Within this segment, we’ll be breaking down the careers of the top Free Agents on the market. How did they get here? What makes them so enticing to teams? Where could they end up? Let’s find out.
This time, we’re checking in on a major commodity — a power hitting, smack talking shortstop: it’s Manny Machado.
How Did Machado Make the Majors…
Manuel Arturo Machado, or Manny, was born in Hialeah, Florida, but raised in Miami, and groomed from an early age for baseball greatness. He was picked third overall by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2010 MLB Draft, and since then has become one of the most talked about young stars of the modern era. At only 26 years-old, Machado has accumulated countless amounts of praise and multiple gold glove awards for his defense at the hot corner, and has slugged his way to the top percentile of major leaguers, boasting a career slash line of .282/.335/.487 and 175 home runs over 926 games.
Machado debuted in 2012 with the Baltimore Orioles at 19 years of age, and hasn’t looked back since. Machado began his career with minimal flare, slugging only 33 home runs throughout his first three major league seasons. However, like his fellow Free Agent Bryce Harper, Machado exploded in his 22 year-old season. Manny came out of nowhere, bombing 35 dingers and slashing .286/.359/.502 with an OPS of .861. Then, he did it again in 2016, dropping 37 home runs and further improving his slash. After that, Manny slumped a bit in 2017, only to return to form completely in 2018, for what would be a career year for the young slugger. He turned in a season of .297/.367/.538 with 37 long balls, and found himself a part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization at the trade deadline.
Manny’s cocky, confident nature can sometimes get in his way, (see the entirety of the 2018 Postseason) but that shouldn’t really affect his value all that much. Teams know what they’re getting with him. A consistent bat, a magician of defense, and an oft over-confident presence. This should be interesting…
Who Wants Him?
Machado’s case is an anomaly. Any team would be glad to add his bat to their lineup, but quite a few of them took exception to his remarks and actions during the 2018 Postseason, which could affect the amount of teams that make him an offer. For example, initially, I thought the Milwaukee Brewers would be major players for Machado. They were able to make it to the NLCS, though there were quite a few holes in their roster, shortstop included. Manny would have fit Milwaukee perfectly, had it not been for his actions during said NLCS, which surely have sworn the Brewers away from him. That being said, there will still be plenty of offers on the table, I can assure you of that.
The frontrunners at this moment in time look like the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees. Both teams are massive in market size, and both have money in excess to spend on guys like Machado. Other teams of interest are the Saint Louis Cardinals, and the many dark horses in pursuit of a big bat such as the Chicago White Sox, The San Diego Padres, and, most interestingly, the New York Mets.
It will certainly be curious to see how Machado’s actions, as well as his comments are going to affect his market value. Certain teams may be more willing to spend more money over others, which could lead to a major surprise as to where he ends up. However, my prediction, while safe, seems like the most likely outcome.
My Prediction: The New York Yankees, 10 years, $310 Million.