Baltimore Orioles fall, worry about Manny Machado’s contract

The biggest question around town this week wasn’t whether or not the Baltimore Orioles would make the post season (that ship has probably already sailed), but what would happen with Manny Machado. We all know the situation; next year Machado will enter the last year of his contract. The Orioles have said publicly that he’s not on the trade block, however reportedly owner Peter Angelos hasn’t decided whether or not to offer Machado a mega-deal either. So what gives?

I’m the first one to tell you that if they decide that they won’t be able to sign him, they need to trade him. Whether that happens at the winter meetings or just prior to spring training is irrelevant. But my personal opinion is that the best way forward for the O’s is by signing Machado long-term, and keeping him. Easier said than done, for sure.

This hung over the Orioles as they prepared to play Tampa last night, and as Orioles fans watched Ubaldo Jimenez struggle perhaps for the final time at Camden Yards. Jimenez’s line: 3.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 3 K. One thing we’ve seen a lot of this year from starters across the board is that in many cases they’re fairly solid first time through the order. However whatever they’re doing is quickly being snuffed out by opponents and they’re pouncing on the Birds the second and third times through.

Tampa’s Ramos smacked a grand slam in the second, followed by a Longoria homer in the third. However in between the Birds put up two runs also. Hays added a sac fly-RBI, and Mancini scored on a wild pitch. Chris Davis would lead the fourth inning off with a solo homer to run the score to 6-3, but that’s as close as the Orioles got. Tampa’s Dickerson smacked an RBI-double in the fifth, as did Duda in the ninth. The Orioles hit several batsmen in this game, many of which came into score. Again folks, mind you that Tampa’s a small ball team. If you find a way to get on base, they’ll find a way to get you home.

Going back to Manny Machado, a team official was quoted this week as saying that it would take 35 years to find another player the quality of he (Machado). That’s why I say that the best way forward is to keep him. However there are also reports out there that while the Orioles almost signed him a few years ago, they insulted him with a low ball offer. And I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how true that could possibly be…

…we didn’t start getting into the big contract numbers ($300-$400 million) until this year. At the time, the Orioles were reportedly $8-$9 million away from what Manny wanted. It seems to me that at some point they could meet in the middle. However that aside, my prediction is that the Orioles do in fact make Machado a legitimate offer sometime between the end of this season and next year’s all-star break. Whether he takes that offer is up to him, but that’s just my prediction.

The Tampa series continues this evening at Camden Yards. Jeremy Hellickson (himself a former Tampa Ray) gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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