It's too soon to evaluate Machado trade, but not to evaluate Machado - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

It’s too soon to evaluate Machado trade, but not to evaluate Machado

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Everyone wants to know if the Orioles received excellent value in their deal for Manny Machado. Much to their disappointment, the answer is: Ask again in 2020 or 2021.

It’s possible that none of the five players the Orioles got from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Machado—outfielder Yusniel Diaz, infielders Breyvick Valera and Rylan Bannon and pitchers Dean Kremer and Zach Pop—will appear in a major league game this season.

More likely, Diaz and Valera will receive some time, probably in September when the rosters expand.

But that will hardly be enough time to evaluate the haul for a possible Hall of Famer.

It appears that by waiting, instead of trading Machado at last December’s Winter Meetings, the Orioles might have maximized their return. Besides the Dodgers, the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies appear to have made credible offers.

Machado could help lead Los Angeles back to the World Series this fall, and if this group of players doesn’t help make the Orioles competitive again, fans will be disheartened.

If the Orioles hadn’t traded Machado, they would have gotten a compensation pick in the draft after he refused their qualifying offer this fall. Now, they get five players, and one, Diaz, who is considered a top-shelf prospect.

So, check with me again in two or three years, and we’ll have a better idea.

On a personal note, I will miss Machado. Not one for small talk, Machado has grown tremendously over the years and became increasingly media savvy.

He dealt with the endless questions this season gracefully and not defensively. When he reported for spring training, Machado could have said he’ll talk about his contract status once and not address it again.

But he didn’t, and when reporters from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia pummeled him with questions, Machado answered fully.

The only exception was last week when, after a doubleheader with the Yankees, Machado was ambushed by some New York scribes who wanted him to address a report about the Yankees being interested in him.

He wasn’t pleased, and said he didn’t address rumors. However, before the first game, Machado spoke for more than 10 minutes about his election to the All-Star Game and the trade buzz without the New York writers on hand.

Controversy often seemed to follow Machado, whether it was the 2014 bat-throwing incident with Oakland, the time he charged the mound in 2016 when the late Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura threw at him or last year in Boston when he unleashed a profanity-laced tirade.

Chris Sale had thrown behind Machado’s legs and while he wasn’t drawn into a war with Sale, Machado was extraordinarily angry.

Through all of those incidents, Machado answered questions about what happened and never ducked.

While many fans think Machado is drawn to the big market spotlight, I’m not too sure. He’ll love playing for the Dodgers, not because it’s in Los Angeles, but because the Dodgers are an outstanding team.

He is a fan of the Miami Heat, and it won’t hurt that LeBron James recently signed with the Lakers.

Instantly, the Dodgers become the favorite to sign Machado in free agency, but part of me believes that if the Orioles had offered him a reasonable contract a few years back, he would have signed.

He’ll miss Jonathan Schoop, Adam Jones and third base coach Bobby Dickerson — among others — but Machado will blend in well with the Dodgers. Because he’s bilingual, he’ll mesh quickly with the both the English and Spanish speaking players.

Despite the lure of L.A., Machado will continue to put baseball first. During recent interviews, he talked about how he learned of trade speculation. He went home after games and watched highlights and other games.

He’s a really quick learner, too. In July 2016, the Orioles played at Dodger Stadium, the only time Machado has performed there. As many visiting players did, Jones traipsed up to the press box and visited the legendary Vin Scully, then in his last season, in the broadcast booth.

When he returned to the clubhouse, Jones told Machado about it. Machado didn’t know much about Scully and the great man’s history, but instantly studied up, and two days later brought Schoop along to meet Scully and pose for a picture.

Machado had a great relationship with Brooks Robinson, and he knew Orioles history. The guess here is that Machado will get to know his Dodgers history very soon, and become an important part of it.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Atloriole

    July 19, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Optimistic with the trade result. I remember a rumor that the O’s has brought Ned Colleti in for an ‘interview’ last month. Maybe to provide insight into the Dodgers system? If so, a smart move. Lets hope they all make it in some fashion to help the big club.

    I will miss Manny, even with his shortcomings. It’s a sad day for all baseball fans when a homegrown talent almost certainly has to be traded so early in his career for fear of free agency and the always rising salaries.

  2. Charger

    July 19, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Manny couldn’t hold Brooksie’s jock. One is a true, loyal, gentlemen, and the other is just a greedy, all about me, traitor!

    • Borg

      July 19, 2018 at 5:17 pm

      A traitor? Wow. Robinson played in an era where teams owned a player’s rights for life. OWNED. Players had zero leverage then to move to a better financial situation so comparing them in that sense is crazy. I grew up watching Robinson and he was always one of my favorite Orioles, but Machado is a far better ball player–better fielder, better hitter, more power. Yes, he dogs it sometimes and that always drove me crazy but criticizing him for exercising the same right to work where he wants for the salary he wants is like criticizing your neighbor for making more money than you do. I agree with the article that Machado could have been given a four or five year extension years ago and he would probably have taken it, but the O’s never even extended him an offer. So explain how any of this is Machado’s fault?

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        July 19, 2018 at 8:09 pm

        Borg, I agree with most of what you are saying, but to say Machado is a better fielder than Brooks Robinson is just plain foolishness. Just look at the fielding percentage.

        He’s certainly no traitor. No one can blame Manny for seeking greener pastures financially, but I do understand what Charger is saying about his character. Manny does come across as an “all about me” person. Just watch the mannerisms, the gold chains, neon shoes and constant ‘styling’. His lack of hustle and all too chummy demeanor with the enemy also speaks volumes. He’s a superstar, and he rubs it in the cameras face every night. Brooks was class. Manny is just immature. But then again I have to ask, how many 26 year old superstars aren’t? (Trout maybe?)

