As Trade Rumors Swirl, Manny Machado Focuses On All-Star Game
WASHINGTON, D.C. — If Manny Machado is preoccupied with the trade rumors swirling around him, he’s not showing it.
Machado is starting the All-Star Game tonight for what could be his last game wearing an Orioles uniform. The Dodgers, Phillies, Brewers and Yankees are considered the finalists to acquire him in a trade, with whispers that a deal could be announced within 24 hours of the All-Star Game’s conclusion.
Machado declined to address any specific questions about a trade, choosing instead to soak up the atmosphere of his fourth All-Star Game. He is starting at shortstop and batting seventh for the American League.
“I haven’t heard anything and I’m just worried about the game today,” Machado said. “Whatever happens moving forward will happen and there will be a time and place for everything.”
Thousands of Orioles fans are expected to make the 40-mile trek to Washington be in attendance at the game. For Machado, they are his top priority.
“Every time you put on the Orioles uniform it’s always a great blessing,” he said. “You always want the opportunity to put that on. To put it on, go play shortstop, I know there’s going to some Baltimore fans out there and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Machado, 25, is a free agent at the end of this year and expected to command one of the largest contracts in baseball history. He is batting .315 with 24 home runs, 65 RBIs and .963 OPS this season, and would represent a significant upgrade for multiple contenders.
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The Dodgers, in need of a shortstop and boasting one of baseball’s best farm systems, are considered the favorite. The Phillies, in first place in the National League East and seeking their first playoff berth since 2011, are also in hot pursuit and have a deep pool of young major leaguers and prospects to deal from. The Brewers and Yankees can’t match the Dodgers and Phillies in terms of prospects, but both have more accomplished major leaguers to offer.
The only thing that appears clear at this point is that Machado will be traded. To whom, and when, is something he’s actively staying out of.
“Honestly I don’t even expect anything to be honest,” Machado said. I’m just trying to not even worry about. If it happens it happens, if not I’ll be (in Toronto with the Orioles on Friday).
“I’m not worried about what’s going to happen later. I’m worried about today. That’s the only way you can handle this stuff.”