by Tony Pente
As Orioles fans, we watch Manny every day and we know how good a player he can be. We also know he’s one of the best, if not best talent the Orioles have drafted and developed in their history. I believe that tends to have us over value where he falls in baseball among the other great players.
On the plus side, Manny is one of the best defensive third baseman’s of all-time in my opinion and that inflates his value over his very good, but not great offensive numbers. Since he had the last knee surgery, he’s been very durable and has played in 156 or more games over the last three seasons. He’s young at 25 years old next season and there’s a good chance he’s going to get better not worse over the next 3-5 seasons at the very least.
Saying all that, if you look at things objectively, he might not be a top five 3B RIGHT NOW in the MLB. As many of you have discussed already there’s a great amount of talent at the position. Now most rankings are an opinion based endeavor so that’s why we see so much discrepancy on where Machado falls on the lists. I know I could build a case for him to be anywhere from 3-8 on the list, but coming off a down year it’s not surprising to see him down on the lower end of that range by some people. Of course it’s not a conspiracy or someone holding a grudge against him for whatever reason, it’s just that the guy is coming off a year in which he put up a 3.5 rWAR that included a career worse (over a full season) 1.0 dWAR.
Career wise, Machado only has a .329 OBP in 3365 PAs and his plate discipline has fallen off as he’s tried to add those long home runs to his highlight films. It’s well known he’s not a guy that takes much coaching nor does he do a lot of extra work when things are going bad, so it’s easy to see him starting to get a reputation as a guy who is satisfied with his numbers and might not fulfill his immense talent. Add in the fact that his playoffs numbers in 27 PAs (.174/.240/.348/.588) are not very good and it’s not like he has a calling card of bringing his A game in big moments. Now small sample size for sure, but again, I think those things all have to be taken into consideration when talking the best in the game.
Machado is a really good player and I’d love for him to spend his whole career in an Orioles uniform, but I think Machado is the guy that is more worried about making the most money he can versus wanting to leave behind a legacy. I could be wrong, but in the end, I think the Orioles need to trade him for as much as they can whether that’s now or before the trade deadline (sometimes teams will overpay when they think they have a shot at a World Series).