        One more point. Up until this year, Manny has never had a ‘superstar year’, and this year isn’t even over. My money says he’ll be back to his customary .280 average before September.

        • Paul Folkemer

          July 19, 2018 at 8:49 pm

          Manny has certainly had superstar years before. 2015 and 2016 both qualify. He put up strong offensive numbers (35+ homers, .860+ OPS) and was an elite fielder. He finished in the top five of the MVP vote both years, and deservedly so. If you don’t consider those superstar years, your standards are ridiculously high.

          I think you can certainly make a case that he’s a better fielder than Brooks was, though admittedly I didn’t get to see Brooks play. Fielding percentage/errors are a bad way to evaluate fielders because they’re subjective and they don’t account for range.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            July 20, 2018 at 7:47 am

            Fielding pctg and errors are a bad way to judge fielders? Subjective? I can’t believe I just read this coming from the king of analytics. I guess good old fashioned math just can’t be trusted at all anymore.

            And maybe you’re right, perhaps my standards are ridiculously high, but I believe that Superstars finish 1st in MVP voting. Stars finish 5th.

          • Paul Folkemer

            July 20, 2018 at 9:54 am

            They’re subjective because it’s up to an official scorer to decide what’s an error or not, and there’s no rhyme or reason to how they make those decisions. What one scorer would call an error, another might call a hit. And fielders are usually only charged with an error if they actually touch the ball, which doesn’t take into account the many other plays that fielders should’ve made but didn’t. If you put me in the outfield, I’d never get charged with an error because I’d be too slow and inept to even get close to anything.

            Here’s something I wrote last year about why errors and fielding percentage don’t really tell us much: http://www.baltimorebaseball.com/2017/06/16/stats-folks-pros-cons-defensive-runs-saved/

            As for the superstars thing, I’ll just say I think you have a different definition than most people do.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            July 20, 2018 at 11:31 am

            Mr. Folkemer, respectively I do understand that fielding percentage doesn’t ‘always’ take into account a player’s range. What it does take into account are dropped/botched balls and throwing errors. And while admitting that differences of opinion exist, I disagree that no ‘rhyme or reason’ exists between scorers. I believe the league does provide guidelines, and I would hope that most the official scorers are somewhat schooled and professionally knowledgeable in what is, and what is not considered a makeable play taking into account the unique circumstances of each play such as distance covered by the player. Furthermore, if a call is felt to be in made error, cannot players and teams actually challenge these calls to the league office and be overruled days later? I believe a rhyme or reason does exists.

            I’d also point out, that just as a batting average doesn’t fully indicate how well a player consistently strikes a baseball, that errors made also even themselves out over the course of a 162 game schedule and can be, and are accurately indicative of how a player performs with his glove.

            As far as subjectivity goes, consider that the single most important aspect of this game, balls and strikes, are made thousands of times each and every night by different human beings with different opinions, affecting every aspect of the game. That my friend, is subjective.

            Manny made many, many magnificent plays for our Orioles, some of which I don’t believe Brooks (or anybody for that matter) could have made. He is spectacular at 3rd base. But he also, botched many, many more routine plays than I ever saw Brooks botch. (I also admit that I didn’t get to see Brooks play over a hundred games a year) Let’s just say Brooks was the Tortoise, while Manny is the hare.

          • Paul Folkemer

            July 20, 2018 at 2:44 pm

            Fair enough, Boog. You’re right that official scoring isn’t totally arbitrary. It’s just not consistent enough for my liking. (And you’re right that balls and strikes are somewhat subjective, which I find problematic too, but that’s a whole different story.)

            I tend to agree that Manny was better at making the spectacular plays and Brooks better at the routine ones. I just don’t agree that that necessarily makes Brooks the better defender.

  3. TxBirdFan

    July 19, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    The O’s will be just fine in the post Manny era. Individually he was a good player, but he was unable to lift the team. That’s what great players can do.

    • Paul Folkemer

      July 19, 2018 at 9:09 pm

      That may be true in other sports, but not baseball. One player can’t single-handedly lift a team, no matter how great. Just look at Mike Trout — the Angels have only even made the playoffs once while he’s been around, and they lost in the first round.

    • TxBirdFan

      July 19, 2018 at 11:42 pm

      I see it differently Paul – the Orioles have a veteran team with accomplished (all/star) players incl Jones, Trumbo, Schoop, even Davis and Mancini. Trout has some good players around him, but not as many.

      • Paul Folkemer

        July 20, 2018 at 9:45 am

        I think we’re basically saying the same thing — one player can’t do it all. They have to have a good team around them. Even great players need help.

  4. Churchton

    July 20, 2018 at 3:21 am

    Thank you for saying that the O’s horrid front office blew the resigning of manny. Tired of hearing he wanted to much. I also heard they could have resigned him but they didn’t. Shame on the front office. So instead the fans got crushless davis. Horrid they should rebuild the whole front office unfortunately they will not get rid of the they that they should. Angelos two kids and Anderson all three are incapable of running a little league team much less a pro team. All one has to do is look at the talent they left get away and the talent they pushed for just recently Cruz Malamud machado. Who did they save Tillman davis and menedez or whoever you spell that pitchers name.

  5. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    July 20, 2018 at 8:34 am

    I listened to DD yesterday on MLB radio. He had high praise for Diaz who was the Dodgers 4th top prospect. He talked about his opposite field power and home runs in the futures game. Popp a pitcher also received a lot of talking points. Hopefully Diaz will develop into a Jones like player.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 20, 2018 at 6:07 pm

      I’m not sure what kind of a player Diaz will grow into, but having an infusion of young players in the organization will make it more enjoyable to evaluate. As I wrote, it’s going to be a few years to really take the temperature of this deal, Grand Strand.

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