Baltimore Orioles: If Manny Machado leaves
Manny Machado is obviously a popular topic surrounding the Baltimore Orioles these days. Will he stay or will he go? Well before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s not forget that the third baseman’s signed for the 2018 season. Unless they trade him (which I see as unlikely), he’ll be an Oriole next year.
But let’s say that one way or the other Machado does in fact bolt after 2018. Fans will be upset for sure, but the franchise itself would then have to focus on how to replace Machado in the field. You aren’t going to totally replace a glove like his, but you can try. And that could come from within – if you can believe that.
Chris Davis hasn’t just played some third base, but he’s actually a fairly decent third baseman. In 2012 Mark Reynolds was really struggling at third. Routine grounders were getting by him, and he was struggling on his throws. So the Orioles swapped him and Davis at the corner infield positions. It turned out that Reynolds was a decent first baseman – and Davis wasn’t too shabby at third.
Since then Davis has played some third base here and there. For his entire career, he’s spent 93 games guarding the hot corner, which granted is hardly a large sample size. His fielding percentage is .911, and he’s committed 17 errors. While those numbers would need to improve for Davis to play third routinely, I suspect that they would…if he played third routinely.
Davis is an Oriole because of his bat. However he’s shown over the years that he’s extremely flexible in terms of making acrobatic plays to save balls. So I think he could be a serviceable option at third base. And more importantly, it wouldn’t cost the Orioles anything and they could put that money into pitching.
So what then about first base? Well, is Trey Mancini not a first baseman?! While he’s played the outfield very well, the Birds could then return Mancini to his natural position, which again would save them a lot in salary. You don’t then have to take what you were paying Machado and find someone else to play third with that money. It can go directly into pitching.
I think the Orioles’ top idea would be to keep Machado. However if they cannot, there’s a potential fix, which again wouldn’t cost the team anything.