BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s the worst kept secret in Major League Baseball.
Those Manny Machado trade rumors continue to swirl and any day now baseball fans will find out where the Orioles shortstop could land.
WJZ’s Mark Viviano got a chance to talk to Machado about all those rumors, the team’s tough year and what he’s learned since he was drafted by the Orioles in 2010.
Q: Thoughts on being voted in to AL Game
A; Truly a blessing to get voted by all the fans, all our biggest supporters of this game. Always truly a blessing, very humbled. Very excited at the same time to represent the orioles in the nationals as an Al started. Want to give thanks to all those guys that took time to vote and to vote me in — truly amazing at the same time.
Q: First full season as a shortstop you’re voted in
A: You know it’s a group that — It’s a steep group of American League shortstops starters [Jean] Segura, [Francisco] Lindor, [Carlos] Correa, [Andrelton] Simmons – there all having a hell of the year so to get voted in by the fans to play .. it’s a matter of going out there and playing, leaving it all on the field. It’s always a blessing to be representing the team that you play for.
Q: Is it hard to standout when you’re playing for a team that’s struggling?
A; You know those are things that obviously no one wants to be struggling, we don’t want to be losing. It’s been a part of our luck this year, it’s the card we’ve been dealt. Only thing we can do is deal with it, deal with the adversity try to go out there and make it better that day. Things haven’t been going our way. It’s a little bittersweet of the situation that I get to go represent the team as the all star, but at the same time, you think about all the bad stuff that’s been happening here, all the talks, just a lot of distractions that have been going on here. So you just try to put it aside and you just try to go represent the organization the best that I can.
Q: Even with this honor, you may not be the starting shortstop for the AL league because you may be traded. Have you given that much thought?
A: No. I’m the American League starter. It’s all I’ve been thinking about it’s all I’m been celebrating with my wife and my family. We’re just very excited we’re not even thinking about that.
Q: You’ve had a consistent season, but it’s been a tough year for the team. How have you been able to overcome that individually and perform as well as you have?
A: I mean you have to go out and win games. I try to go out there and try to win the game. I try do whatever I can to try to put ourselves into a good situation as a ball club. You know they are running around second base and I try to get them over, try to get them in – try to make a play to save some runs. Whatever we can to try to win a game at the end of the day, that’s the way you can go out there and try to stay motivated to continue to do things. If you play the game like that the game will always reward you in better ways. We’ve been losing games, we’ve bene having a tough, tough year this year. But we just got to go out there and try to win games.
Q: You’ve been using foul line to foul line more this year than you have in the past. Consciously, have you and Scott Boras talked about that so you’re not predictable.
A; You know I haven’t even thought about it. I’ve been trying to stay consistent with my swing, try to stay through the ball as long as I can. That’s been one of the key parts to me and Boras this year – kind of just trying to stay with that, with that even playing throughout the zone. Trying to keep my bad zone in the zone as long as possible to stay back on those last three pitchers or on the heaters inside to just kind of give the advantage of using the whole field. If you want to be a great hitter, at the end of the day, you have to use all types of fields.
Q: What has being an Oriole meant to you since 2010?
A: This organization has given me everything, They’ve brought me up. I’ve been drafted here. This has been home for the last seven years. It’s been truly an amazing journey that I’ve had with every face that I’ve come in every day, every face I’ve been seeing them for the last seven years – they’re a part of my family. Everyone in here is a part of my family, they are brothers to me. They’ll always have my contact, they’ll have everything if anything ever happens. I’ll always have their back because we’ve gone through some good times and some bad times – it’s made us better and brought us closer together. This organization means a lot and you know I’ll never be ungrateful for the opportunity that they’ve given to me.
Q: Is it unnerving that nationally you’re being talked about everywhere?
A: Um, yeah – it’s uh, you know everywhere I see it’s Manny, Manny, Manny. It kind of gets distracting at times. It’s a matter of letting it all out. Once I come in here and step into this clubhouse, I’m just a ball player, I’m trying to win some games, I’m trying to be myself and I’m trying to go out there and have some fun. I think that’s the only thing that keeps me going that I love this game so much and I’m able to go out there every day, you know put on a show and be the best player I can out there.
Q: You’ve done this before at the All-Star game — you know the media circus on the Monday before the game. You’re going to be the center of attention there because of the all the rumors swirling. How are you going to deal with that?
A: The same way I have to deal with it every day. I’ve been [having] to deal with it all year. You know it’s been nonstop in every city I’ve gone to with reporters asking questions. I’ve answered all the questions I needed to answer. Obviously, they’ll be new questions coming out there at that time. By the time here and there gets going, I’m sure there’s probably going to be quite a few teams that are going to be wanting to ask questions about but, you know, those are just things I’m going to have to deal with when they comes and just to try to enjoy the moment when I get there. At the end of the day, it’s about enjoying it with you family, enjoying it with your friends and the closest people to you that have gotten you there to that position so – other than that just enjoy it as much as I can. I’m starting short stop and I worked hard to get here to this position and you know I’m very grateful and humble at the same time.
Q: What’s the most challenging thing about moving to shortstop?
A: Stay in the zone – trying to separate – which has been my thing even on third base – trying to separate offensive and defense. Once the offense is over trying to play defense and trying to win games by playing defense, so it’s a matter of getting back under there and focusing a little more and just keep doing what I’ve been doing. You know I think I’ve been playing really great other than a couple of errors here and there, but just keep doing what I’ve been doing. I don’t think I’ve underestimated myself, I think I’m trying to still move up on that totem pole and try to win a gold glove and show them I’m actually a gold glove defensive short stop.
Q: Is there a part of you that misses third at all?
A: Um, no. I love playing short. I love it. I’m more excited playing shortstop then I’ve ever been. You know I’m more into the game. I’ve been doing everything. I’ve been learning that game a lot better. Controlling the game, controlling the offense. I’m more active into the game. I see what pitches are coming. This is where I’ve wanted to be. This is what brings the best player out of me.
Q: You thanked the fans that voted for you. How would you describe your relationship with the fans in Baltimore, from the time you were 19 until now, and those that are upset to know that you might go?
A: They’ve have supported me through the good and the bad. They’ve been here through the rough times before I got here and the good times when I got here. It’s just a matter of them to keep rooting for us, keep rooting for me, keep their heads up high. We’ve given them everything. We go out there every day and we grind and we try to win games and it’s not that we go out there and try to lose games but it’s just the matter – it’s just how things are going. Just a little bit of bad luck and keep your head up high. And we’ve always going to be out there grinding for them and giving them a show that we possibly, hopefully make it to the World Series one day.
Q: You mentioned the Orioles are your family this is where you grew up – one of your former family members Nick Markakis is an all-star for the first time. Just your thoughts on him as a teammate and as a ball player.
A: As a teammate, he was an incredible leader in here, you know, he was a great guy to be around. To finally, after so many years, make his first All-Star game – I mean it’s very well deserved. He should have a couple under his butt already, it’s just how things go, but you know I’m looking forward to seeing him there and you know hopefully take a picture with him. You know just enjoy as much as I can. He really deserved this opportunity and I’m glad that the fans actually saw that and voted him in as the American League – not American League, National League outfielder. Should have been American league, should have still been here.