BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — The day many Baltimore Orioles fans have been dreading, yet fully expecting, has arrived: All-Star shortstop Manny Machado has been traded to the Dodgers, setting off the beginning of what should be a much-needed rebuilding period for the floundering O’s.
In return, the Orioles will get a package of prospects that includes Yusniel Diaz, a 21-year-old outfielder who hit two home runs in Sunday’s Future’s All-Star game. Diaz is only the second player ever to pull off such a feat.
The move had been anticipated for some time as the Orioles have struggled to win games all season long. Machado, on the other hand, was off to the best start of his career offensively. He entered the All-Star break leading the Orioles with a .315 batting average, 24 home runs, and 65 RBI. With his contract set to expire at the end of the season and most experts believing the Orioles wouldn’t be able to match the lucrative offers Machado is expected to get in the offseason, it was all but certain the team would trade him for a set of up-and-comers.
“Oriole fans have braced for this move for years, still the departure of Machado stings. He embodies what every franchise wants: young, affordable top-level talent, but young & affordable grows into experienced & expensive so it’s time for the Orioles to move on without Machado,” says WJZ Sports Director Mark Viviano.READ MORE: Orioles Rank 8th As Booziest Fanbase In Major League Baseball, Survey Says
Before being traded, Viviano got a chance to the star shortstop to him about his time as an Oriole. When asked about what being a part of the team since 2010 meant to him, he had this to say:
“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.”
Machado broke in with the Orioles in 2012 after being drafted with the 3rd overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. He then went on to become an All-Star and Gold Glove winner in his first full year in the majors, quickly becoming an instant fan-favorite at Camden Yards. During his O’s career, he’d earn a selection to the American League All-Star team four times overall, including this season, and win two Gold Gloves. In 2013, he also won the Platinum Glove for the American League, which is given to the best defensive player in the league.
He played third base during his first six seasons with the Orioles, but moved over to shortstop full time this season.
So what does the move mean for the Orioles looking forward? Viviano says the trade is the right start, allowing the team to acquire younger players who may be able to bring the team back to its winning ways that fans so enjoyed this decade.
“The O’s need to re-set their philosophy of drafting & developing young talent with an increased commitment to the international market,” he says. “Rebuilding & re-stocking a Major League roster is an inexact science but patience & persistence to a long term plan can pay off.”
Though only a summer rental, Machado was coveted by a variety of contenders, including Philadelphia, Milwaukee, the Chicago Cubs and Arizona, currently a half-game behind the first-place Dodgers in the NL West. The Dodgers are filling a gaping hole at shortstop created by the loss of Corey Seager, who underwent elbow surgery in May.
And Machado moves from a cellar-dweller to a division-leading club in the middle of a pennant race. Not only that, but Machado likely gets to stay at shortstop, the position he manned this year after previously playing third base for Baltimore.
“I love playing short. I mean, I love it,” Machado said last week. “I’m more excited playing shortstop than I’ve ever been. I’m more into the game. This is where I’ve always wanted to be, this is what brings the best player out of me.”Maryland Casinos Generate $126.2M During February
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)