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WASHINGTON—The wait is nearly over for Manny Machado, and now that the All-Star Game is over, the Orioles can get on with the business at hand.
Machado handled the media roar as well as he’s played this year, but soon he’ll be someone else’s superstar.
Presumably the Orioles will trade their talented shortstop, perhaps as early as Wednesday. According to The Athletic, Machado will go to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Orioles will receive minor leaguers in return. Promising outfielder Yusniel Diaz, who’s starring at Double-A Tulsa, is the most prominent name mentioned.
Evaluating the return for Machado is for the weeks, months and possibly years to come.
Tuesday night was for the rest of the baseball world to appreciate Machado. He really did nothing memorable in his two at-bats, flying to left on the first pitch in the second inning and popping to third in the fourth inning. He only handled one ground ball in the five innings he played in the American League’s 8-6 win over the National League in 10 innings.
But Machado decided the game was going to be memorable. He took a selfie at second base with the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, with whom he could play as early as Friday when Los Angeles visits Milwaukee.
Coincidentally, the Brewers also have been a reported suitor for Machado, as have the Philadelphia Phillies, who the Dodgers visit early next week.
Machado took another selfie with former teammate Nick Markakis, who’s not known for hijinks.
“I ran up to him, and he starting reaching in his pocket. I didn’t know what he was doing,” Markakis said. “He pulled out his phone and we took a picture on the field. That was a pretty cool moment. Pretty cool for him to do.”
Before the game, Machado endured another media scrum and spoke for just under three minutes.
“It’s awesome,” Machado said before the game. “Every time you put on the Oriole uniform it’s always a great blessing and you always want the opportunity to put that on. Just put it on, go play shortstop when I get my name announced. I know there’s going to be some Baltimore fans out there, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Machado received a nice greeting when he was introduced, but it hardly rivaled the one that the Nationals’ Bryce Harper received from the home crowd.
Harper delighted the home crowd by winning the Home Run Derby in exciting fashion Monday night. He and Machado are likely to be the top prizes in next fall’s free-agent market.
The Nationals hope to hold on to their young star. The Orioles know they can’t.
“You know what?” Machado said. “Honestly, I don’t even expect anything… I’m just not even trying to worry about it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I’ll be there.
“Honestly, like I said before and I’m going to continue to say it, I’m not even worried about that. I’m not worried about what’s going to happen later. I’m worried about today, and that’s the only way you can handle stuff.”
Machado thought he had heard every possible question from the press.
“This is probably going to be the last one I answer,” he said. “There will be a time and place when I’ll be here again answering questions if it happens or if it doesn’t. But for now, I’m just trying to worry about today and not trying to worry about anything else … just try to go out there and enjoy myself as much as I can.”
Machado left the stadium well before the end of the game, but he could have had post-game plans with Kemp, who said they didn’t talk about the possibility of a Dodgers union.
“We just talked about where we were going to eat after the All-Star Game,” Kemp said. “Just talking about food, good things like that, how’s the family — fun stuff like that. Just enjoying the All-Star Game.”
If Machado goes to the National League, he’ll play against Markakis, who has become an admirer.
“I enjoyed my time playing with him,” Markakis said. “He was a great teammate, great dude, and whatever happens with him after the break, I wish him well.”
Orioles fans will undoubtedly agree.
RAVENS LINKS FROM BALTIMORESPORTS.COM