A bunch of random thoughts on the Machado trade, part one

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Manny+Machado+89th+MLB+Star+Game+Presented+4nC_Q3qnlDmx

I have plenty of thoughts on the Manny Machado trade in regards to his time with the Baltimore Orioles, the trade itself and what the Orioles should be doing from here. Let's start with part one, some thoughts on Machado's tenure with the Orioles.

He played well against the Red Sox and Yankees

Machado played pretty well against virtually every team he faced in his career because he's really good at baseball. That being said, his performances against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are naturally going to be the most memorable for any Orioles fan.

He has eight homers in both Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium, the most of any stadium that isn't named Camden Yards. He also owns 22 career homers against the Yankees, the most of any opponent he's faced.

On top of that, he made the best defensive play of his career against the Yankees when he robbed Luis Cruz of an infield single in 2013 and according to WPA, the biggest homer of his career came in 2017 when he hit a walk-off homer off Dellin Betances.

 

Based on OPS, Machado was a better hitter against teams like the Oakland A's compared to his numbers against Boston and New York, but I'll be damned if he didn't provide some big hits against Baltimore's two biggest rivals.

He was a homegrown superstar

Look at the core members for the Orioles' run of three playoff appearances in five years and you won't find many key players they drafted and developed all the way to MLB.

Adam Jones, JJ Hardy, Chris Davis and Chris Tillman were all obtained in trades. Darren O'Day was scooped up from waivers, while Nelson Cruz and Wei-Yin Chen were both free agents. Zach Britton and Nick Markakis were both homegrown and pivotal players, but this was still a roster that by and large didn't rely on actual Orioles draft picks to put together winning seasons.

Except for Machado, of course.

Machado was special because he was an example of the Orioles successfully using a high draft pick to get a position player who could change their franchise. In 2006 they used a top-ten pick for Billy Rowell and he never reached the majors. Brandon Snyder was the 13th pick in 2005 and his career didn't amount to much of anything. There's also the assorted pitching disappointments of Matt Hobgood, Brian Matusz and Wade Townsend. The last time the Orioles really had a successful draft pick prior to Machado was when they took Markakis in 2003.

Machado exorcised the demons of a franchise that had every first-round pick from 2004 to 2009 that ended up at best being underwhelming and at worst someone who never played in the majors.

Until Wednesday, every single day of Machado's baseball career was spent as a part of the Orioles, which was something that always felt special to me.

He was never a Mariner like Adam Jones and Chris Tillman or a Ranger like Chris Davis. His first professional baseball game was a member of the Orioles and every game after that was too. Of course, that will change on Friday when the Dodgers play.

I'll miss plenty of things about Machado, but not his base running

According to Baseball-Reference, Machado made an out running the bases 37 times in 860 games, or once every 23 games. So roughly once a month during his Orioles tenure, he cost them an out by being thrown out on the bases. For comparison's sake, Adam Jones has averaged an out on the bases once every 34 games for his career, while Jonathan Schoop sits at a clip of once every 42 games.

Machado was so skilled at virtually every other facet of baseball but as soon as he got on base, he suddenly started to become alarmingly below average. It was pretty bizarre and the only real frustrating part of his game.

As long as Yusniel Diaz does a better job at avoiding outs on the bases than Machado then there's at least one small part of the trade the Orioles definitely will have won.