For Baltimore Orioles slugger Manny Machado, the upcoming All-Star break will be far from that, a break. He will not only be the starting shortstop in the All-Star Game for the American League but will have to handle the growing speculation of his playing status as the hottest player in trade deadline talks in all of baseball.
On Monday, Machado said that everywhere he goes it is “Manny”, “Manny”. He called it somewhat distracting.
However, he added that as soon as he steps inside the clubhouse he is only a ballplayer who is trying to win games, be himself, and go out and have some fun.
He said his love of the game keeps him going during this distracting time and helps him go out each day and be the best baseball player he can be.
Machado becomes a free agent following this year’s World Series. His current team (Orioles) has the worst record in baseball and Machado has carried the team on his shoulders all season at the plate making him the biggest trade chip of any team in the majors.
With the Orioles thinking of the future and likely to set historic records in futility this season, it is almost certain the team will deal Machado before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Eight teams – Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Indians and Phillies – are amongst those battling for the playoffs that are considered possible destinations for the slugger.
Machado is the winner of a Platinum Glover Award as well as a three-time member of the AL All-Star team as a third baseman, but this season moved to shortstop and on Sunday was announced as the AL starter for the All-Star Game, as he beat out the likes of Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Jean Segura and Andrelton Simmons.
If he is traded prior to the July 18 All-Star Game and ends up with a team in the National League, he could lose the starting spot at shortstop for the Al, but Machado, who last week turned 26, is not thinking about that possibility.
This season in 88 games, Machado is batting .313 with 21 homers and 60 RBIs for the Orioles. He is ranked sixth in the AL with a .943 OPS, and is first amongst shortstops. On defense, his fielding percentage of .978 is seventh amongst shortstops in the AL.