Orioles could have gotten a huge haul for him. And now the team is repeating the very same process with Schoop, who will probably end up being dealt at the July 2019 trade deadline.

    On a rare bright note in 2018, kudos to Mike Wright. I, along with just about everyone else on this site, have bashed him in the past. So we should give him credit for his recent turnaround – a 0.88 WHIP over his last 5 appearances. Hope he can keep up the good work.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 10, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      Good points — and particularly interesting that Wright is doing this now.

  11. 54orioles

    July 10, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    I’ve come to realize that’s the word TEAM no longer carries the same emphasis as it did pre-1990. The money that the players and owners reap in has made all the difference in the world. Sadly, this has been at the expense of the fans. Fans still go thru the turnstiles but the deep loyalty between, players, owners and fans has greatly diminished.

    • Bancells Moustache

      July 10, 2018 at 3:45 pm

      Ruined things for some players as well, though it’s hard to drum up sympathy for anyone bringing in 9 figures. Does Chris Davis, who is by all accounts a good and decent family man, get reviled the way he does by some fans if he is making 900K a year? That’s one of the worst parts of thsee absurd salaries; it makes fans hate guys.

    • 54orioles

      July 10, 2018 at 5:28 pm

      I’m getting too old to understand the mindset of guys 20-30 making of dollars. It’s way too easy just to leave one team for another.

  12. Baltimos687

    July 10, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    I’m not going to bother tracking any trade rumors. This organization has literally pushed this core/team as far as they can possibly go and it’s backfired in every way imaginable. There is no reason to think they won’t wait at least 3 more weeks to do anything. I wouldn’t be shocked if they even just play the season out and collect comp picks.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 10, 2018 at 9:10 pm

      I can’t see that happening. He and Britton will be dealt.

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